No matter what type of writer you are and no matter what company you work for, it’s a risky and, often, scary business. You may not know from one day to the next if you’re going to get a new project or assignment.
And other days, you may not know how you’re going to finish your work.
When you look at other writers (and you know you do), it might seem frightening to see them take risks or do something a little outrageous. And, to be honest, these actions are frightening mainly because you’ve begun to question if you should take them too.
Should you take risks as a writer?
Even if you’re fairly confident in your ability to string together a coherent sentence, it never hurts to brush up on your writing skills. The deeper you move into your writing career, the more you will see other writers doing things you haven’t done – or even thought of doing.
Maybe you just need a refresher course on how to think and how to express your (or the client’s) thoughts.
To choose the right course, think about:
Do all professional writers have a blog today? Do all professional writers NEED to have a blog today?
It seems that just yesterday, online writers were told to get into social media and to get into blogging. Then blogging sort of tapered off once EVERYONE was doing it. Still, it’s quite clear that the biggest voices across most industries are still blogging.
If you don’t join in, are you going to miss out?
Here’s what you should consider before you start blogging:
As in years past, Writing Assistance, Inc. (WAI) will be exhibiting at both the STC 2013 Summit in Atlanta and the ASTD International Conference and Exposition in Dallas in May.
STC 2013, Celebrating STC’s 60th Anniversary, runs May 5th through 8th, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, GA.
You can find us in the exhibition hall at booth 201. We’ll be there during the expo portion of the summit, which runs from May 5th through May 7th.
STC Summit 2013 Website
We also welcome you to stop by and say hello at the ASTD International Conference and Exposition, which takes place at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, from May 19th-22nd, 2013.
The ASTD Expo takes place on the same days as the conference, and we’ll be there all four days, from the 19th through the 22nd. Visit us in booth 322.
ASTD Conference and Exposition Website
We hope to see you at one or both of these great events!
With conference season in full swing, and especially with STC’s Technical Communications Summit ’13 coming up early next month in Atlanta, it seemed like a good time to offer some tips on justifying conference attendance.
In times of tight budgets it can be very challenging to get the boss to spring for you or others in your group to attend a professional conference. But the experience itself, the opportunity to chat with peers person-to-person, and the various learning benefits provided by a well-run conference can make it a worthwhile expense.
Mike Doyle provides timeless advice in his article, How To Justify Conference Attendance. Since it was first published, Mike’s article continues to be one of the most popular on our site.
Read the article and then leave a comment here. Can you provide additional insight on how to convince those who control the purse strings that conference attendance is vital to improving your skills or those of your group? How did you get the okay, and what were some of the objection you had to overcome?
(If you’re getting paid to write, you may want to take this blog post with a grain of salt. You need to do what your client tells you to do. But if you think another approach would be better, it can’t hurt to speak up and let the client know.)
If you’ve ever tried to do something just for the sake of getting good feedback, you know that’s not the best decision. Even if you think you’re doing something that an audience will like, if YOU are trying to be liked, then you need to stop for a minute to reevaluate your goals.
Whether you’ve been given an assignment, or you’re just writing something to share information, you can’t say it all in one piece. There are some who might try to talk about every single thing that’s important about a topic, only to find their readers are less than willing to spend hours reading an article.
There is a way to streamline this writing process – and fine tune the result: say one big thing.
In the task of writing, one thing is clear: you have to know your reader. Even with the research you do and the length of time you’ve spent with an audience, it can be tempting to speak down to the reader.
Not only are you going to lose your audience because of your desire to assume the reader knows nothing, but you’ll also lose credibility with the readers who supported you from the start.
While it’s true that you need to ensure your facts are clear and your information is detailed, your reader isn’t stupid. They can see when you’re unsure about a topic and you misrepresent details.
Great technical writers take things one step further than good technical writers. They create documentation that lets users find answers right away, maybe even to questions they hadn’t considered. They find solutions that create a groundbreaking user experience of documentation. They can often be quirky people but they excel when given the latitude to do so; and your product will be improved as a result.
But how can you truly separate the great from the good technical writers? That’s the issue Jacquie Samuels addresses as she suggests 10 qualities you should look for when hiring a technical writer, in her article, Separating Great from Good: How to Hire the Right Technical Writer for the Job.
Read the article and then leave a comment here. Are there additional traits you look for in choosing the right technical writer for the job? Do you disagree with any she lists?
Going door to door is a much more effective way of selling than the written word – or at least it would seem that way. If you’re talking directly to a customer, you can see what they respond to, what they don’t respond to, and you can, well, get in their face about what you have to say.
Making your sales writing effective
Here’s what you need to do with your writing to make it a personal ‘call’ to the audience:
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