Re: How did you get started in tech writing?

Subject: Re: How did you get started in tech writing?
From: Laura Praderio Lynn <lpraderio -at- alpineclimbs -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 08:51:12 -0600

about 25 years ago i was fresh out of college (zoology degree, some
chemistry, some mechanical engineering) and working in biochemistry labs
as a lab rat (lab tech). after five years, it was interesting but i
found that i enjoyed the writing/presentation aspect of the job more
than the lab work; additionally, we had some heavy duty isotopes that
statistically shorten the life span by ten years so that was a factor in
eventually leaving.

i took some fiction writing courses in and around boston, realizing that
i love to write fiction and still do, but that i didn't want to wait
tables or drive a cab, and certainly didn't want to do the poverty
thing. lastly, i wasn't very good at fiction either as i didn't have
arts classes in college so i knew my skills with the english language
were not up to snuff.

my brother-in-law suggested tech writing so i jumped into the master's
program at northeastern and all these years later i'm still doing it.
tech writing is a chosen profession for me.

as with others, i have seen all the trends back and forth, worked in all
areas, and had some fun overseas work assignments (antarctic). now, the
tech writing salary and a supportive husband have afforded me to take
six month breaks here and there to work on fiction.

the best thing that tech writing "did" for my fiction was learning the
mechanics of the tool (the english language). for that i'm thankful. and
for the fun work and getting my geek fix with the technology we get to
write about. i've never seen tech writing as anything but a primary
career choice.

i have read that with the baby boomers retiring (i was born the last
year of the boomer age) that those of us with some technical background
and a pulse will after about 2010 be able to pick and choose where we
want to work.

fyi...china and india can't push out enough graduates to meet the tech
demands. in my last job, i worked with our india division a lot and was
surprised to find out that there are NO tech writing degrees offered in
india. my boss was trying to set up a program at a local college in
bangalore with marginal success.

we are starting to see a bit of that "pick and choose" here in denver. i
don't think i'll give up tech writing but by 2010 would like to be
part-time and pick and choose my venues.

oh...and the lower case is due to an old carpal tunnel injury from
sports, not tech writing....`-)



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How did you get started in tech writing?: From: Nancy Allison
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