I really enjoy reading your newsletter as a subscriber to WritersWeekly and find it very informative.
I have some questions about “breaking in” to technical writing, and I am just not sure where to start. I have a Masters degree in nutrition, and a significant amount of writing experience in a lab setting, for a student manual, etc., but nothing published. I currently stay at home with my two young boys, working from home part-time doing medical transcription to make ends meet, but I am really wanting to launch a writing career. I am stymied as to how to do this. I don’t know if you can offer advice to me, or direct me to a resource, but any help would be appreciated.
I absolutely love writing, and would be thrilled to make a career out of it. Any suggestions?
Thanks for your time,
For this answer, we contacted Joe Gregg, author of Write Your Way to Riches: How to Make Money as a Technical Writer
I would suggest she inquire at local colleges or universities about technical writing courses or certificate programs. Most companies want to see some formal training in technical writing before they will hire someone. A good place to see what schools offer technical writing programs is the Society for Technical Communication (http://www.stc.org).
Also, if she wants to break into software technical writing, she should consider taking computer programming classes, web design classes, and classes on designing online help systems.
I see that she has a Master’s in nutrition. Technical writing isn’t just limited to the software industry (although that is where all my experience is). Biotech and pharmaceutical companies hire writers. She could also consider looking into science writing, although that usually requires some journalism experience.
Hope this helps.
Joseph Gregg has worked as a contract technical writer, programmer, and software tester for ten years. His major clients have included Houghton Mifflin Company, Fidelity Investments, and State Street Bank and Trust.
Gregg graduated from Cornell University and received a techical writing certificate from the University of Massachusetts. He is the author of Write Your Way to Riches: How to Make Money as a Technical Writer.