A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

Writing>Advice

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1.
#10877

Advice about Technical Writing  (link broken)

Technical writing doesn't always mean 'computers.' Many companies hire technical writers to document policies and procedures for auditors. This means you would actually sit with someone and write down the steps they follow to do a function. Technical writers must be excellent communicators. Verbal and written skills must be of the highest caliber. A technical writer must be methodical, organized, and succinct.

Taylor, Vicki M. Suite101 (2001). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing

2.
#31111

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Be Like an Empty Cup

Technical writing is one of those jobs in which you're constantly learning. New tools, new techniques, new methodologies. No one knows it all. That's especially true for the new technical communicator. If you've graduated from a writing and rhetoric course or a technical writing course, you have a pretty good grounding in craft. But you're really only at the base of the mountain. There's still a lot to learn, and if you keep your eyes and ears and mind open then you can quickly pick up what you need to know.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

3.
#31106

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Hold on to Your Passion

Passion, though, is a funny thing. It's easy to become passionate about something. But the fire of that passion can also be easily dimmed or extinguished, often due to circumstances that are beyond your control. Throughout your career, you'll definitely find your passion waxing and waning. But holding on to that passion and nurturing it will make you a better technical communicator.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

4.
#31105

Advice for the Novice Tech Writer: Think Long-Term

So you've just started out as a technical communicator, or you've been on the job for a year or two. And you've decided that maybe, just maybe, technical communication is the career for you and you're in it for the long haul. Now what? Think about the future and how you want your career to develop.

DMN Communications (2008). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing>Blogs

5.
#37666

Advice to Novice Technical Writers  (link broken)

The broader your exposure to technology and the broader your experience using tools of the trade, the better your chances are at getting hired (and being productive once you get hired.)

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Advice>Technical Writing

6.
#34983

Avoid Demon Adverbs

You can avoid adverbs most of the time by cutting them out -- the reader can do just fine without the extra information.

Barnes, David. Posterous (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice

7.
#38018

Avoiding Burnout as a Technical Writer

One of the problems I’ve had to combat over the years has been boredom/burnout — that feeling you get either when you’ve been on the same project for too long or a you’re on new project that just feels like exactly what you’ve been working on for years. How do you breath life into work that you’ve done many, many times before?

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

8.
#38293

Beat Writer’s Block with a Brain Dump

Ever find yourself unable to write, even though the words are in your head? Then try doing a brain dump to get those words working.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>Writing>Advice

9.
#36143

Beating Writer’s Block

Writer’s block happens to all of us, but it especially happens to writers who don’t have strict deadlines to get their work done; after all, if that article, essay or novel isn’t finished by March 1st like you wanted it to be, who’s holding you accountable?

Osborn, Alice. Alice Osborn (2010). Articles>Writing>Advice

10.
#32664

Break Through Writers Block

Bottom line is there are two types of writers: those who believe in writer’s block and those who don’t. Neither will deny the magic and energy that possesses an author when inspiration rears its mysterious head, but where their approach to writing differs is how the time is spent between those moments of inspiration.

Wordclay (2006). Articles>Writing>Advice

11.
#37988

Career Advice for Technical Writers

For future job seekers: Always be prepared. In today’s day and age a layoff can happen to anyone, no matter how secure you may think your job is. That doesn’t mean you should walk around with a cloud of doom over your head but it does mean you should be aware and somewhat prepared if it does. Keep your resume up-to-date and make note of milestones and accomplishments in your current job.

Loring, Sheila. Carolina Communique (2011). Careers>Advice>Technical Writing

12.
#38123

Collaborative Post: Giving Guidance to a Masters Student about Technical Writing Careers

I received the following email from Anna, a literature PhD candidate who is considering changing career paths from teaching into technical writing.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Careers>Advice>Graduate>Technical Writing

13.
#35086

Creativity in the Workplace

Most people consider writing to be a creative endeavor, and in some situations, it certainly is. But creativity is not just associated with writing, art, and the humanities. Penelope Trunk broadens creativity to include problem solving too.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice>Workplace

14.
#35328

Dear Viv: Switching Careers

I worked as a technical writer many years ago and then quit to take care of my kids. Now I'd like to get back into the field. How do I get my foot in the door when all employers require experience?

