2017 Recap

Since Monday will be another holiday, I’ll take today to do a gratuitous end-of-year review without making things too tiresome for you folks. Happy soon-to-be New Year!

The blog 

Thanks to some articles that have picked up a life of their own–particularly “Vertical, Horizontal, and Matrixed Organizations (And Why You Should Care)“) and some referrals by domestic and international universities, Heroic Technical Writing has leaped from around 15,000 views in 2016 to over 23,000 this year, an increase of over 50 percent–wow! To paraphrase Marvel Comics, with great readership comes great responsibility, so I will do my best to continue making this blog worth your time.

I’ve also received some great questions and suggestions for future topics from my readers. Those are all greatly appreciated, as they help feed the never-ending demand for content plus my desire to meet the needs of you, my audience. If you have questions regarding technical writing, the business/office politics side of it, or something else in the ball park, let me know, and I’ll do my best to address them!

The work

This coming January marks the beginning of my fifth year keeping myself fed without a steady 9-to-5 job. After an initial year or two of confusion and panic, a decent, steady contract job found me in mid-2015. That job keeps my bills paid while some of my side jobs provide extra money for things like vacations. I was just informed that my employer’s contract was extended, which means that I’m good for at least another year. That’s probably a good thing since I still don’t have a solid plan for what to do when I need to so search for steady money again.

I also arranged a call with an aerospace communications professional who ran her own business to get some ideas on how I might keep the income flowing if or when the Nissan work goes away. For instance, she suggested monitoring and attending industry days for upcoming proposal opportunities at Kennedy Space Center and talking to small businesses that might be in need of a proposal writer. That bit of advice alone was worth the call.

Beyond Nissan training and development, my productive time this year was spent writing proposals or technical documents for various engineering customers: Advanced Space, GSH of Alabama, and Zero Point Frontiers. My free time, of course, continues to include the Science Cheerleaders as well as the Mars Foundation and Marspedia.org. I hope to do more in the coming year.

The book

I have set myself the goal of finishing a book version of this blog this coming year (first draft target deadline is March 31). This has been made possible through some excellent coaching from my friend Kate the Coach and others. Current working title is, oddly enough, Heroic Technical Writing. The goal will be to help my current readers and other young professionals approach their careers in a constructive, thoughtful way; to help you better understand how it functions; and maybe to offer up some advice so you can obtain the career you want. Looking forward to honing my thoughts for you.

The future

2018 will present its own opportunities and challenges. I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to cover the Falcon Heavy launch, for example. I’ll be attending the USA Science and Engineering Festival in my capacity as Event Director for the Science Cheerleaders. The odds are 50/50 that I’ll attend the Society for Technical Communication (STC) Summit in Orlando this May. I’ll pay off a tax bill and so might be able to take a vacation here and there. And, of course, I’m hoping to get the book in shape to send to a publisher. Suggestions welcome on that, too, though I’ll probably report out on my progress through the year regardless.

Was your 2017 productive? Did you push yourself a little more, try something new, get yourself on a path that leads you to more professional and personal happiness? If so, good for you! If not, 2018 is waiting for you.

Onward!

About Bart Leahy

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