20 Productivity Tips For Home-based Technical Writers

Most of my tech writing work is done from home. I’ve worked from my home office for almost eight years. Some tech writing contracts are on-site, but mostly, I work in my home office. Actually, for the past 19 months, this means working in my ‘bedroom’. More on this later. I’m married, with a little nipper, and friends are always popping over for a chat. Did I mention that I’m also working from China?

How to Move Out of Technical Writing & into Higher Paid Jobs

How do I start a career in technical writing? How do I get out of technical writing? I get asked these two questions most every week. If your career in technical writing is stalling – or you just want a fresh start – then here’s some alternative career paths. Many Technical Writers have had their […]

11 Adobe Distiller Tips For Technical Writers

Most Technical Writers use Adobe PDFs to create technical guides, reports and other business documents. And while there are many free PDF converters out there, Adobe Distiller has some great features that give you greater control of your documents, such as making the PDFs download faster, password protection, embedding thumbnails and font control.

How Stephen King Can Make You a Better Technical Writer

Scott says, “If you want to improve as a writer, you not only need to write. You need to read. Writing and reading are two sides of the same coin. You need to do both to achieve your potential.” I head downtown most weekends and buy 2 or 3 books, mostly business, history and some fiction. Every so often I run out of options (we’re in Beijing) and get something I usually wouldn’t buy, for example, Iain M Banks. Reading outside my comfort zone stretches me. I encounter writing styles, opinions, and information that I usually side-step.

12 Steps To Getting Started as a Technical Writer

Most people think it’s difficult start a career as a technical writer. I used to think the same in my early 20s when I started in IT. In retrospect, I should have made more efforts to establish myself as a consultant earlier; the benefits certainly outweigh the downsides. As luck would have it, I was […]

Who Makes The Most Money – Technical Writers with Strong Language or Technical Skills?

Kai raised an interesting point about which skill (writing/technical) takes longer to master. Knowing how to structure and present information to users? Or knowing how to use a product or application? That got me thinking. If you want to make money as a technical writer, which area should you focus on? Sharpen your writing skills or deepen your technical knowledge, for example, learning how to document an API?

What Macaulay Culkin Can Teach You About Technical Writing

Larry says that last week another technical writer asserted that DITA has “jumped the shark.” “It’s not a new idea. I’ve heard other people say that DITA has already seen its best days, that it’s struggling to remain relevant in a world that’s passed it by. I was amused, I admit, because it was the first time I’d seen DITA compared to a TV show.”

[How To] Find a Technical Writing Niche

Tom Peters says, “the value of services will continue to fall” and that the only way to survive is to differentiate yourself from the competition. Is this true? How do you as a technical writer make yourself stand out from the crowd? If you don’t, what impact could this have on your career? How to […]

How Technical Writers Can Move Further Up The Food Chain

Do you feel loved? Many technical writers feel unloved. They feel they don’t get the respect they deserve. I hear this on LinkedIn and Facebook: “people don’t respect the work I do.” Well, if that’s the case, here are a few ways to get more respect and move into a more rewarding career.

5 UK Technical Writers You Should Follow on Twitter

From Shakespeare, Graham Greene, JK Rowling to Colum McAndrew, Ellis Pratt, David Farbey. All have all one thing in common – great writing! As my career started in the Baker Street, London in the 90s, I’ve always carried fond memories of my time in England. Here are some UK based technical writers you might want to add to your Twitter list. By the way, do you notice any difference between UK and US tech writer blogs?