Since starting this blog in 2011, I’ve discussed the actual tasks of technical writing as well as a lot of the external (and internal) considerations that affect that writing. Some of you might be wondering if this really IS a technical writing blog, given how many things I write about besides the actual writing. Trust me, if you do enough of this, your “inside game” (thoughts, feelings, plans) can be just as much part of the job as the documents you produce. Nevertheless, today I’ll share a bit “behind the curtain” at Heroic Technical Writing so you can see what I’m up to…and why I don’t share too much.
For the last 3.5 years, I’ve been writing and editing corporate training classes for a major automobile manufacturer’s corporate office. I also recently started doing work for another of their brands. Can I share that content with you? No, I may not. Not if I want to honor my non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Nevertheless, they feel the work is important enough to hire a professional writer/editor to ensure that their training products are clear, well-written, and user-friendly. That’s how I pay my bills.
In similar fashion, my side work has involved a lot of aerospace content, which remains my passion in life. However, due to the NDAs I’ve signed and the information I handle, I can’t even tell you whom I’m supporting. However, it’s cool stuff, and I get the opportunity to write about rockets and space hardware, so that much is worth knowing.
When I was supporting the Science Cheerleaders (an activity I retired from after a ten-year effort), I was interacting in person or electronically with professional cheerleaders, who occasionally get stalkers. One reason I got and kept my job for so long is that I am not a stalker, nor do I wish to enable stalkers.
Sensitive Pay Matters
I also don’t share my pay rates or annual income on this page because those are competition-sensitive information for me. And, as my parents explained to me early on, those are nobody’s damn business.
So What’s Left?
Given that I can’t talk much about the actual content of my work, what can I talk about?
I can talk about my day-to-day concerns as a freelancer and the operational, political, or personal challenges that affect the documents I write, so that’s what you’ll see more of going forward. I will, of course, take requests on any special topics my readers would like discussed.
This year I expect to deliver a talk about working in the aerospace business to a combined group of space advocates (HAL5) and technical writers (STC), so I suppose I can talk about that in the future. Stay tuned.
I don’t have any updates on my book (yet). Until I wait to hear back on a publisher’s response to my proposal, there seems little point in modifying it to meet editorial demands until I have an editor to answer to. When I get a response, then I’ll have something to talk about.
And since it’s not exactly a state secret that I’ll be reaching a round, divisible-by-ten number this year, it’s entirely likely that I’ll be reflecting on some of the opportunities and challenges of reaching that age. You have been warned.
The bottom line is that I remain a gainfully employed freelance technical writer, but the nature of my work keeps me from sharing the “inside baseball” talk that might interest some of you. My apologies, but that’s part of the bargain one strikes as a technical communicator, and it’s a bargain I consider worth keeping.