Going Offline for Vacation

How “offline” are you on vacation? The last time I took a serious vacation without a smart phone was 2009–three weeks in Western Europe. Even so, I checked in with my email once a week. Some folks considered that too often, some not nearly enough. As a result, I suspect that this post will meet with mixed reactions, from being seen as terribly naive to overly stuffy. Either or both are possible. Still, for my last blog posting before I head out on vacation next week, I am making a plea today that you take the time to live in the moment and turn off your smart phone–or at least your social media accounts. Continue reading

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Pet Peeves, Revisited – Hyphens

Does every editor have pet peeves? Probably. Every full-time editor I’ve worked with eventually asked me to stop doing X at some point, and I guess I’m no different. I’m just sharing my feedback via blog. I WANT people to get better at their writing so that I might better appreciate the reading experience. That’s my story, anyhow, and I’m sticking to it. Today, rather gripe about the misuse of the apostrophe, I thought I’d take some time to address another piece of punctuation that gets abused, misplaced, or forgotten: the hyphen. I’m here to help, really! Continue reading

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Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit Part 2

This is a follow-up riff to last week’s post about how the tech writer’s perspective on an industry changes depending on which company they work for. Today I’ll bring that down to a more local level. It is also true that your perspective on a specific company, agency, or other organization can change based on  the department where you work. Continue reading

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Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit

I’ll start by giving credit where credit is due: today’s topic and title are credited to my writing buddy Martin at Marshall Space Flight Center. This was the result of a discussion we were having about how the space industry was functioning and changing. It’s instructive because it can help the aspiring technical writer from (perhaps) not getting too invested in the attitudes of one’s clients. Continue reading

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Thinking and Working Like a Pro

At the suggestion of my buddy Stuart, I’ve started reading several books by Steven Pressfield. The one I just finished yesterday is titled The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. The point of reading such books is to motivate myself to get back to writing creatively. One chapter in The War of Art reminded me about the need to think and act like a professional in my creative work. It’s hard to admit, but I have not done done this, though I learned to do in my day job. Today I’ll talk about thinking and working like a pro. Continue reading

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