Skip to content

Tag Archives: Teaching

On Revising Your Manuscript: Looking Back

Tweet Today is December 14th. That means Thursday is going to be December 16th. I know, I know…I’ve just demonstrated that I’m a brilliant mathematician. Or…calendarist. Something. There’s a special significance to December 16th, though. Around here, anyway. Thursday will be the official anniversary of Unstressed Syllables. One year ago Thursday, I wrote my first […]

On Reviewing Your Manuscript: Videogames

Tweet I started playing videogames at the age of six or seven. Within a year, I was programming them, too. Now that’s not to say I was exercising my creative genius way back then. (Not in that medium, anyway.) No, my dad had a Commodore 64 and a subscription to Compute! magazine, which came with […]

On Programming Language: Asterisks

Tweet Last fall I walked into my first ever teaching experience, with that junior-level Technical Writing course at Oklahoma Christian University that I’ve mentioned a time or two. I faced a room full of Computer Science and Information Systems students who were all within sight of their graduation, and faced with the first English class […]

On Getting It Right: Grant Applications

Tweet Yesterday I told a story about my little girl learning to read. She hasn’t got the patience to read a whole block of text yet, though. She’ll start at the beginning, and if she doesn’t recognize the first word, she says, “I can’t read this page!” And that’s it. She pushes the book away […]

On Getting It Right: Oh Look, Annabelle! See Max?

Tweet When my daughter was born, everyone told me she was adorable. When she started smiling, everyone said she was charming. When she started crawling (early for her age), everyone said she was so smart! I kept waiting. She was a wonderful baby, and I was awfully proud of her when she fell off the […]

The Right Way to Learn

Two of the best classes I took in high school were AP English and US History, and both of them taught me how to improve my writing with quick, easy research.

How to Build an e-Book from Your Blog

Most professional bloggers recommend writing and selling e-Books to get the most out of a professional blog. As a Tech Writer, I wrote an e-Book explaining how.

Manage Your Metaphors

Every document is, essentially, a phone call — a conversation between you and your readers, and you’ve got to establish a connection before you can start talking. I’ve said that before, haven’t I?

I’ve also said a good first draft is a block of marble, from which to carve that glorious statue known as a final manuscript. Oh, and telling instead of showing is the same thing as playing a game of poker with your cards on the table. Good document structure is a tower of red, yellow, and blue blocks. Poetry is magic, punctuation is alchemy, and so is blogging about your life.

The Shape of a Document

Last fall I taught my first college-level writing course — Technical Writing at Oklahoma Christian University (my alma mater). My class consisted of a bunch of computer science and information technologies students, and a handful of English majors. It was an interesting mix.

I wasn’t out to teach them how to do my job. I did ask, first day of class, how many of them had considered becoming a Technical Writer after graduation. The answer (quite predictably) was none. When I got around to asking what they were planning on doing, every one of them named a profession that would require some proficiency with technical writing, even if it wasn’t their main job description.

What Should You Write About?

I’m writing to the bloggers, the business writers, and for you guys, “Write what you know” is your bread and butter. “Write what you know” is the answer to questions you haven’t even considered yet.

Technical writing is all about translating understanding — it’s about converting expert information into a more easily accessible format. Whenever you’re writing, your job is to take the things you understand, that your readers don’t, and help your readers understand them.