A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Review: A Review of Microstyle

We live in a world that, in many ways, has become shorter. Shorter messages. Shorter interactions. Shorter attention spans. And the popularity of services like Twitter encourage brevity, for better or for worse. As a writer of any stripe, you need to adapt to this change. And that’s idea underlying the book Microstyle by Christopher Johnson. The book is packed with solid advice on how to write compactly while still passing along useful information.

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


Review: A Review of Writing for the Web

These days, we can’t escape writing for the online world. Whether you contribute to web-based publications, run your own blog, or are a freelancer or full-time employee doing corporate work, writing for the web has become an essential skill. While online writing shares a number of similarities with writing for print, it also has more than a few nuances that you need to learn. That’s where Writing for the Web by Lynda Felder comes in. It’s easily one of the best books that I’ve read on the subject. Writing for the Web is a thin book, weighing in at 181 pages. But those pages pack a lot of practical information. Whether you’re new to writing online or someone with more than just a little experience, you’ll learn something from this book.

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


Adding Dropbox to Your Writer’s Toolkit

Dropbox isn't just useful for backing up files. It’s also an excellent way of synchronizing files across the various devices like laptops, my smartphone, and my media player. Here’s a look at how one person uses Dropbox when writing.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing>Tools>Online


Applying Limits to Your Writing

ometimes, your writing can get out of hand. Maybe you’re bedeviled by deadlines and can’t get going. Or maybe you’re writing something, like an article or an essay or a short story or a book, and you just can’t stop writing. It just goes on and on and on. I think we’ve all been in one of those situations at some time or another. There are any number of ways around those problems. One solution that I’ve found to be particularly effective is to apply limits to your writing. What do I mean by applying limits? Deliberately imposing constraints on what you’re writing. Those limits can take any number of forms. I usually apply three limits to my writing. Interested in find out more? Then read on.

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


Choosing a Blogging Platform

Are you thinking of jumping into the world of blogging? Well, you need a place in which to do it. This post looks at four blogging platforms that you can use to launch your blogging efforts.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Blogging>Software


The Cloud and Writers

Even if you don’t know what the cloud is or fully understand it, the very existence and continued growth of cloud computing has some implications for writers.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing>Online>Cloud Computing


Conversation, Cadence, and Writing

Writing in a more conversational tone is a worthwhile goal. If you do it properly, you can draw readers in and make them more comfortable. The keys are to write as you'd speak, and to keep the flow and cadence smooth.

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


Creativity and the Writer

No matter what you write, chances are some creativity is involved. The kind of creativity that you bring into play might not be same as, say, exploring fancies in visual design or writing a short story. But creativity is creativity, no matter how you slice it. But how can you unlock your creativity when tackling a writing project? This post offers four effective techniques.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing


Essentials for the Mobile Writer

For the freelance writer on the go, there are some items that are essential for what they're doing. This post looks at the gear that one writer uses when working away from the home office.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Careers>Freelance>Telecommuting>Writing


Exporting Your Writing from Google Docs

A short article that discusses how to use the bulk export feature of Google Docs to back your work up to your computer.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Technology>Online>Word Processing


A Few Essentials for the Freelancer

A lot of cliches apply to freelancers — wearing many hats, fingers in many pies, juggling multiple tasks. In order to do everything that you need to do, you need the right tools. Aside from the usual suspects — productivity and publishing software, Web sites, and blogs — there are a number of essential tools that all freelancers should have at their disposal.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Careers>Freelance>Software>Writing


A Few Thoughts About Writing Online

These days, you can’t escape it. Whether you’re writing for the web edition of a publication or posting your own thoughts to a blog, putting your words online is a must for most writers. But I’ve noticed that the way in which some writers approach putting their words on the web can differ greatly. Some just do it. Others obsess about certain aspects of writing online that aren’t that important. With this post, I’m tossing a few of my ideas about this subject into the winds of the internet. Those ideas might find fertile soil and take root or they might just blow away and never be seen again.

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


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


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


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


How Long or How Short?

Word count. It’s something that all writers have to deal with. Sometimes, word count is very cut and dry. You’re given a fixed number of words to write and you have to stick to that number. At other times, you have a bit more flexibility.

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


How much detail is enough?

How much detail is enough? Asking that question is like asking "how long is a piece of string?" The simple answer is just enough. The actual answer is a lot more complicated than that. How much detail you should include in what you’re writing depends on how those details fit into what you're writing, your audience, the word count you have, and the medium for which you're writing.

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


Introduction to JavaHelp   (PDF)

An introduction to using Sun's JavaHelp system for creating online Help.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2004). Articles>Documentation>Help


Listening: An Essential Skill for the Freelancer

How often do you really, truly listen to what a client has to say? Probably not often enough. This post looks at why you should.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Freelance>Collaboration


Making Time to Write What You Want to Write

Is it hard for you to find the time to write the things that you want to write? This article looks at some changes that you can make to your life in order to free up that time.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Advice>Time Management


Moving to DocBook   (PDF)

DocBook is a powerful tool for creating and maintaining documentation. However, there are a number of factors you should consider before you move your documentation to DocBook. This article discusses reasons for and against making the switch to DocBook.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2002). Articles>Documentation>Standards>DocBook


My Journey to Writing With a Wiki

Wikis aren’t just tools for techies. They're also also for writers. In this article, one writer describes how he uses a wiki for his work.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing>Technology>Wikis


On Getting Your Hands Dirty

You’ve probably heard the old maxim write what you know. But when it comes to writing about what you don’t know, research will only get you so far. There are times when you have to dive in. When you have to get your hands dirty. You have to write what you experience.

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


Organization Through Simplification (Sort of)

To keep organized, you don't need a complex system. In fact, as this blog post suggests, managing time and tasks is best done using a simple system.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing>Time Management>Planning


The Power of an Hour

Sixty minutes isn't a lot of time. But if you use those 60 minutes wisely, you can get a lot of writing done.

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



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