Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge - May 30, 2006


I am a writer. It's a huge part of who I am. And I don't mean that in a "cool" way. Like I sit here at my computer, staring out my window at the sea, while sipping coffee and working on the next Great American Novel. No, I'm afraid I'm not nearly that interesting.

I am a technical writer. See how boring that sounds? I didn't become an English/Professional Writing major in college with the intentions of becoming a technical writer. I'd never even heard of a technical writer until my junior year. But after graduating, a guy I knew hooked me up with a technical writing job at the company he worked at. Basically, I had to proofread and add the user's guides that accompanied the computer software they developed. But then I got fired when the CEO thought I was having an affair with a married guy that worked there. [sigh]

But since I had a few months of experience in that field, I applied for another tech writing job at a computer consulting company and landed the job. I spent the next 10.5 years at that company writing the user's guides, online help systems, and all sorts of other technical documents for their software. It sounds boring, and I suppose that in some ways, it was. But I was good at it. I used to get giddy when a new project was starting and I knew they'd install the software program on my computer and I'd get to click around to my heart's content, make sense out of all of it, and then develop a guide that took an end-user through the system from beginning to end.

I was laid off last May when the bastards started outsourcing the writing stuff to people in other countries that worked for squat. It was a blessing in disguise though, because I've been given the opportunity to stay home with the girls for over a year now.

I picked up a freelancing technical writing gig a few months ago, and that's going well. And this Friday, I have an interview for a full-time position (partly from home though) at another company.

People often ask me if I'd rather be a "creative writer". One who writes books or short stories. The truth is, no, I don't. This blog is pretty much the only "creative writing" I do, and even this isn't really "creative" since it's all stuff that has actually happened to me and there isn't much creativity involved when typing it all out.

Sometimes, when someone asks me what I do for a living, I just say, "I'm a writer." Not because I don't want to be a technical writer. And not because I want them to think I'm some literary genius that can write stories that people read in order to be transported to another place and time. I answer that way because most people don't know what a technical writer is and I just don't feel like explaining. There really is a bit more creativity to it than some people realize and to try and convey that in conversation just isn't worth it to me.

So anyway, I'm Allison and I'm a technical writer. And I love it.

6 comments:

mama_tulip said...

That's a cool pic, dude.

Chelle Y. said...

Hey, if it were not for writers like you, I'd be sitting here looking at my computer dazed and confused. I cannot do anything without instructions. :o)

Yeah, for you!

Belynda said...

You go, girl! I think your job sounds very interesting...but then again, I'm an accountant! LOL ;-)

Amber said...

I think that was a really interesting look at what you do, and how you feel about it. I think I would be a good tech writer. Kory, who works in computers with tech writers, always tells me this is true. Maybe it is a Virgo thing. The drive to bring order and make sense of things...
I bet if I had majored in English,instead of Social Work, I woudl be doing the same thing.

:)

EE said...

I love the way you look at it. Very cool. Love the pic too. ;)

Veronica said...

I like Allison the technical writer. She's so cool!