How to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Day 13. 35 pages, 17,068 words.

This morning I slept in quite dramatically, and only got in to work at 07:00. That’s late for me, and didn’t leave me much time at my own computer before I had to move on to actual work. Oh well. After going to bed at about 21:30 last night, I enjoyed about ten hours of sleep and that ain’t bad.

This morning, between my alarm going off and me deciding to go back to sleep and then Mrs. Hatboy waking me up a few hours later, I had a dream. It was one of those “you may be a Technical Writer if” kind of dreams.

I had a dream, my friends, about writing a user’s guide to eating a chocolate cake.

No, you heard me. Not making a chocolate cake, and not cutting a piece of chocolate cake and eating that. Eating a whole chocolate cake.

Now, I’m not even a big fan of chocolate cake. Don’t get me wrong, it is delicious, and the Black Forest Cake is perhaps my favourite of all cakes (although the rum cake and ground-almond cake made periodically by Mrs. Hatboy are strong contenders, and even the zucchini cake is something you have to taste to believe), but I don’t crave it. I don’t go out of my way looking for it, and I don’t go “mmm … chocolate” whenever I see a picture of one. It just sort of happened.

I have to tell you right now, I don’t actually remember much of the manual or what format it took. I think it was an online help sort of thing. I was only in the source material collection and assembly stage when I woke up. Something about a user problem at the halfway point? It sounds about right, doesn’t it. “This is approximately the point at which our users have complained about losing sensation in their extremities.”

So there was some sort of troubleshooting and a solution had to be found for how to get over that hump and help the user finish the entire cake. We’d solved it, you’ll be pleased to hear, with customer teleconferences and meetings with subject matter experts (big fat dudes and women who had just broken up with their boyfriends, I think[1]), and were ready to carry on with the final couple of chapters: Third quarter of cake; Fourth quarter of cake; Excess icing; Crumbs; and Appendix 1: Guilt.

[1] Sorry.

Seems oddly fitting that I missed out on my chance to write this morning, because of a technical writing-based dream, and thus had to skip the writing to get straight into the technical writing.

Ugh. And it’s only Wednesday.

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