Do Freelancers Need a Writing Room?

The marvelous thing about the news is that if I’m lacking for a topic to talk about, some foolishness inevitably crosses my Twitter or Facebook feed that makes a good topic for this blog. This past week it has been the Twitter kerfuffle that erupted when an UK reporter called Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling “pretentious” for having a “writing room.” Since I’m not above taking advantage of the zeitgeist to fill a column, here are my thoughts for the technical writer working from home…ideally in a writing room of their own. Continue reading

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More on Retirement

The process of retirement planning continues in Casa de Bart thanks to the calendar advancing and receiving an official plan from a financial planner. The recommendations included increasing my savings, deferring my retirement until a later point, and reducing my expectations for post-retirement spending. Nothing too surprising, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how bloody improbable the whole business looks. Follow me on this; it might provoke your own thinking as well. Continue reading

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Adjusting to Getting Older

On the whole, I’m much happier in my second quarter century than I ever was in my first. There are definite advantages to being older. However, there are also some down sides, such as dealing with medical issues brought on by time and feeling left out or out of date when some enthusiastic younger person tries to explain to you the latest fashion, cultural trend, or electronic gadget. Today I’ll spend a little time discussing things an adult pushing 50 might have to address that occur in the process of getting older. You younger folks can tune out if you want to…your turn will come later. 🙂 Continue reading

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English Major Skills in the Real World

This past week, the site Dear English Major retweeted a post about “The 9 Most Common Misconceptions about English Majors (And Why They’re not always True).” Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait! One point especially caught my attention: The skills you learn in English class don’t translate to the “real world.” This resonated with me because I realized that while I’m working in a highly technical field, the way I was taught to view documents (and the world) ensured that I can do what I do without the benefit of a science or engineering education (degree). Working with words is powerful! Continue reading

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It’s That Time Again…

Thanksgiving is typically not a favorite holiday of mine, probably because I often got sick when I lived in the Midwest during this time of year. Regardless of that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the value of acknowledging and expressing thanks for the good things, people, or circumstances in my life (see here or here for examples). As I approach the end of my fourth year as a freelance technical writer, I have much to be thankful for, from gainful employment to good friends. Find your blessings, take the time to acknowledge them, at least one day a year.

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