Writing Day

Writing Day

Each year we run an event called the Writing Day during the conference. This event is modeled after the concept of sprints, which are common in open-source conferences. The main premise is to get a bunch of interesting people in a room together and have them work towards shared goals.

To make the most out of the Writing Day, we recommend that you either come with a project, or be ready and willing to contribute to someone else’s project.

Here are some examples of projects that you might want to work on:

  • Open source software documentation
  • General documentation writing
  • Best practices manual (For your company, or the world)
  • Blog posts
  • Tips and tricks
  • Great works of fiction
  • Love letters
  • The Documentarian Manifesto

You get the idea.

All this adds up to a room full of smart people sharing your problems, your passion, and your goals. So be ready to learn some new things and to teach others what you know.

Even if you feel as though you don’t know that much, we know you have a lot to offer. Come surprise yourself with how much you can share.

Documenting a new project?

Check out our beginners guide to writing documentation. This should help you get started, and give you some ideas for how you can contribute to a project that you love.


Please bring a computer or some other mechanism with which to create written words. We’ll be creating and editing content, so make sure that you have the tools you need to contribute.


  • Date & Time: Sunday, May 6th, 9am-5pm, with the conference opening reception in the same space until 9.
  • Location: Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St. We will be in the main ballroom.


Kubernetes Documentation

If you’re looking to contribute to open source documentation on GitHub, consider helping improve the Kubernetes docs. Issues and projects this year include improving the user journeys that provide the landing page for the docs, helping develop a custom Kubernetes dictionary for common spellcheckers, and more.

Kubernetes is an open source system that manages containerized applications across different infrastructures. No previous product experience is needed to help with the docs. Docs are published at kubernetes.io and they’re pulled directly from Github. So you’ll need a GitHub account, and some familiarity with Markdown. You can also take a look at our contributor guidelines, and if you haven’t contributed before, it’ll save time if you sign the contributor license agreement before you arrive at Writing Day.

Detailed information, including how to sign the CLA

And if you have questions before Writing Day, feel free to ask in the #kubernetes channel in the Write the Docs Slack.

CockroachDB Docs

CockroachDB is a distributed SQL database built on a transactional and strongly-consistent key-value store. Here’s a quick overview video:


Following are a few ways you can contribute to the CockroachDB docs:

Improve our current docs

If you love fiddling around with a new product, you can:

Fill gaps in our docs

If you’d like to dig in deeper, we’re missing docs on a handful of important features. You can help us fill these gaps!

Help us improve our processes

Feel free to go through the full list of GitHub issues labeled wtd-writing-day and claim the ones you want to work on.

And of course, we (@jseldess and @amruta on the Write the Docs Slack channel) will be available throughout the day to help out. Also feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or suggestions in the interim. See you on Writing Day!

Netlify CMS

Netlify CMS is an open source CMS for static site generators, created by the folks at Netlify. You can add it to your site’s Git repository to enable rich-text content editing in a neat UI with side-by-side realtime preview. Git functions like pull requests and commits are abstracted away behind UI buttons for publishing and creating drafts.

We’re a really friendly and active community, happy to answer questions in Gitter chat or even Write the Docs Slack. (Try #static-site-generator or ping @verythorough!) We uphold the Contributor Covenant Code of Conduct, and we work hard to make sure all contributors feel welcome, supported, and recognized.

Documentation plays a key role in Netlify CMS—check out our first major foray into documentation-driven development with PR #1311, and feel free to add your thoughts!

If contributing to Netlify CMS interests you, here are some possible paths to getting started:

  • Use a starter template to get a site up in minutes, then take what you learn as you try the UI, and consider helping write a user guide for content editors.
  • Try the tutorial for adding Netlify CMS to your existing static site, then help improve the experience for others by filing an issue or suggest a change directly by clicking Edit this page.
  • Check the issues labeled Area: docs to find out where we’re looking for docs-related help. Some issues involve coding as well as writing, if that strikes your fancy.

Jessica (@verythorough in Slack) and Irene will be arriving for Writing Day after lunch, and will be happy to answer questions and collaborate. If you want to get started in the morning but find yourself stuck, feel free to ask in Gitter chat. We look forward to meeting you!

Write the Docs

This year we’re also running a session where you can help improve your favorite website. Yup, you can brainstorm on improvements, write helpful content and posts, or just magically improve Write the Docs.

If you’re writing text to add to the website, ideally you’ll already be familiar with GitHub and writing in plain text (markdown or restructured text), but we’ll be there to help out if you’re not.

If you’d rather brainstorm on content reorganization in Google Docs, improve our Python scripts or our jinja templates, we’ve got plenty to do there as well.

Here are a few things we’ll be working on on writing day, reach out to @plaindocs if you have any questions or more suggestions.

Brainstorm user-oriented architecture

The website is currently organised around meetups, conferences, guides, etc – find ways to introduce user-oriented labels considering audience. Who is coming to the site, why? What are the goals of the site?

  • Learn about docs
  • Get involved with the community
  • Attend conference
  • Submit a conference proposal
  • Find a video of a talk that I saw

Improve navigation

Let’s discuss information architecture – can we organize the content better? Provide better navigation?

Help develop the Documentation Guide

Help reorganize the guide content, or write and edit topics. Check out Documentation guide ahead of time and bring your ideas to the table!

Fix website issues

We have a list of issues on GitHub tagged as writingday that includes things like:

  • fix broken links (we have a lot of these)
  • improve the meetup pages
  • make a better video archive
  • add list of conference write ups for past conferences

The Lone Writers Guide

If you’re the new sole writer at a company and you’ve inherited a mess, what should you do first? What decisions (and trade offs) are the most important to address right away? What are the milestones you would try to hit in the first 30, 60, and 90 days?

We started a guide for people who are thrown into the deep end, to give them a plan for the first 90 days. It already includes pages about things like identifying your stakeholders, choosing the right tools, and getting everyone to write. You can expand on these topics, or create a new one.

Get started at our GitHub repo: https://github.com/San-Francisco-Write-The-Docs/lone-writers-guide

The Lone Writers Guide was started by Write the Docs San Francisco Bay Area; when complete, it will be available on the web.

Your project here

Send us a pull request or an email talking about what you want to work on!