Lesson 1: Welcome to Writing an Instructable

Introduction: Lesson 1: Welcome to Writing an Instructable

About: I'm a community manager here at instructables! I turn into a stitch witch at night. You can find me on Instagram @jessyratfink and Twitter at @makingjiggy ^_^

My name is Jessy Ratfink and I've been writing instructables for the last 14 years. In that time, I've published over 500 instructables - I suppose you could say I know a thing or two about them. ;)

Instructables was love at first sight for me - I've always loved learning about new things at my own pace and this is the perfect place to do that.

In this class, I'm going to show you just how simple it is to write a great instructable. To do this, I'm going to walk you through the creation of my 507th instructable - a recipe for no chill sugar cookies!

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the documenting process, let's first go over what an instructable is.



How to Write an Instructable Class Contents:

A note from me, in 2020: This class has been a work in progress for several years, so you may see the site looking differently through the screenshots. Don't be alarmed: I've updated and removed information and links as necessary to reflect the changes!

Step 1: First of All: What Is an Instructable?

An instructable is a step-by-step guide of how to do something... anything! Have a thing you're good at? Share an instructable and teach others how to do that magical thing you do!

Instructables use photos and text (and sometimes video!) to teach skills and techniques. Instructables are authored by people of every skill level - from beginners to professionals! Don’t worry if you’re new to sharing your creations because the Instructables community is very friendly and supportive.

Here on Instructables, we feature how-tos of all types, including: food, technology, crafting, workshop builds, video game tutorials, costumes, and making your own furniture. We've even got some amazing offbeat instructables like the watermelon shark, gummy bear axe, or barbie doll feather duster.

Step 2: How to Find Inspiration

Inspiration for an instructable can really come from anywhere!

Online, I enjoy browsing Instructables, Pinterest, and Instagram to get ideas. I've also been known to spend entire afternoons at the hardware store browsing the aisles thinking about what I could do with various bits and bobs I find.

Sometimes, the idea comes from a need or want around the house. It's all about problem solving with what you have!

I also really recommend heading to your local thrift store, salvage yard, or flea market: they're my favorite places to get ideas. You can spend a whole day getting lost in the weird and beautiful piles of goodies. A good example of this is Building Resources in San Francisco, featured in the video below!

Step 3: What Do I Need to Make an Instructable?

Two things: an idea and a camera!

That's honestly the bare minimum you need. I often make instructables from things I already have around my house! (Don't be intimidated by my huge honkin' camera - for the first seven years of writing instructables, I used Canon point and shoots. I've even used a phone camera for a few instructables!)

One of the greatest things about Instructables is that you can teach others how to do almost anything from your perspective. There’s no limit to what you can share. :D

Step 4: Let's Get Started!

Now that you know a little bit about Instructables and what an instructable is, let's dive right into creating an instructable!

In the next lesson, I'll walk you through the process of documenting and photographing my sugar cookie recipe. I'll show you my photo setup and how I take notes. I'll also link you to valuable resources here on Instructables so you can learn more about photography if you need help there! :D


>> Click HERE to go to Lesson 2: Documenting a Project <<

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