Technical Writing: The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started (Technical Writing)
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Technical Writing: The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started (Technical Writing)

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A presentation for aspiring technical writers, originally given at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

A presentation for aspiring technical writers, originally given at Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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  • Today’s presentation is titled, “The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started Technical Writing”.Originally this was a much more balanced presentation. I had four things. But Charles’ insistence that I keep to the time limit meant I had to cut off one of my things.The fourth thing was, “The importance of short titles.”
  • Let’s not spend the time covering ME. Background available on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mojoneillConnect with Michael on Twitter at @mojoneill: https://twitter.com/mojoneillPlease connect!
  • There was no accessible college program for technical writing.I was an undergraduate English major, interesting in all things tech.Studied creative writing and English lit.Started by writing the manuals for projects for friends (and associates of friends) who were already employed as engineers.Eventually recruited by out of graduate school by a group in Compaq from the old Digital Equipment Artificial Intelligence labs…If you want to start in technical writing, do it. Pull your own wagon.
  • Most technical writers I know do something different than what I do.Most of the technical writers they know do something different than what they do too.Don’t be confused by the wide diversity of job descriptions…Don’t be dissuaded by unrealistic job requirements…
  • Writing puts your ego on the line, and it's an awful feeling to have a bad day at work translate into a bad sense of self.Foster professional validation outside the confines of the office:Blog Freelance writingDonate servicesLook around…opportunity is everywhere…We live in a unique time in human history: We’re surrounded by writingYou don’t have to be a monk to learn how to writeThere’s more people who know how to read than ever beforeCorollary: Always Be Working for You.
  • Technical writing is about the learning as much as (or more) than it is about stringing subject and very together.Bad model: Interview a SME so I know what to write. (Never really understand. Just do what someone else says.)Good model: Interview a SME so I can understand the thing. Understand the thing so that I can know what to write.
  • Continue the conversation on Twitter, find me on LinkedIn, or reach out via email.

Technical Writing: The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started (Technical Writing) Technical Writing: The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started (Technical Writing) Presentation Transcript

  • The Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started… MICHAEL O’NEILL, TECHNICAL WRITER
  • About Michael Michael O’Neill – Technical Writer Geonetric, Inc. Michael O'Neill is a certified scrum master and technical writer who works with agile software development teams to produce innovative help systems, capture product knowledge and promote solutions in the market. An active blogger and contributing writer for technology trade publications, Michael currently works full time with Geonetric, a Cedar Rapids based company that provides software and marketing services to hospitals and health systems. Michael comes to the area from New England, where he worked as a university professor and technical writer for HewlettPackard and Compaq. Michael is also a Twitter fiend– follow him at @mojoneill
  • Disclaimer • The views and opinions expressed here are my own and not those of Geonetric.
  • What is Geonetric? • Geonetric is my employer. • Geonetric is a healthcare marketing agency and software developer providing online marketing strategy, campaigns and content management systems for hospitals, physician practices and healthcare organizations.
  • How I Got Started
  • How I Got Started
  • The First Thing
  • Technical Writing is NOT One Thing
  • The Second Thing
  • Never Let Your 9-5 Be The Sole Source of Your Professional Validation
  • The Third Thing
  • It’s About The Learning…
  • @mojoneill