Heroic Technical Writing in 2023

Some of you might have noticed that my posting frequency has dropped off a bit in the past year. This was a conscious decision on my part, as I was facing a lot of deadline pressure from my various customers, twice a week turns out to be a LOT of writing, and I didn’t always have something interesting to say. I have been writing this blog since 2011, and most of the wisdom I have to share regarding the practice of technical writing I’ve managed to share.

Bottom Line

I am likely to shift to “write as I feel like it” rather than sticking to once a week. I still have multiple customers and projects of my own to pursue.

I will try to post here once a month and see how that does for my creativity. My apologies to anyone who’s been depending on my prose to keep your tech writing students on their toes.

Meanwhile, the past blogs are all here. And if you feel like you need a handy reference book by a practicing professional on your desk, Heroic Technical Writing the book contains the important essentials of my advice.

I will, of course, continue to respond to direct emails (bart at heroictechwriting dot com) as well as requests to cover specific topics or appear as a classroom “guest speaker” via Zoom or other channel.

The Point of This Blog

I began writing this blog in September 2011 to provide the sort of helpful advice I wish I’d gotten from an older, professional English major when I was in college. I’ve tried to be as real as I can about the good, the bad, and the ugly on the job and hopefully impart some useful wisdom to my readers. My target audience has been college students and young professionals, and I’ve been pleased to see (based on my metrics) that I have reached that audience. I have appreciated the kind and enthusiastic fan mail I’ve received over the years and am glad that I’ve added some value to your internet experience. Thank you for reading. Go forth and do good things!

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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3 Responses to Heroic Technical Writing in 2023

  1. msr42day says:

    While not a young student (heck almost 70 y.o.) I want to keep contributing to society on a paid basis. There is a weird theory that once you get to this age, working is either beyond one’s ability, or working free (as a volunteer) is an expected state of being. I came here because I stumbled across a couple of Proposal Coordinator job opportunities, and the announcements list “Certified Technical Communicator” as a requirement. After 50 years in the workforce, having been a journalist, a teacher/education researcher/university lecturer, and Program Manager for DoD, I think I can do most of the job, but I have only shallow knowledge of web techs and only practice examples as proof of knowledge. Would you, as an experienced hand, find this a full-stop disqualifier? Looking forward to your response

    • Bart Leahy says:

      I’m not going to lie: I’m more of a marketing writer than a technical documentation writer. I spend a great deal of time writing and editing proposals, where the technology is explained, but from a “what can it do for you?” perspective. I don’t speak IT very well, and I still manage to find gainful employment. Other things I’ve done that skirt the edge of technology include education and outreach, conference papers, white papers, development documents, and strategic communication.

      The key, I think, is the audience: who are you writing for? I tend to write for audiences who might benefit from the technology (say, government agencies) but aren’t designing, operating or maintaining it. In a pinch, I can write user documentation for non-techies. I am not the guy you hire if you want to write scientist-to-scientist or techies-talking-to-techies stuff.

      So no, I don’t think the inability to speak HTML5, C++, Python, or whatever prevents you from being a technical writer. It really depends on what type of tech writing you want to do. Maybe give this a look for tech writing paths: https://heroictechwriting.com/2012/03/04/alternate-lines-of-work/.

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