An alternative use for the Technical Writer skill set

As someone with a Technical Writing background, I know the value of accurate and easy to follow documentation. Plus having spent all my career in the technology sector, it is good to occasionally use my skills in different ways. Some people think we just produce software manuals, assembly instructions, and the like, but we do so much more than that. Think error messages, video tutorials, user interface copy, and.... err orienteering directions!

I'm a keen runner and participant in running events, but the pandemic has curtailed most of these. Strangely working from home since mid March has meant my fitness has increased, as I make it a point to get outdoors every day. Being stuck indoors at a desk isn't something I crave. I never thought I'd say this, but I miss my commute to work!

So when I heard of a socially distanced running event reachable by car from home, it piqued my interest. It started and ended in a park close to a town I know. The trouble was whilst I knew the town centre, I knew little of the surrounding roads. Plus the event was run along the lines of an orienteering event, meaning there was no route as such. It just pointed you towards various checkpoints leaving you to find a way between them.

I hit Google Maps to work out the best route, but having done that, how I was going to remember it. I hate running with earphones, so using a map app on my phone was out. I needed something quick and easy to read whilst I was running. Oh, and without having to stop and put on my glasses. After all there was hopefully a PB was at stake! Enter my technical writing skills.

Excuse the rather dogeared deliverable :-) It rained for the first couple of miles! Using my own brand of annotation it told me everything I needed to know. No getting lost and expending extra energy getting back on track.

  1. Start at Flanchard Road.
  2. Turn right at the end onto West Street.
  3. Turn right at the Red Cross Inn onto Park Lane.
  4. Keep left at the fork and continue along by the park.
  5. Turn right into the park just before the school.

You get the idea. I just had to keep the notes in my hand and look at them occasionally. They worked like a dream as I didn't get lost once. I may not have got a personal best time, but I did get this little beauty to add to my collection: