How Technical Writing Made Me a Better Author

I’ve been in technical communications field for eight years now—first as a technical editor for six years, and currently as a technical writer for two years and counting. Regardless of what kind of products I was reading or writing about, or which company I was working for, the core skills remained the same. And I believe those skills have strengthened my work as a fiction writer as well.

Here are some of things technical editing and writing has taught me:

Pay attention to word choice and repetition.

To write in what’s called global English, the key is to use as few words as possible to make a point, and use those same words consistently. While brevity is not usually a problem for me, noticing word usage was a skill developed over time. See, when you’re installing software, for example, you want to “Click the button” or “Tap the button” if it’s a touch screen. If you pepper the document with “Select the button” or “Hit the button” just to spice it up, that’s going to increase your translation costs and potentially muddy the meaning of your words.

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Collaboration and a New Fantasy Collection

Get Sixfold Fantasy: A Collection of Six Complete Novels now on Amazon!

“Group projects” was the most dreaded phrase a professor could utter in college classes. In professional settings, it’s “teambuilding exercises.” Ick. Then, in interviews there’s the loaded question, “do you prefer working independently or in a group?”

It’s situations like that and the general assumption that I’m an introvert that made me think that collaboration was probably not for me. But then I thought of how much I enjoy being on sports teams, and that one time in high school when my BFFs and I tried to start a girl group like the Spice Girls. I’m still embarrassed that we sang in front of a couple musical artists we met, expecting to get discovered. It didn’t work out, in case you’re wondering. But we sure looked cute in our matching outfits.

The fact is, I do like bringing people together. I’m not the most organized person, but I’m enthusiastic and open-minded, and that’s something. And although I’m cautious in making decisions, I am an oldest child, which I thinks make me a little bossy naturally. That attitude resulted in this collaboration project I’m excited to announce—a fantasy box set I put together with friends and fellow Chanticleer award winners!
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Six Common Author Myths Busted

It was sweet how many non-writers I talked to called me a “famous author” after hearing about my award win, which is what sparked this blog post. If anyone was ever curious what being an author is all about, hopefully this might answer some of your questions. For those of you who do write, I bet you can identify with some of this! Let’s get to mythbusting!

MYTH 1: Awards make you rich and famous.

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That One Time I Had Drinks with a Hollywood Producer

Almost Famous

From the movie ALMOST FAMOUS. Completely unrelated to the story I’m about to tell.

These are my favorite kinds of stories to hear and tell.

I’d like to think that I keep my blog relatively profesh, but there’s also the matter of writing in “my voice.” And if you’ve read Front Row, girls doing crazy stuff is definitely my voice.

There are moments in my life when I stop and think, “Is this really happening?” I actually pause and smile giddily to myself when no one’s looking because this is actually happening. Like the time I got to spend time on a band’s tour bus. Or the time I was in Hanson’s music video. This was one of those times.
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