Help for budding tech wri

Subject: Help for budding tech wri
From: Barb Philbrick <barb -dot- philbrick -at- PCOHIO -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 15:09:00 -0500

D>I will be receiving my BA in English this December, and
D>I'm interested in the field of tech writing. Can anyone
D>provide some information that may help me get started?
D>I'm particularly interested in internship information and
D>anything that can give me a place to start.

I suggest reading the Society for Technical Communication's _Journal_
for ideas on writing style. You will also want to start compiling things
you've written into a portfolio (they don't have to be technical
writing, but an interviewer will want to know something about the way
you write). You might even want to create a manual for portfolio
purposes - how to start your car; operating your VCR, for instance - to
give them a feel for your writing style.

Can't help you much on internships; I had a job (as a
secretary/technical writer), and slowly got my degree and experience and
became a full-fledged technical writer.

One caution to you (and you might already know this, so please forgive
me if I'm preaching to the choir) - academic writing is different than
technical writing. See if you can find good examples of technical
writing to study style. If they're available, see if your university
offers freelance writing classes - I took two in degree program, and
they were the best lessons in differences in style and presentation that
I've had so far, even though they weren't necessarily technical. They
also talk about interviewing and other things that are important to the
tech writer.

My degree is also in English (I tried to supplement it with lots of
writing classes and some engineering classes because I was already a
technical writer. CSU didn't offer a technical communication program). I
learned to write in a stodgy third person, passive voice structure that
just doesn't cut it in technical writing. Academia works very hard at
teaching you this, so it's a hard habit to break (at least, it was for

Good luck to you -

~ CMPQwk 1.4 #9107 ~ Honesty's a good policy but insanity's a better defense.

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