Creating a technical writing application

Current phase:
The 2019 Season of Docs program finished on March 6, 2020. See timeline.

This page contains hints for technical writers on how to complete the key parts of an application to participate in Season of Docs. This information helps you understand what factors the open source organizations may consider when they select the technical writing projects that they want to mentor during Season of Docs.


The guidelines below are generally applicable for Season of Docs. Each individual open source organization may have specific assessment criteria. You can contact any of the participating organizations before submitting your application, to discuss their requirements and to plan your project proposal. See the technical writer exploration phase described in the technical writer guide.

The application form

The application form is available in the technical writer guide during the technical writer application phase.

After submitting the form, you can continue updating the information on the form until the end of the technical writer application phase (June 28, 2019).

Personal information

The application form requests the following personal information:

  • Your name: Supply your full name. Season of Docs will not share this name with the open source organizations and will not publish this name on the website.

  • A display name of your choice: Supply the name that you want to use as a public identifier during your participation in Season of Docs. We strongly recommend that you do not use your real, full name for your display name. Season of Docs will share your display name with the open source organization that you indicate on your application form. Season of Docs will publish your display name on the website in the list of accepted technical writing projects.

  • Your email address: Supply the email address associated with your Google account. (You do need a Google account to participate in Season of Docs. You can use a non-Gmail email address with a Google account. See this help article.) Season of Docs uses your email address to communicate with you and to make the website resources available to you. Season of Docs will share this email address with the open source organization that you indicate on your application form. Season of Docs will not publish this email address on the website.

See below for a summary of how Season of Docs uses the information from your application form.

Information about your technical writing experience

When the open source mentors and organization administrators examine a project proposal, they're interested in your technical writing experience. You can provide details on the form as follows:

  • Recent technical writing experience: Up to three entries where you can list your most recent technical writing roles or work experience. If you have open source documentation experience, include it here too. Summarize your role, the responsibilities of the role, and the work you completed. You can provide dates where relevant.

  • A link to your resume or CV: (Optional.) The URL of a publicly accessible version of your resume or curriculum vitae (CV).

  • A link to your work samples: (Optional.) The URL of a publicly accessible portfolio of writing samples, or individual links to examples of your work.

  • Anything else you'd like to add: (Optional.) Any information you want to add this application. For example, your interest in technical documentation, why you want to participate in Season of Docs, or other relevant experience.

Project proposal

Your project proposal is a summary of the documentation work that you would like to complete while working with your chosen open source organization during Season of Docs.

You can submit a maximum of three project proposals. All your project proposals must be on the same application form.

Spend time on your project proposal, bearing the following guidelines in mind.

Preparatory work:

  • Examine the list of participating open source organizations and choose one or more organizations that interest you. Take a look at the project ideas that each of your chosen open source organizations has proposed.

    Participating open source organizations

  • If the organization that interests you has not suggested any ideas, you can examine the generic list of project ideas and base your idea on one of those. You may also choose to come up with your own idea, whether the organization has posted ideas or not.

  • Get in touch with one or more of the participating organizations to discuss the project ideas. To make contact, use the organization's email address shown in the list of participating organizations. Early discussions help you put together a good project proposal.

Your project proposal on the application form:

  • Open source organization name: Enter the name of the open source organization that you want to work with during Season of Docs. This must be one of the participating organizations displayed on the Season of Docs website.

    Participating open source organizations

  • Open source project name: This is the name of the open source project that you want to work on during Season of Docs. The project must belong to one of the participating organizations displayed on the Season of Docs website. For some organizations, the organization name and project name may be the same.

  • The name of your proposed technical writing project. Supply a short, descriptive title that summarizes the main goal of the work you're proposing.

  • A detailed description. Give as much detail as possible in the description of the technical writing project that you're proposing. It's fine to enter multiple paragraphs in the description field. Here are some ideas of what to include:

    • Give details of the documentation you're proposing to create/update. If you plan to update an existing document or site, include a link and describe the proposed updates. If you're proposing a new document or a new site, describe the content and audience.
    • Say why you're proposing the new documentation or the updates.
    • If you've discussed the project with someone from the open source organization, include a summary of the outcome of those discussions.
    • Pay attention to the language and style of your proposal. The open source organization may use these as a factor in assessing the proposal.
    • Don't supply a link to your project description. The description should include all the definitive details of your project. The open source organization must be able to make a selection based on the content of the application form rather than on content held elsewhere. If you need to link to other content that supplements the description, that's OK, but be aware that only the content of the application form is used for project selection.

Other important fields on the application form

Below are guidelines on other key information you should supply on the application form:

  • Choosing a standard-length or long-running project: The standard period for the doc development phase of Season of Docs is three months. If your project requires a longer period of time, you must indicate this on the application form after consultation with the open source organization of your choice. See the description of long-running projects.

  • Accepting the Season of Docs stipend: Season of Docs pays a sum of money to those technical writers who successfully complete their projects, provided the technical writer wants to accept the stipend. See the information about technical writer stipends. The stipend is optional. If you do not want to receive the stipend, indicate your choice on the application form.

How Season of Docs uses the information from your application form

This section summarizes how Season of Docs uses the information from your application form. Earlier sections of this page describe the key fields in detail.

The table lists key fields. For each field, the table indicates whether Season of Docs:

  • Passes the information on to the open source organization that you have specified on your application form.
  • Publishes the information in the list of accepted technical writing projects on the Season of Docs website.
Information on form Shared with open source organization? Displayed on Season of Docs website?
Full name
Display name
Email address
Recent technical writing experience
Link to resume or CV
Link to work samples
Anything else you'd like to add
Open source organization/project name
Technical writing project name and description
Long-running or standard-length project
Acceptance of stipend

Key to the symbols used in the above table:

Symbol Meaning of symbol


Here are a few more points to bear in mind:

  • Submitting multiple project proposals: You can submit more than one project proposal, but Season of Docs accepts only one project proposal per technical writer. You can only submit one application form. The form allows up to three project proposals.

  • Total number of technical writing projects in the program: Season of Docs can only accept a certain maximum number of technical writing projects in total. See how slot allocation works.

  • Take a look at the hints for mentors on how to assess technical writer proposals. Understanding the mentors' selection criteria helps you craft a proposal that's more likely to succeed.

  • For procedural information about when and how to submit your Season of Docs application, see the technical writer guide.