If I’ve ever found the answer to one of my questions by sifting through an FAQ, such an event was so rare that I no longer look at FAQs. There may be a few useful ones here and there, but I don’t waste my time hunting for them. Life is too short.
As a person who writes and edits for a living, I confess that I’ve been involved in creating an FAQ page or two for a website. I hope they’ve long since been deleted, and I would not be surprised if they were never updated. FAQs are prone to being neglected.
A few tips:
When someone wants you to create an FAQ, ask your first and most important question: Why?
Whatever the response is, ask your second and third questions: What are those frequently asked questions? What are the answers?
If you get a list of questions and answers, make sure the information – not the Q&A – is easy to find, in context, where the web visitor can find it without having to go to an FAQ.
If you don’t get a list of questions and answers, be glad you don’t have to create an FAQ.
A few days ago my funny, clever, multitalented daughter asked if Red Dog had come up with any questions lately. I had to think for a minute; he hadn’t. Somewhat later – just today, actually – I realized why that was. Red and I haven’t had much trail time lately, just the two of us. (He never asks me anything when Mrs. Smith is around.)
With that in mind, Red and I set out this morning for a walk down by the Colorado River, which is still tryna freeze. The temperature was around 20F degrees when we started. Most of the ice I’d seen on Corn Lake in late January was gone. We went east for a mile or so on the river trail, then across a pedestrian bridge and up a steep, switchbacked cutout to the top of a bluff.
Along the way, as if on cue, Red asked me why I spend so much time doing whatever it is I do on this computer or on the other one in my home office.
“Most of that is called earning a living so we can buy dog food and treats and .…” I stopped about there because I could tell by the cold stare that he got the point.
“I’m teasing you, Red,” I said. “Feeding you is a real bargain and we’re happy to do it. You’re family!”
He smiled at that, with those big brown eyes. We kept walking.
He’d asked a great question. I’ve seen many writers respond by saying things like “I can’t not write” and “because I must” and so on. My reasons are pretty simple to explain, at least when humans ask: My job is writing and editing.
I’m fortunate that people pay me to do that sort of thing. I didn’t try to explain that to Red, and I didn’t get into why I’m putting these particular words in this particular order right now, but that’s not complicated, either.
I do it because I enjoy doing it. I like making stuff up and I like writing true stuff. It doesn’t matter much if anyone reads this, but I do appreciate those who do.
Back to the walk, which was interrupted as almost every walk with Red Dog gets interrupted, sometimes more than once. Men on the trail never say much beyond hello, if that. But women…
This morning the woman walking toward us, with a guy I’d guess was her husband or partner or whatever, said with a big smile on her face, “Oh, you’re so cute! I’m gonna take you home with me!”
Red assumed she was talking to him, and I suspect he’s right. Nobody talks to me like that.
Red Dog Smith and I ventured out of the office late this morning for a walk down to the river. Mrs. Smith was out hiking with some friends after ignoring my sage advice to always have a pocket knife when hiking. Who doesn’t carry a pocket knife into the wild?
Anyhow, the river isn’t far, and we got all the short way there without seeing another human being or another canine. We decided we are OK with having a trail completely to ourselves now and then.
On the way back, it got busy. We saw a total of three human beings – one walking his black Lab, two others going different directions on their bicycles.
To be more specific, we saw three elderly guys. All three had what some would call white hair, but I prefer to characterize as silver.
Sensing a pattern here?
Seeing three people in half an hour or so is what passes for busy in our rocky little chunk of Mesa County.
We also saw:
Two quick-footed lizards.
Contrails criss-crossing the clear blue sky.
An enormous flat-topped mountain to the east of us.
On the way back, almost at the front door, I realized I have become some guy who writes about his lunch break now and then. I am OK with that. Red doesn’t seem to care.
Last month I posted something about how some news from an online journal made my day. I said it was about getting a story published and that the story “may or may not have something to do with a kite.”
It has to do with a little boy, some other people, and something about a kite.