Recipes and Templates in Technical Writing

While I’ve stated before that I love writing the first draft of a document, that does not mean I always start with a clean sheet of paper. Often I will start with a template of some sort–and there are templates for nearly any document you can imagine on the internet these days. Much like a cooking recipe, a template is a good place to start before you try getting creative. Continue reading

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The Upsides of Being a Workaholic

Having lived the workaholic’s life for the better part of 20 years, my work habits die hard. And while I’ve taken my fellow workaholics to task (here and here, among other places) for loving too much of a good thing, I’m hardly one to talk. So for those of you who, like me, cannot quite shake the habit of living to work, I will give you a break today and suggest some possible upsides for an unhealthy affection for your profession. Continue reading

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Terminating a Relationship with a Client

This is not an easy or comfortable subject. Freelancers are always hustling to bring in customers and keep them. We don’t like to think about the end of a business relationship, but the reality is that it happens. Sometimes they fire you (I’ve had that happen). Sometimes they just stop returning your emails or phone calls (I’ve had that happen, too). Sometimes, however, it’s up to you to pull the plug on the arrangement. How do you do that? Here are some thoughts for your consideration.  Continue reading

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Freelancing: A Great Life or Not?

I’ve been a freelance technical writer since the start of 2014. I’ve learned quite a few things about the profession and myself in the last 4.5 years. Today I thought I’d share a few more of those insights (you can find other comments here and here). They might or might not help you with your decision to pursue a similar career choice. Continue reading

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Delegation vs. Laziness

While I’m rather forgiving of customer requests, I’m less patient with coworkers who attempt to delegate their tasks to me. I have even pushed back with managers, though this is not always a great idea because delegating tasks is in their job description. The reason why I’ve pushed back against coworker handoffs is that I’ve had my own work to do, and it’s not always welcome for them to add to my plate. Do you try to delegate to peers? Most of the time you shouldn’t, and I’ll explain why. Continue reading

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Tracking Income as a Freelancer

I’ve talked about how feast and famine cycles can make the freelancer’s life challenging. Yet you can use those cycles to your advantage. An important thing you can do as you’re monitoring your freelance environment is determine when the busy and quiet times are likely to occur to help you plan your budget and work/home life accordingly. Continue reading

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Positive Self-Talk in the Workplace

Among the science fiction, history, and philosophy stuff on my shelves, there are also a lot of self-improvement books. One thing several of these books state is that your brain operates based on whatever input you give it. It’s a neutral processing machine, to some extent, in that if you feed it positive thoughts, it will operate under those inputs as operating assumptions; likewise with negative thoughts. At the risk of being Pollyanna-ish or wearing what the lady friend calls my rose-colored bifocals, I will share some of the positive self-talk I use on the job on those days when things aren’t going very well. Continue reading

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