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How to Write a Better Instruction Manual
by Brian Konradt
If you know the best way to do somethingand you can complete it without much planningit's commonsense that you'd want to share this knowledge with other people. What finer approach to carry it out than with an instruction manual. Preparing an instruction manual might appear difficult and laborious, but it is simpler than you might assume. The following advice will teach you how to plan and write in-depth instructions for others to follow.
SUMMARIZE YOUR IDEA
Before you can instruct a person on how to carry out a project competently, you have to visualize mentally which parts of the project they must know. If your idea is complex, like how to play the guitar, outline each chapter and summarize the steps that you have to take. If it's an easier project, like changing your car oil, quickly record all the steps that come to your memory. Don't stress over the particulars of the project or if you enumerate the process out of sequence; we will correctly arrange these tasks soon.
BEGIN WITH THE MATERIALS
The most sensible way to begin an instruction manual is to itemize the materials and supplies that the reader definitely will need for the job. Be as thorough here as you can; your readers will appreciate it. If some of the supplies are costly or troublesome to locate, provide substitutes or outlets that sell the product.
GO STEP BY STEP
Rather than describing the project in drawn-out paragraphs, dissect your instruction manual into distinct, thorough steps. Provide as much guidance as feasible; if one step demands some specialized tasks, create sub-steps. Consider these sub-steps as a schema; number or letter the actions correctly (and realistically).
PERFORM THE PROJECT
If your instruction manual describes a physical project, then finish the project using just your drafted guide. Don't invent and don't rely on your preexisting expertise. If it's challenging for you to do your own project (subjectiveness is often futile to neglect), consult a friend to use your guide to finish the project. Scrutinize the final product; did it become what you had predicted? Did you overlook something necessary? Proceed to revamp and explain until your written words include every step in the most in-depth and useful way conceivable.
MAKE IT EASY
Producing an instruction manual is atypical from writing prosy fiction; imaginative redundancy isn't essential hereit's clearness you're after. Use concise sentences and easy words. Verify that your manual is coherent and legible; if the reader can't comprehend precisely what you're pointing out, then he can't finish your project.