Continuous Improvement for the Writer

I was rambling on in my personal blog about self-improvement, and after some thought I realized that I could find a way to tie that blog to tech writing. Businesses talk a lot about “continuous improvement,” but it’s often difficult for the tech writer to crystallize what that means for him or her. I’ll take a shot here. Continue reading

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Why Didn’t I Get the Job I Wanted?

It happens more often than we would like to admit it: we do our  best to look good to a potential employer and then, for some reason–not always disclosed to us–the work does not go to us. Was it something I said? the reflective technical communicator might ask, or am I just not good enough? Before you go beating yourself up over things you don’t know or can’t control, I’d like to offer a few suggestions for why you did not get a job that looked like a “perfect” fit for you. Continue reading

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Should I Join STC?

I’ve never really discussed membership in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) because of my own mixed feelings about STC or organizations like it. I have been a member, off and on, am not one currently, but might be one again in the future. What follows are my own very subjective observations and experiences about organizational membership. In the end, any decisions and experiences will be yours, so don’t take my word for it, go find out for yourself. Continue reading

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How and Why to Write a Travel Report

If you’re self-employed, you are unlikely to write up a trip report. If you’re working for someone else and they send you somewhere on business travel, you might find yourself completing such a report. The basic point of a trip report is to summarize what you did with your time so that your employer can determine that they are getting value from that trip. Continue reading

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Taking Care of the Home Front

This topic came up because I’ll be on travel this week, visiting family. I’ll keep it short, but the bottom line is: make sure you maintain good relationships with the people in your home or outside of your career.  Continue reading

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How to Write Effective Book Reviews

One way to get your foot in the door with a community/magazine you’re interested in writing for is to write book reviews. The important things to remember are that you meet your audience’s and editor’s expectations when describing the virtues or challenges with someone else’s work. Continue reading

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Steady Jobs vs. Freelance Gigs

I’ve covered some of this before, but I still get asked about it occasionally by readers and friends. “How do you do it?” I hear, with “it” being living my life without a boss, a steady job, or company-subsidized healthcare? Some of it is work, some of it is luck, a lot of it, once the work is found, is actually pretty awesome. The bottom line for you folks in a hurry: you need to work with your network to let them know what you do and what sort of work you’re seeking; you need to live within your means; and you need to learn to enjoy a new balance between self-discipline and freedom. If you have more time, read on. Continue reading

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