The Write Authority

A lot of blogs out there deal with writing, and I hope this one will not just add to the clutter. Blogs about writing tend to focus on one of two areas:

1. How to write “literature,” as in novels, poetry, plays, and films.

2. How to become a professional technical writer.

This blog is for a different audience: people who are not professional writers but whose jobs require them to produce good-quality technical or business writing. Most professional jobs require some writing, whether it’s a report to a supervisor, a letter to a colleague or customer, or documentation when the company needs it. My blog will not be about how to become a professional writer or editor but instead will give helpful instructions and tips for those who have been forced against their will to be at least part-time writers.

So, who am I to give advice or instruction about writing? Here are some of my qualifications:

I have a master’s degree in English, with an emphasis in rhetoric, from Brigham Young University. During my undergraduate studies, I worked as an instructor and tutor in BYU’s reading/writing center. My supervisor recommended me as a tutor for graduate students in the Communications Department, which I did through my senior year. (Needless to say, the Communications grad students weren’t happy to be taking advice from an undergrad English major.)

During graduate school, I taught composition and technical writing to undergraduate students, I took a course in software documentation for which I produced a manual for a university-authored, networked-computer application.

I then received an award as the outstanding first-year student in our department, and then I did a paid internship as an editor at the largest corporation in the state of Utah. After a year managing a team of technical writers at a software company, I was hired by the corporation where I had done my internship as a full-time editor. Since that time, I have spent more than twenty years as a technical writer and editor in industries ranging from computer software and academic publishing to the oil and gas industry. I have been asked by my employers on many occasions to present seminars, lectures, and formal course on effective writing. I am also a member of the Society for Technical Communication, and I have given lectures and seminars for the society and served as a judge for technical writing competitions.

In my spare time, I’ve written peer-reviewed articles for scholarly and technical journals and have published an award-winning memoir, Heaven Up Here. I still do freelance technical writing and editing on request, but my intent here is to help people learn to communicate more effectively through writing. If you have any requests for topics, please leave a comment, and I’ll try to put together something useful.

You’ll find the new blog at http://thewriteauthority.wordpress.com/.

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6 Responses to The Write Authority

  1. Jean Bodie says:

    How about starting us off with proof reading our own words?
    Did you happen to proof read the above blog my friend? Did you see your mistake? I did;-)

  2. Jean Bodie says:

    Obviously you did; you just changed it from thing to thinking – good work!

  3. Lauriston Y. says:

    Very good job and experience. ..

  4. My husband is an engineer and constantly cursing the fact that he can only write in bullet points. I’ve helped him with writing but there is a definite need for more effective communication. As someone with a background in biology, I can also safely say that most researchers are not very good writers either. (I had an English professor that kept yelling at me to stop writing like a scientist, as I was always writing in the passive voice)

    Writing is a skill and an important one at that.

  5. You’ve got about 5 additional errors to fix.

  6. I don’t mean to criticize, but “documentation when the company needs it but is too cheap to hire a writer” is phraseology sure to turn potential clients away. In business writing, tone is important.

    Best wishes, though!

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