Soft Skills: Reading Between the Lines

“Reading between the lines” sounds like a straightforward skill, but if you grew up with a very literal brain, as I did, it sometimes takes years before you get this skill working for you. I’ll take a shot at explaining what I mean today because it’s been on my mind lately. As a fair warning, I should say that this ability is, for me, very much a work in progress. Continue reading

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Interview Questions: Caroline G, University of Limerick Student

A while back, I got a request from a student at the University of Limerick (Ireland) who wanted to interview me for her class. The magic of Zoom allowed this to happen. We were constrained by a time limit, so I thought I’d answer all of the questions she sent me even if we discussed only a few of them during our conversation. (Apologies, this one’s a bit long. If you’re in a rush, the answers in the first section are probably the most useful.)

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Contracting Realities

I do my best to share the less-than-ideal side of freelancing on this blog so you aren’t caught off guard when unfortunate things happen. This past month, I learned that one of my customers would not be renewing their contract. While this situation won’t break the bank, it will force me to make adjustments. Continue reading

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Making Things Special: The Art of Technical Communication

My current research for the arts-and-recreation-on-Mars book is titled What Is Art For? by Ellen Dissanayake, an ethologist, who has written several books on the survival value of creating art. One of her central points is that humans have a tendency to make things special as a way to call attention to them. This resonated with me a bit, so I thought I’d explore the idea in the context of my book and doing tech writing work. Continue reading

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Are You a Luxury or a Necessity?

This question came up in the process of writing the work-in-progress book, tentatively titled, An English Major on Mars. I’ve encountered this issue while writing the book and during some of my job hunts. A lot of it, as my friend Stuart put it, depends on how you think of yourself. Continue reading

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