Optimize Your Writing Workshop

Writing is complicated. In this workshop, Cary Millsap will show you how to improve your writing to better showcase your hard work, and even to improve the quality of the work you’re writing about.

Your work and your writing create a feedback loop, in which your writing informs—that is, actually changes—your work.

Objective:Write relevant, clear, meaningful, useful technical documents
Textbook:Course material will be distributed electronically
Duration:2 hours minimum, customizable
Instructor:Cary Millsap
Venue:Live (some locations) or Zoom


What’s the most important part of a good technical document? It’s that it has to be correct, right? Well, not so fast. It turns out, there are lots of ways a document can be correct and still be useless.

No, for a document to be good, it has to be more than just correct. It has to be clear, meaningful, and interesting. It has to be precise, but not overly so, because too much precision costs too much. It has to be politically adept. But most of all, a good technical document has to be relevant—it must address all the right topics, boldly and courageously.

In this workshop, Cary Millsap will teach you how to write relevant, clear, meaningful, useful technical documents.


The course covers topics like the following:

  • Why Write? – any why you should write during your work, not afterward
  • The Process – working, writing, editing, how to get unstuck
  • Relevance – why it’s your top priority
  • Voice – directness, courageousness vs. “Official Style”
  • Cost, Benefit, and Risk – why benefit is the trickiest to predict
  • Opportunity vs. Recommendation – how they’re different
  • Precision – tools for working with ranges, the value of precision
  • Design – white space, unnecessary ink, images, captions, typography
  • Mechanics – how to make the most of Microsoft Word
  • Autonomy, Authority, and Influence – your sources of power
  • Exercises – supervised editing of instructor and student examples

Format and Duration

A Technical Writing course can be delivered in formats ranging from a 2-hour lecture to a full-day workshop with deep discussions about your own challenges.


Cary Millsap has been been writing technical books, papers, and reports since 1985. He is the author of Faster: How to Optimize a System, The Method R Guide to Mastering Oracle Trace Data, Optimizing Oracle Performance, BASIC for the IBM PC, and a co-author of Oracle Insights: Tales of the Oak Table. He is published in professional journals including Communications of the ACM. He is a former vice president at Oracle Corporation, founder and president of Method R Corporation, and a vice president at Cintra Software & Services.


If you have specific problems you’d like to work on together, let us know while we’re planning your event.