Advice for writers: Don’t call yourselves something else

A documentarian is someone who makes documentaries, right?

That’s what I’ve always thought and my favorite dictionary agrees with me, which makes it an excellent dictionary.

Some time ago, however, I came across a group for writers called Write the Docs – a “global community of people who care about documentation.”

Just a suggestion…

The people call themselves documentarians.

I get their monthly newsletter and that word bugs the hell out of me. (I know what Wiktionary says on the topic, but I don’t care and neither should you. It’s Wiktionary, for crying out loud.)

I’m sure WtD is an otherwise fine organization that meets the needs of some thousands of humans who write and edit documentation and so on. The website has lots of links that various types of writers will find valuable.

What I don’t see on the site under the “Job listings” heading are any jobs for documentarians. That use of the word may catch on more widely someday, and even land in my favorite dictionary, where you can already find documentalist.

My advice? Don’t use either of those words on your résumé if you want to find a job.

Write on,


What do documentarians do?

Some people who write documentation call themselves documentarians (6 syllables), leading me to conclude that they produce documentaries and like to use long words.

To say they are documenters (4 syllables) would be more concise. What they do is document stuff.

I generally use writer. ~ B.J.



How many clicks is too many?

This was appended to an email that found its way to my inbox today:

When you click the link above, you will see our sign-up page.
To manage your subscription fill in your email address and name (legal and last).
Then scroll down and click the big red subscribe button.
You will then be redirected to a form that will give you a link to 
update your profile. Ignore the big red “There are errors below” and click on the link that says “Click here to update your profile”. This will send you an email with a link to allow you to update your profile.

Not only will I ignore the big red “errors” thing, I think I will just unsubscribe.