"What's the biggest writing challenge you've come across?"
Welcome to another Scriptorium team Q&A or #AskScriptoriumAnything. Writing is not an easy job. It requires us to think deeply and consider each client’s needs. We all have good days, but sometimes we run into challenges that require us to step up and work together.
Distractions and delayed responses. When the weather is incredibly nice, it takes all of my being to stay inside and write, so the flexibility at Scriptorium is fantastic. But, with technical writing, a large challenge we often face is when our questions go unanswered. At times, we ask a lot of questions—it’s part of our job as writers—but we always appreciate it when our SMEs take the time to respond to us so we can get the facts right.
I tend to avoid projects that leave me with lots of creative freedom. Although I love writing, projects with clear instructions and structure are what I prefer. Social media and blog writing can be fun to throw in the mix, but they don’t come as naturally to me as technical writing does.
Projects that don’t fit into our scope. We can write about anything, but certain types of writing aren’t in our wheelhouse because we don’t enjoy them. These projects turn writing into a chore. Over the years, Scriptorium has become much better at finding clients that fit, and we connect clients that don’t fit with someone who will work for them.
Often, the biggest and most common challenge on technical writing projects is the clock. Delayed reviews or troubles lining up team meetings can cause lulls or worse, dropped projects. When confronted with this problem, we offer our project leadership skills to take on as much of the project as we can and to help keep the project on schedule.
I’ll echo other Scriptorium writers to say delays, lulls, and dropped projects are my least favourite challenges. I’m a person who thrives when I can make progress, check off a to-do list, and follow a defined structure throughout a project. When things go off the rails, I struggle to stay productive. Luckily, Jaclyn and Annette have been great at filling any project lags with more work so I can stay in the zone!
Sometimes, the world is an open ocean of possibilities… and sometimes that degree of freedom can be overwhelming and challenging. This tends to happen in projects where the goal isn’t well-defined, and the best way to tackle it is to go back to the beginning and ask ourselves: “What do we want this project to do?” Once we’ve got a little bit of direction and specificity, the project becomes a lot more manageable.
I’ll echo Rebecca’s comments about having defined goals in mind for each project. Without a clear direction for a project, it can be difficult to know where to start and where to focus. Having those standards mapped out means that we can better tackle what the project requires.
Social media! We are writers. We are communicators. We’ve learned how to do marketing and strategy plans, but any time we need to write for ourselves, we push it off. We prioritize the work for our clients, as we should. I think the best thing we’ve done in the past year is making low-key plans and then splitting the duties so that we are better at putting ourselves out there.
#AskScriptoriumAnything Once in a while, we’re going to answer the same question from our own perspective, experience, and interests so you can get to know more about us and what we do. Have a question for us? Send it via our social media or email.