Re: Writing samples and portfolios

Subject: Re: Writing samples and portfolios
From: "Janet Swisher" <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "T S" <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 17:32:51 -0600

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 9:30 AM, T S <tens00 -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>> Is this what everyone does, write for open source software?

Heh. As far as I can tell, the idea of working on open source projects
is only beginning to get traction in the techcomm world. I know of
only a handful of tech writers who are actually doing it (see

I was pleased to see it come up as the first couple of suggestions on
this thread. In the past, more common advice would have been to "make
something up" for a product you're familiar with. *If* you're going to
go to the trouble to create something from scratch, then doing it for
an open source project makes a lot more sense to me than
re-documenting another company's product, or an imaginary one. It's a
"real" software product with actual users, who can benefit from your
efforts. You have to plan your efforts and interact with developers to
get information. That is more impressive to me than writing a doc for
something where you either already know the technical details, or just
make them up.

>> Is there
>> anything else you do with your existing information? I would love to
>> leverage what I have

Gene's suggestion for presenting redacted documents is one way to go
about it. Another is to post what you can as-is, and put a note on
your website that "Additional writing samples are available, but may
only be viewed during an in-person interview, due to their proprietary
content." That lets prospective employers know that you *have* done
more than what's on your website.

>> as (and I'm hesitant to say this) my life is already
>> extremely busy with work and family and I just do not see being able to
>> commit to a project outside of my existing job.

No need to feel guilty for having a life :-) It seems that
programmers who want to program in their spare time work on open
source, and tech writers who want to write in their spare time write
fiction :-)

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Re: Writing samples and portfolios: From: T S

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