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Presented at DocTrain East 2007 Conference by Amanda Cross -- In the same way that learning a foreign language can make you a better speaker of your native language, it took moving out of a structured authoring environment for me to realize how much structure had freed my time to expand my skill set. After a few months of fretting over the position of page breaks and enforcing my own heading hierarchy, I was pulling my hair out. “I’m trying to bake a cake,” I thought, “why am I stuck milling my own flour?”
Many tasks are done well (or well enough) by a computer and do not need to occupy a professional writer’s time. However, many document authors are threatened by the idea of structured writing because they fear that if writing a document is easy, then their company won’t need them to do it anymore. The fact is that writing a structured document is easy, but that doesn’t make the writer redundant. To the contrary, it gives the writer the opportunity to expand their influence to areas such as internal training, interface design, and quality management.
This session is for those interested in the time savings and opportunities for professional development that I discovered thanks to the implementation of structured authoring in my documentation department. After this session, you’ll consider the benefits that you might realize with a similar move.