I write every day—for this blog, for my day job, to help a friend with a letter. In my professional career I’ve always held positions that not only required writing proficiency, but excellence.
I’ve been paid to “write stuff”—everything from campaign speeches to marketing collateral to strategic messaging.
The information age makes reading and writing proficiency paramount. And with technology and social media everyone can be a writer, photographer and an expert source of content.
The various forms of self-publishing make for overwhelming amounts of information and dilute journalistic integrity. But being able to put your content out there and acquire followers is very freaking cool.
I have a college degree in communications, but you don’t necessarily have to be a formally-educated person to write well. For at least half of my career, I’ve been paid as a professional to write stuff for other people. None of it is creative in the sense of a fiction novelist, but it takes focused energy and logic to work through a complicated explanation of a piece of technology as described by an engineer.
What I love about writing, especially technical writing is the problem solving and translation of complicated information into easily digestible sentences. Each sentence builds on to the next one, adding greater depth to the information presented. Then it crescendos into an “ah-ha” section, followed by a conclusion and it’s finished in a tidy bow. In that sense, writing is solving problems not dealing with them.
In the last 7-10 years I’ve always had to produce written communications, but my day job has been much more than just writing; it included business management, HR, operations and finance. Right now I’m in a transition in my professional career and about to take a hard left turn, starting next week, and the writing part of my career is going further down the shelf.
Before turning the corner, I signed up for a couple of short-engagement tech writing projects for former colleagues. I’ve been out of the tech game for 6-7 years. But today I was validated professionally as someone with tech writer chops. I know it sounds like a very nerdy thing to brag about, but sometimes it’s nice to know you still got it.