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February 05, 2002: Ariel 12-pt girl

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I've been a little giddy all day today. It's a silly thing, I suppose, in the grand scheme of things. The reason for my good mood is a small stack of papers, sitting beside my keyboard. It's a nice, satisfying, 94 pages worth of paper, and the reason why it makes me so happy is because I wrote it. Every word in those 94 pages came out of my keyboard, typed in by my very own fingers. And today it was released to the entire company along with the latest alpha version of the software. Like I said, it's not much in the grand scheme of things, and chances are likely that we won't get any feedback at all on the documentation unless people really hate it, but the thing is that it is mine - my very first big thing that I have done as a real honest-to-pete technical writer. And I'm pretty darn proud of it. I might just have to take a copy home and stash it away in a folder somewhere, all tied up in a big bow and something sappy written on it so I can drag it out years later and bore the socks off of my grandnieces and grandnephews by telling them about it all the time.

I'm sure that in another few months, after I get a few more big chunks of work churned out, it will seem like no big deal. But for now you just have to humor me. Or else let me tape it to your fridge and then pat me on the head and tell me how pretty it is. Consider it my grown-up version of a finger-painting, okay?

On a side note, they released the 'preliminary final' version of the new software to those of us testing/writing about it late last week. I scanned through the application to double-check a few things and finish up the last of the tutorials, and thought I was all done until this afternoon when the QA woman mentioned in passing that they'd added a minor, inconsequential item (ha!) - a checkbox that makes one piece active or inactive. I had a brief moment of all-consuming panic and sprang into action, muttering under my breath about last minute changes as I hastily updated document, screenshots, etc. to take into account this new little thing that had to go and change the way things would be done in the system. I slammed that puppy together, refreshed the pdf file, and then fired it off with literally two minutes to spare. Pant, pant, pant.

The life of a technical writer - never-ending excitement interspersed with moments of sheer and blinding panic. I seriously love this job.

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