Carolina Communique (2009). Careers>Writing>Advice>Technical Writing

15.
#24987

Document Hack (A Technical Writer's Journal): First Day

Rule number one for a contractor is to never panic about what happens your first day. First days are naturally chaotic, and often companies are not fully prepared for you. Because contractors are usually brought in to solve a particular problem, the people are anxious to get you started, but companies, especially large ones, are not geared for quick action.

Hewitt, John. Writer's Resource Center (2004). Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing

16.
#38729

Finish That Tough Writing Task by Breaking It Into Smaller Chunks

We all run into a task like that. It could be anything — a blog post, an article, a chapter. Something that just won’t let you make any headway. And that can be a problem, especially if you’re on a deadline. What’s more frustrating is that sometimes time-honored techniques like freewriting and mind mapping just don’t help. What can help, though, is breaking your writing task into smaller chunks.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Writing>Advice

17.
#36813

Five Tools to Improve Your Writing Process

Make it easier to write. I like to think of this as making your writing process usable for you. The more usable your writing process is, the more you’ll do it. So what tools can make your writing process easier?

Feedback Army (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice

18.
#37411

Five Ways to Supercharge Your Technical Writing Career

Technical writing is known for high salaries, plenty of technical challenges, and the need to constantly adapt. Here are five ways to rise through the ranks and find success in the industry.

Haiss, Craig. HelpScribe (2010). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>Advice

19.
#35745

Flow to Done: Tap Into Your Creative Source

What is flow? It’s kind of like a river of writing, it’s an uninterrupted stream of consciousness directly from the source of your creativity through your brain, into your nervous system, out your hands, into your computer. I like to think of it as zen writing meditation. There is some important prep work that needs to be done before you’re ready for some serious writing flow time.

Bogue, Everett. Write to Done (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice>Workflow

20.
#35786

Four Keys to Writing Quickly

Writing quickly is a skill that you should definitely cultivate. This blog post looks at four techniques that you can use when you need to write quickly.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice>Workflow

21.
#38733

Four Questions That Can Help Focus Your Writing

In early 2012, I had a very interesting chat with another writer. He got in touch because wanted to pick my brain and talk shop. I wasn’t sure what information I could impart, but luckily whenever I’m in a situation like that I have four questions that help focus the conversation. And, by extension, they can help any writer focus his or her career.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2012). Articles>Writing>Advice

22.
#14138

Getting Started in Technical Writing  (link broken)

This summary provides a collection of tips and advice for getting started in the technical writing profession. The following categories are included in this summary: Finding and Getting That First Job; Types of Technical Writing; Types of Technical Writers; Degrees and Technical Writing; Transferring to Technical Writing from Other Professions: From Journalism; From Teaching; From Academia; From Marketing; From Law; Essential Skills; On Being a Technical Writer.

TECHWR-L. Careers>Advice>Writing>Technical Writing

23.
#37597

A Graduate's Story

In late July 2009, I was accepted into the program. The class of 12 students began on a Saturday in late August with a day-long orientation facilitated by STC Member Greg Eller. We heard from several other technical writers sharing their experiences and job opportunities in the field.

Kornegay, Tim. Carolina Communique (2010). Academic>Advice>Technical Writing

24.
#36814

How to Keep Blogging: Motivation Tips from Top Writers

In this post I’ll share interesting tips and ideas for keeping consistent. Some may work for you, some may not.

Feedback Army (2010). Articles>Writing>Advice

25.
#35746

How to Stop Digital Fiddling and Start Writing

Are you prone to digital fiddling? I am. In fact, I’ve increased my skills of digital fiddling so much that I hardly notice that I’m putting off writing. There are three actions you need to take.

Jaksch, Mary. Write to Done (2009). Articles>Writing>Advice>Workflow

 
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