Day in the life of
Technical Writer – Jeff Neal
I am a technical writer for The Critter Depot. We breed live crickets and roaches for reptile owners. Being a technical writer requires 95% research and 5% of actual writing.
Part of The Critter Depot’s mission is to empower people and teach them how to breed their own insects. So my job is to write technical guides on how to breed crickets and roaches. And in order for my guides to be effective, I need to become a masterful interviewer. What this means is I need to speak and survey all of our technicians and harvesters and find out the nitty-gritty details on what they are doing to be successful. This means knowing the time of day they rotate the bins, how many crickets per bin, how much water, the temp of the water, the ambient temperature, quantity of food, and troubleshooting tips. There are also seasonal adjustments to factor as well.
What is my work life like?
At the start of the month, I sit down with our marketing team and identify new articles that will help sustain our readership. We go through keywords, analyze our analytics, and try to identify which topics our customers are really looking for. We put together a content schedule and review and update this schedule at the start of every month.
Once the schedule is identified, I reach out to our technicians and harvesters, and make sure they are okay with me shadowing them and interviewing them for a few hours. This involves me going into the warehouse, putting on the PPE’s for that specific feeder, and recording my conversations, and notes to draft the article. I usually spend 2-4 hours with the technician. And sometimes, I need to spend 1-3 days, just to see the full cycle of the harvest, rotating the bins, and understanding what the process is to maximize the insect yield. Once I get a deep dive into the process from the technician’s perspective, I spend the remaining days in my office, and put together the article. Depending on how thorough the technician is, it could take as little as a day, to as long as 2 days to compile the 1st draft. Once the first draft is completed, I schedule 2 technicians (the one I interviewed, and a different one), to come to my office and review the article. This ensures that I captured all the details from the technicians. And 2nd technician verifies the accuracy of the 1st technician. After both technicians confirm the accuracy of the article, I then compose a 2nd draft, and submit it to the copy team for final edits and graphics before publication.
So being a technical writer requires hours and hours of research compared to actual writing.
write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.