The Best of Heroic Technical Writing 2016

One thing I’ve learned from this blog is that I have very little control over which entries will get the most attention. That is determined by you, the readers. Nevertheless, I’ll keep trying to crank out the most useful content I can. It is in this spirit that I share this year’s top ten most popular posts based on user visits. Enjoy!

10. Three Reasons the Future Needs Technical Communicators – The future needs us, it really does. We are the philosophers of the Internet Age.

9. Alternate Lines of Work – Can’t find work in documentation or proposal writing, or are you looking to try something different? Here are six lines of work where you can put your technical communication experience and skills to work.

8. Resume – This is actually my resume. I presume you folks want to see what sort of work I do or have done. Trust me, it’s all real. Strange at times, but very real. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

7. How to Write a Complaint Letter – I spent five years working for Walt Disney World Guest Communications, during which I answered guest letters. Given the ratio of positive to negative letters I saw during my time there, I can tell you that on the whole, happy people don’t write letters. One thing I did learn after reading a lot of complaints that irritated me is how to write an effective letter.

6. New to This Page? – This page came at the suggestion of my internet-marketing-expert buddy Chef Katrina. It helps orient anyone who’s not sure about who I am or what this page is about.

5. Basic Ethics for the Technical Communicator – As a “philosopher of the Internet age” and a student of the guy who literally wrote the book on ethics in tech comm, I felt the need to share my two cents on the subject.

4. How an English Major Got a Job at NASA – I get the most requests for advice on this topic. If you’re a literary type who’s gung-ho to work for the U.S. space program, see also item 6 above, which includes most of my articles on how to do this. I meant to write a book on how to help English majors get a job at NASA, but the niche is small and my interest in the project limited.

3. “Bring Me a Rock” – This exercise in satire pokes fun at a very real problem for technical communicators: how to handle customers who don’t know what they want but seem to know precisely that they don’t want what you just brought them.

2. Large, Medium, or Small: What’s Your Best Working Environment? – Some readers seem very interested in knowing what size of organization best suits them. This entry covers the pros and cons of each type of business. I later wrote a follow-up article on the pros and cons of self-employment as well.

1. Vertical, Horizontal, and Matrixed Organizations (And Why You Should Care) – This has been my number one entry for a couple years now, though many folks are accessing the images showing the organization charts. Apparently there’s a big call for people to understand how companies are organized.

I believe this “top ten” list covers the bulk of my content and interests in technical communication, including people, politics, and processes. Heroic Technical Writing surpassed 15,000 readers this year. And while the Kardashians can get those kind of numbers in an hour or so, I appreciate the attention that this blog gets, niche market that it is. Thanks to all of you for your  attention. I do take requests, by the way, so if you have topics you would like me to cover in more depth in the future, I’ll be happy to oblige.

Happy 2017 to you!

About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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