As 2018 comes to a close, I’ve begun to start thinking about some content goals for the next year. My intent has always been to have the right mix of personal and professional writing projects to keep me busy. While my day job has been quite demanding the past few months, my freelance writing projects not so much, I’ve been looking forward so I can kick off writing in 2019 on a positive foot.
Here are a few of my content development goals for 2019:
When I was in college, I took an on-campus job in my college’s computer lab that I still consider to this day to be a very formative experience. The director of the computer lab helped me discover the technology chops that I still carry me to this day. He had a penchant for scouting student employees from non-technical and liberal arts areas of study like English, Education, and Psychology. He is one of the only people in my academic and professional past I call a mentor. When I found a home working with technology, I gave up my goal of becoming a journalist for becoming a technical writer. College was tough because of my dyslexia, but my job in the computer lab charted a new course for me that I am still following today.
With some clear expectations and a little planning upfront, running remote writing and document review projects can go smoothly. Here are some lessons I learned when I was a freelancer about running remote writing and editing projects:
Working as a contract technical writer like I did earlier in my career can teach a lot of life lessons and illuminate a lot of truths into human nature. I’ve seen a lot working with commercial, Federal, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations.
I’ve long been a student of technical document reviews. So much so, I worked as a technical reviewer for some computer book publishers to learn more about this critical element of the technical communications. Back then I thought I could do a better job than the reviewers where I was working at the time). Editorial and technical reviews are integral parts of the technical publications process. Unfortunately, so many organizations fumble through the review cycle.
Every job hunt and even unsolicited discussions with recruiters during the past few years brought me more tales of organizations continuing to have issues producing and maintaining technical documentation. It is not isolated in one sector, and I keep hearing the same problems repeatedly. This has been a real disappointment for me over the years I was a contract technical writer and now that I have a staff technical writer job.
Developing technical documentation isn’t fun. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be such an afterthought. Things aren’t made any easier with a technical writing profession that is fragmented on the actual role of the technical writer.
Here are some ways organizations sabotage their technical documentation:
So much is written about the part-time writer or freelancer being the one who complicates part-time working arrangements – they do this, they do that, part-time freelancing during your off hours is going to melt your brain and turn you into a hermit and so forth. These articles only tell half the story and actually do a disservice to writers and potential clients.