Precision makes people ANGRY. Watch -

Published: Tue, 01/11/22

From the friendly caves of Pixie Hollow.

Before I get into today's missive, a quick plug:

I'm sending The Visible Leader out in Feb, so if you're not on the list and you want to be, go subscribe here.

Instructions are easy to write, right? I'm talking about exact instructions.

I mean, if you've ever bought a great product and then read the instruction booklet (that was as crap as hell) then you've thought, 'Pffft I could do such a better job of these!'.

(You're lying if you haven't.)

Well if you've ever watched the Exact Instructions Challenge on YouTube, you'll know that creating exact instructions is waaay harder than it looks.

The original peanut butter & jelly challenge, by Josh Darnit and kids, is a classic. 

The Bellinger Family's challenge to make orange juice is insane, but just as enlightening.

The challenges illustrate that there are some key concepts with writing instructions. One is that being exact is difficult for humans because as humans we tend to assume that if we know a thing then everyone else knows a thing. The other is that even if you write poor instructions, then if they're close enough then someone following your instructions precisely may still end up with their desired result.

To prove it, here's Josh Darnit's video:


This is the field of technical writing in a nut-shell.

No matter what you're creating: Instructions, manuals, processes, procedures, you've got to be able to identify and create precision, and do so in collaboration with the team members, clients, users, creators (or others) who make or use the products or services that you've got.

This is even critical in systems that you document for yourself in a micro business! 

And yet, getting to precise detail is one of the things that many people struggle to do.

So here's a tip:

Whenever you write something instruction-y, work the instructions precisely as you wrote them to see if they're exact. 

Pretty quickly you'll see where your blindspots and assumptions lie, and you'll be able to fix it.

If you'd like help with your technical writing - or want to be trained in technical writing - then I can help you:

Brutal Pixie offers a technical writing service, and I'm also a qualified facilitator of Google's amazing Technical Writing One and Technical Writing Two. Both courses are delivered remotely, and you can pick them up even if you've only got two people to train. 

More about this is at: https://brutalpixie.com/technical-writing.

xx Leticia "stickler for precision" Mooney

Please let me know what I can do for you.

Leticia Mooney has spent her life handling words and communications while showing others 'the way' (literally and metaphorically). She is a technical writer with decades of experience writing with and for individuals and brands. Leticia writes for people like you; has mentored and edited tens of writers (from PhD candidates to successful freelancers and authors); consults to businesses in a range of areas from communications to audits to investigations; and reads Tarot (having been trained by the remarkable Lore de Angeles). She's also the mother of a rambunctious, engaging, and curious boy, who is named after a character created by J.R.R Tolkien. You can learn more about her at https://leticiamooney.com, and her business at https://brutalpixie.com.

Leticia Mooney
PO Box 1190
Pasadena SA 5042
Australia
Phone/Text (Signal/Telegram) +61 421 925 382
Follow on Telegram at https://t.me/leticiamooney