Let’s start with the basics. The most common question I receive is: “Can I submit content to your blog?”
The short answer is no.
The longer, more polite answer, which I’ve given several dozen times, is that Heroic Technical Writing has been a one-man show from the beginning. It was created to share my thoughts about the business and personal aspects of technical writing careers. If you would like to share your thoughts or write about something else, I strongly suggest that you start your own blog, share what you know, and build your own audience.
Who am I and why should you read my stuff?
Hi! I’m Bart Leahy.
I’ve been a freelance technical writer for ten years. My specialty is absorbing a lot of data and organizing the most important points into content that is useful for the customer or their customers. I try to learn my client’s business in depth so I can understand them the way they understand themselves. Most often I help large technical organizations communicate their message clearly across multiple products, from marketing to proposals to correspondence.
My customers have included The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, small and large aerospace businesses, nonprofits, and the Science Cheerleaders. I’ve got a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a Master’s Degree in Technical Writing.
My diverse background enables me to write for multiple audiences about a wide range of subject matters. It’s been a weird way to make a living, but it means I have a lot of useful experience to share.
Who’s the audience for this site?
If you are a student or young professional pursuing (or aspiring to) a career in technical communication in the United States, congratulations, you are the target audience for Heroic Technical Writing. (That said, I have quite a few followers outside the States as well.) My goal is to share some professional insights you might not necessarily learn in an academic classroom. This is not a reflection on your professors, just a fact of life.
My secondary audience members are current technical communication professionals. Your opinions on how work should be done might differ, and I’m cool with that. My advice/insights are born out of my diverse career.
What kind of stuff do I write?
This page lists some of my most popular or useful blog entries. Other useful content might come up, but the linked page covers the basics of this site:
- Thinking about technical writing (organizing information)
- Tactical questions (specific activities/skills)
- Job hunting/how to get a tech writing job at NASA (now its own tab)
- All the things they don’t teach you in college (business travel tips, office politics, etc.)
Some of this is serious, some of it is written in an effort to be amusing.
Things you will not find on this site
Like I said, my day jobs have included work for NASA, Nissan, Zero Point Frontiers, and the Science Cheerleaders. I will not be sharing a lot of “inside baseball” talk about my actual subject matters, such as aerospace or cheerleader operations. I will talk about how I do my work, not the work itself, which is proprietary.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for “the inside scoop” about the latest rocket launch or what cheerleaders do in their free time, you most likely won’t find that information here. If you are interested in such things, however, you are welcome to view my work at SpaceflightInsider.com or ScienceCheerleader.com.
Am I trying to sell you something with this site?
Yes! I have a book that consolidates my most important/useful posts into one handy reference. It’s available via Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. If you buy the paper version from my site (as opposed to Amazon), I’ll even autograph said book for you.
If you want to hire me as a guest speaker for a high school or university classroom, that’s free. (I do not speak to groups younger than 9th grade, sorry.)
If you have the crazy urge to hire me as a speaker for a professional audience, that will cost you. My fee is negotiable.
If you are interested in hiring me to do actual aerospace technical writing, please refer to this page for samples of my space-related writing, or my Publications page for links to my other writing. I can be reached via email: bart[at]heroictechwriting.com.
What’s with the “Heroic” thing, anyway?
My primary bill-paying skill set is proposal writing. In that role, I want to write prose that helps good ideas win the day and help make the world a better place. I also believe technical writers can and should see themselves as heroic individuals who can make a difference in the world. See also this entry for more on the subject.
Can I ask you a specific question about technical writing or the tech writing life?
Certainly. However, I am likely to turn my answer into a blog post. If your question is personal or sensitive, as a courtesy, I will change your name and details when I write the blog entry. You can email me at bart[at]heroictechwriting.com.
How do I contact you?
There’s a handy Contact tab on this site.Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2023 Bart Leahy
I love your blog, you should add instructions for the RSS feed feature so I can get automatic notifications of new blogs. If you can help me set it up please email me! Ii will bookmark you for now. Again Excellent Blog!
I enjoyed your blog. It’s easy to read, the content is good, and your an educated writer unlike most of the blogs I come across when searching on this topic. I will check back in the future and see if you have anymore articles. Thanks for posting this, I appreciate the infomration and the effort you put into your site.
Thanks very much for your answers to my questions. All of your points are being well considered as I forge ahead in tech communications. I’ll look forward as well to following your blog. Best wishes.
I really enjoy the way you write. I appreciate your turning me on to sciencecheerleader.com.
This is actually a question. Am working on a software project (I’m the tech writer). The stand-alone application is soon to be a total solution — with three add-on software modules. A customer might purchase the “original” and then one of the add-ons, or they might purchase the “original” and then two of the add-ons. The question is how to develop the docs. One of the product managers is pushing this idea (not a good one). Have the original doc, then the original doc and info for the first add-on, then the original doc and info the the first and the second add-on, etc. (you get the idea). A bad idea. Lots of duplication of information. I’m at a Friday/hard week burnout. Thoughts would be appreciated. Thanx!
Thanks for the message. Patty! I’ll respond via a separate blog posting. See http://heroictechwriting.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/reader-question-document-design/
Build and iBook and cover everything and let the customer read what they need to correspond to what they need when they need it. That’s the way I use the iPhone User Guide for iOS 11.4!!
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Having had the opportunity to produce some technical documentation in my past as a consultant, I will say that it is not an easy task at all. Understanding what you are trying to document is nearly impossible if the software developers don’t have time to properly introduce you to the software they are working on building! Documenting my own life would be a monstrosity to attempt, how about you? Would it be a spellbinder that no one could put down?
Think about it and feel free to add your 2 cents!!