Write the Docs is a new conference for documentarians, tech writers and for people who, well, write the docs.
The event was held by some wonderful tech folks here in Portland over at the Mission Theater during April 8th through 9th. Even though it was an event in its fledgling year, it gathered all kinds of insight from professionals from many walks of life. Presenters shared case study, anecdotes, stories, journeys and even moments of song and dance.
If you love tech, communications and your audience and yearn for a conference to come home to, this one’s it.
Some of my favorite parts.
Write the Docs gathered bright minds from afar to our lovely city of Portland. It also featured some local all-stars as well. Some of the more memorable moments for me included:
Wufoo’s Kevin Hale talked about the exponential growth of Wufoo over the years and how it stemmed from a cultural foundation of respecting documentation, championing support and falling in love with the customer.
Yes. This is a company that not only provides a killer product and serves millions of customers with a 10-person team, but also has time to send “thank you” cards to its loving customers.
Marcia Riefer Johnston, one of Portland’s own, let us in on her secret list of “no-no” words that we can cut from our documents. That list definitely stuck with me. As I write this paragraph, I’m all paranoid that I might be using some of those words now! Yikes.
I believe everyone walked out of Day 1 after MRJ’s talk with a bigger respect for concise writing. Oh, yeah– keep an eye out for her book, which arrives on shelves later this month.
Daniya Kamran spoke during Day Two, connecting technical writing with elements of poetry. She encouraged us to write epically, even in our technical documentation, as a way to achieve immortality. As she said, bad writing gets whacked. Good writing might get replaced. Epic writing just gets edited. I loved that.
That said, we can live forever and avoid the recycling bin or delete key by respecting the lessons left to us by literature’s masters.
The event was a reminder to flock together.
Eric Holscher opened the event with a great speech that reminded the community to treat one another kindly. We were all at the event to learn more about our craft, to meet others who love and respect that craft and to be inspired by the stories of our own flock.
If your thing might not be technical writing, content, or other stuff that you know I’m into, I’m sure that you have your own craft that you love with a bleeding heart. There’s nothing more empowering and uplifting than to find your kin who believe the same way. It changes you as a professional when you realize that there are many others out there who give a hoot about the same things that you do.
It’s even more empowering when you take the lessons of your peers to heart, grow, and then find a way to give back.
I miss the event already and am definitely looking forward to next year. Great work Eric, Eric and Troy!