Quick writing tip: Start with meaning

“What do all the words mean?” Asking that is a very powerful way to start working on a document that Product or Engineering requested, but for which they provided little more than a headline: “We need a document explaining how to cook fish in an office microwave”.

What do all the words mean?

  • Why a microwave, and what is the importance of it being an office one?
  • Why fish, specifically? What kind of fish? What state is the fish in before you start? Cause if it’s still in the river, this will be a long document.
  • What does cook mean? By any chance do you just mean “reheat”? If not, how many different ways can you cook a fish in a microwave?
  • Is there chips?

Then continue to two questions you should always keep in mind when you write:

  • Who is reading this and why?
  • What could go wrong?

Now you know what Product or Engineering meant with their headline, and it’s time to think of the users – and start writing. Consider using the why/so what or layering techniques, figure out the defaults, and learn as you work.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s