breaking into tech writing

Subject: breaking into tech writing
From: Barclay Blanchard <blanchab -at- SOLOMON -dot- BUCKHEAD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 1995 10:39:36 -0400

Cathy Quinones <quinones -at- MINDSPRING -dot- COM>
>Ok guys, what about those of us that have never had a tech writing job and
>are trying to break into this discipline?

I think the advantage that most entry-level writers have is that they're
willing to work for less pay, which oftens means more to a company
than quality writing.

Here's a personal story in case it helps you in some way...

I got into the field in a roundabout way. I'd gotten a BA in English, tried
Navy Officer Candidate School (briefly), and gotten into a BS program
in math. I started co-oping at IBM in a computer-based training (CBT)
department. The 1st 3 quarters were far from glamorous: I was
providing phone support for students in the training centers who'd
gotten stuck at various points in the CBTs. The next few years I was
doing grunt coding work (and trying to convince people to let me edit
some of the garbage we were sending out). Eventually I got to rewrite
2 courses. Then I was hired on (after about 5 years as a co-op and
after getting a BS in math and another in physics) as an entry-level writer
(at long last) and got to prove my abilities. Sometimes it's a struggle,
especially in a big corporation, getting people to *allow* you to do what
you're good at. Now I work at a small company where I'm the only
writer, and I don't often ask for permission to undertake projects I'm
interested in (like creating a web page): I just do them.
------>Barclay Elizabeth Blanchard<------
Senior Technical Writer and CBT Developer
OSoft Development Corporation, Atlanta, GA (404) 814-6030
"Anyone who inhabits himself cannot believe in objective thinking.."--Hugh

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