I keep getting new readers, so today I’ll provide a refresher about this blog. Heroic Technical Writing is a site dedicated to sharing insights that enable aspiring or practicing technical communicators succeed in their careers. This includes the personal and philosophical aspects of the job as well as the technical skills. I do not include a lot of things I do not do or enjoy (for example, computer documentation or programming). There are some spectacular sites out there for that sort of thing.
The Perspective of This Blog
My diverse career experiences shape this blog as well:
- Twelve years at the Walt Disney World Resort (five of those years answering complaint letters and three as a technical writer in human resources and IT).
- Three years within the Washington, DC, Beltway as a defense and government services proposal writer.
- Six years as a NASA contractor at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, where I wrote and edited conference papers, education and outreach materials, engineering documents, reports, and public speeches.
- A year as Chief of Communications for a small engineering firm.
- Five-plus years as a freelance technical writer, supporting corporate training at Nissan, proposal and engineering writing at multiple space launch firms, and other odd jobs to pay the bills.
- Twenty years as a space advocate, ten years as a logistics and membership manager for the Science Cheerleaders, with a variety of nonprofit work thrown in there as well.
Mix all those together and you have a technical writer who’s most comfortable as a technical advocate, i.e., someone who enjoys advocating on behalf of technology- or science-related organizations and causes. I’m interested in ideas that move people to take action.
And while I occasionally cover the mechanics or tools used to do my job, those aren’t the things that interest or inspire me. You won’t find a lot of talk on this site about online help tools, XML, or content localization/translation. Again, there are folks who do a superb job on such things, and I encourage you to read them. And while I have a reputation for being a stickler for grammar, I know things should read on the page more than the rules. If you’re into gerunds or knowing when to use which versus that, again, others more capable than me can explain all the mysteries of the English language.
How I Work
Since 2015, I’ve committed to posting Monday and Thursday at 9 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time. I will sometimes post a little late if I’m writing on the day a post is due, and occasionally I will take a break and warn you when I’ll be “out of the office. Otherwise, I create new content twice a week.
Sometimes I write in response to events in the news. More often than not, though, I’m simply writing about topics that interest me or things that come up in the course of my work life. I’m committed to helping you, the tech writer, function well in the world of work. Think of me as the helpful peer you can talk to after work. I cover the issues that usually don’t come up in a college or university classroom:
- Your mindset, approach, or reactions toward people in the workplace.
- Invoicing, paying bills, or surviving.
- Covering matters of business protocol, appearance, protecting your professional interests, or even (scary thought) retiring.
I give advice and take requests! Sometimes readers will email me– (Bart[at]heroictechwriting.com–with specific questions, and I’m happy to reply. More often than not, though, I’ll turn my answer into a generic post for others who might have the same question. If you’re a university instructor or student and interested in my thoughts on a particular topic you’re covering in class, I handle do those, too.
I’m willing to be a guest speaker! Mostly I’ve done this for university classrooms via Skype or teleconference. If you are a business (or other) organization and want to hire me to talk about technical (or space-related) communication, my rates are negotiable. I live in Orlando, Florida. Outside a 50-mile radius, I’d need my travel expenses and time compensated.
And if I cannot answer your question out of my varied and peculiar experiences, I will try to do the research, interview a subject matter expert who does know, or refer you to another site that can do the job better than me.
All that said, if you are a new reader at Heroic Technical Writing, welcome, and thank you for visiting! I’m here to help.