Why another Blog about Writing

I recognize that there are a lot of blogs out there dealing with writing, and I hope this one will not just add to the clutter. There seem to be two kinds of writing blogs:

1. How to write “literature,” as in novels, poetry, plays, and films.

2. How to become a professional technical writer.

What I plan to do here is to focus on a different audience: people who are not professional writers but whose jobs require them to produce good-quality technical or business writing. Most professional jobs require some writing, whether it’s a report to your supervisor, a letter to a colleague or customer, or documentation when the company needs it but is too cheap to hire a writer. My blog will not be about how to become a professional writer or editor but instead will give helpful instructions and tips for those who have been forced against their will into becoming at least part-time writers.

So, who am I to give advice or instruction about writing? Here are some of my qualifications:

I have a master’s degree in English, with an emphasis in rhetoric, from Brigham Young University. During my undergraduate studies, I worked as an instructor and tutor in BYU’s reading/writing center. My supervisor recommended me as a tutor for graduate students in the Communications Department, which I did through my senior year. (Needless to say, the Communications grad students weren’t happy to be taking advice from an undergrad English major.)

During graduate school, I taught composition and technical writing to undergraduate students, I took a course in software documentation for which I produced a manual for a university-authored networked-computer application.

After my first year, when I received an award as the outstanding first-year student in our department, I did a paid internship as an editor at the largest corporation in the state of Utah. After a year managing a team of technical writers at a software company, I was hired by the corporation where I had done my internship as a full-time editor. Since that time, I have spent more than twenty years as a technical writer and editor in industries ranging from computer software, academic publishing, and the oil and gas industry. I have been asked by my employers on many occasions to present seminars, lectures, and formal course on effective writing. I am also a member of the Society for Technical Communication, and I have given lectures and seminars for the society and served as a judge for technical writing competitions.

In my spare time, I’ve written peer-reviewed articles for scholarly and technical journals and have published an award-winning memoir, Heaven Up Here. I do freelance technical writing and editing on request, but my intent here is to help people learn to communicate more effectively through writing. ┬áIf you have any requests for topics, please leave a comment, and I’ll try to put together something useful.

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