Willa Cather, born in Virginia in the 1873, is an author and a poet best known for her works depicting frontier life on the Great Plains, O Pioneers! (1913) and My Ántonia (1918) being two of her most recognized novels. One of Cather’s lesser esteemed but no less admired novels is The Professor’s House (1925).
The Professor’s House is a slice of life narrative about a middle aged professor, Godfrey St. Peter, who finds himself, at what should be the pinnacle of his life, despondent and disillusioned. Continue reading
Last week, in “Making a Living as a Writer”, I told you about a little known steady paying occupation for writers, called technical writing. This week I’ll share some insights on technical writing as a career choice.
What exactly is a technical writer and what do they do?
I have to admit that I find people’s reactions amusing when I tell them that I am a technical writer. “Aaaaaaaaaah,” they say as they shake their heads with a quizzical look on their face. Or “Technical…….writer,” as in, I comprehend the writer part but what is this word technical in front of it. Before I became one, I had never heard of a technical writer myself, so I certainly appreciate the polite stammering and befuddled expressions.
Very simply defined: a technical writer is someone who takes complex ideas, processes, and concepts and makes them understandable and accessible to an audience [you can find a more comprehensive definition at the Society for Technical Communication (STC)].
Numerous industries employ the services of technical writers; finance, computer, medical, insurance, manufacturing, scientific. They write everything from FAQs, to procedural instructions, to training materials, to white papers. Some technical writers also write grants and website content. All industries need documentation of some kind. Continue reading
I don’t know about you but I’ve lost count of all of the writing how-to books, inspirational online classes, and writing retreats, virtual and real, that I have attended. From each experience I did glean some very useful information. One thing, however, that always just gnaws at my sensibility is the admonition ‘You can’t write for the money, you have to write for the love of the craft’ and ‘don’t expect to become wealthy from your writing’ all from people who are actually making money and some becoming wealthy from their writing.
I get the sentiment, though. As with any job or career, the chances of becoming wealthy are not that great. But what about those of us who need to earn a living. Had I taken that advise 20+ years ago, I would not have been able to support myself with my writing skills. No, I am not anywhere near wealthy but I make a decent living. Continue reading