Technical writer guide

Current phase:
The 2021 Season of Docs program finished on December 14, 2021. See timeline.

This guide is intended for technical writers interested in working with accepted organizations in the 2021 Season of Docs program.

Should you participate in the 2021 Season of Docs program?

Use these questions to help you understand whether you would be interested in working with an accepted organization in the 2021 Season of Docs program.

  • Do you have technical writing skills and experience? Season of Docs is not intended to teach basic technical writing skills. Are you self-motivated and organized?
  • Do you have time to participate during the six months of the program (April-November 2021)? Project sizes vary, but range from a commitment of 5-30 hours per week during the program.
  • Are you interested in gaining experience working in open source? Are you willing to devote time to learning a project’s processes and community norms?
  • Are you willing to work with the organization administrator to refine their project proposals, develop timelines, assess and compile metrics, and help the organization as a whole understand the value of technical writing?

You should also meet the program eligibility requirements, including being able to create an Open Collective account. Please note that you must be legally able to receive funds for work performed in your place of residence. The Season of Docs program administrators are unable to provide tax advice or answer questions about your work eligibility.

As a skilled technical writer participating in Season of Docs, you’ll be paid to gain experience working in open source while you help your project solve a key need through better docs.

Participating in the 2021 Season of Docs program as a technical writer

Exploration phase

Organization applications close March 26, 2021 at 18:00 UTC. We recommend that technical writers start exploring possible projects as early as possible. However, organizations may select technical writers to work with at any time before May 17, 2021 at 18:00 UTC.

  • Find projects that interest you
    • Contact open source organizations directly using the instructions on their Season of Docs program page, or check out the Season of Docs GitHub repository to find organizations that have expressed interest in participating in Season of Docs. You may also find interested organizations in the #season-of-docs channel in the Write the Docs Slack.
    • Some ways to choose a project:
      • Choose a project in a language you are familiar with or interested in, such as Javascript or C.
      • Choose a project in a technology or domain that interests you, such as machine learning, open science, or robotics.
      • Choose a project based on the friendliness of the community! Hang out in their discussion forums, check out contributors’ social media accounts (if they talk about their project there), and look at their onboarding documentation, if any.
      • If there’s a project you’d like to work with that isn’t on the project list, contact that project and ask them to consider applying!
  • Review the projects’ proposal pages
    • Once you have 3-5 possible projects, check out each project’s proposal page
    • You should ask questions, give feedback, and make suggestions using the channels the project has listed for feedback and discussion
  • Submit a statement of interest directly to the organization. In your statement of interest you will show how you would achieve the goals set out in the organization's project proposal.
    • Use the Season of Docs statement of interest template. Shorter is better!
    • Use the instructions on the organization’s ideas page to submit your statement of interest. If the organization has listed any special requirements, make sure you show that you meet those requirements in your statement.
    • By submitting your statement of interest, you agree to abide by the organization’s code of conduct and the Season of Docs code of conduct.

Application phase

  • Wait for the announcement of accepted organizations by Season of Docs:
    • Accepted organizations will reach out directly if they want to work with you or discuss your statement of interest further.
    • Organizations are not limited to working only with technical writers who have submitted statements of interest by the organization application deadline. They may solicit further statements of interests after acceptance. Organizations must select a technical writer before May 17, 2021 at 18:00 UTC.
    • Organizations are not required to give feedback on unsuccessful statements of interest.

Project development phase

  • Work with the organization to create a schedule, including deliverables and deadlines.

Final evaluation and case study phase

  • Work with the organization to provide information needed for the final evaluation and case study.