Weird things I saw when I was a contract technical writer

I’ve been out of full-time contracting for almost two years and recently thought back to some of the stranger things I saw during the contract technical writer chapter of my life: A fellow contractor was posting nude pictures of his wife on Usenet from his client account. He was busted and walked offsite by armed… Continue reading Weird things I saw when I was a contract technical writer

Reflections on my technical writing career

I was once asked in a job interview: “Why do I stay a technical writer when it must be such a dull and boring profession?”  After the meeting when I was peeling rubber out of the parking lot, I took a few moments when I was decelerating to think about some of the more interesting… Continue reading Reflections on my technical writing career

Does it take a community to document a technical issue?

The technical writer profession takes it on the chin sometimes. So much so, community-based technical documentation – user forums, wikis, blogs, and other social media – is becoming a go-to source for technical documentation and training. On how to perform technical tasks and thus to open another front for criticism on the traditional role of… Continue reading Does it take a community to document a technical issue?

An alternative perspective about taking meeting minutes

I was talking to a recruiter once who asked me how I felt about taking meeting minutes. The first thing I said was “I think meeting minutes are overrated because I’ve rarely if ever seen them consulted again by meeting participants. When is the last time you consulted meeting minutes after a meeting was over?”… Continue reading An alternative perspective about taking meeting minutes

Simple guidelines for running technical document reviews remotely

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: