Going from writing to speaking  Clip to Evernote

podium This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Whether earned or not, many writers (technical or otherwise) have a reputation for not being good speakers or presenters. The stereotype is that people become writers so they don’t have to interact with others. They can just lock themselves away and pound on their keyboards to their heart’s content.

I think that stereotype is unjustified. Sure, there are a number of those in our ranks who are introverts (I’m definitely one of them). But we all have something to teach or share. We all have a story to tell.

A great way to tell that story is to give a presentation or a talk. For any number of us, doing that is a big step outside of our comfort zone. Taking that step, though, can help make you a better writer.

Here are a few tips for moving from writing to speaking.

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Jumping into The Elements of Content Strategy  Clip to Evernote

Cover of The Elements of Content Strategy Note: This post first appeared, in a slightly different form, here.

Content strategy. The planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media. It sounds like one in the long line of buzzwords that seem to assail us daily. And, in the eyes (and hands) of some, it is.

But content strategy is more than that. Content strategy can also be an indispensable tool for anyone who writes for a living — especially anyone who writes in the corporate sector. yes, that includes technical communicators.

Many people either don’t know what content strategy is, or they misunderstand what it’s all about. That’s where The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane comes in.

Let’s take a closer look at this book.

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Productivity techniques for writers (of all stripes)  Clip to Evernote

In February, Scott gave a talk about productivity techniques for bloggers to a Meetup group to which he belongs in Auckland. While the talk was aimed at bloggers, writers of all stripes can use these techniques to become more productive.

After a period of (more than) a bit of procrastination, Scott’s finally posted the slides and notes to his talk to Slideshare. Here are the slides for the talk:

And here are the notes:

Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.

Open Help Conference 2014 announced  Clip to Evernote

Open Help Conference 2014 Once again, Shaun McCance is running the Open Help Conference, an event that:

brings together leaders in open source documentation and support, as well as people from across the technical communications industry who are interested in community-based help.

This year’s edition of the conference takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 14 and 15. On top of that, the conference is hosting documentation sprints for open source projects from June 16 to June 18. If you’re interested in running a sprint at the conference, contact Shaun.

If you’re interested or involved in writing documentation for open source projects, the Open Help Conference is an event that you should seriously consider attending. I was there for the first edition of the conference in 2011, and I learned a lot. I’m sure you will, too.

Taking a look at APE (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur)  Clip to Evernote

Cover of APE

(Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, here.)

I don’t have to tell you how much publishing has changed since the advent of the personal computer. In the last decade, that change has been massive. Now, it’s easier than ever to bypass traditional publishers and put your own books on the market.

It takes more than a good idea and a well-written book to translate into sales, though. You need to become an Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur. And that’s the thrust of APE by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. If you’re a technical communicator (or other writer) who wants to jump into the world of self publishing, APE is a must-read book. No matter what your level of experience.

Let’s take a closer look at APE and what it holds for you.

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A review of Frictionless Freelancing  Clip to Evernote

Friction. We run into it in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes we cause it ourselves. But more often than not, that friction happens. It slows us down and causes problems.

If you’re a freelance technical writer (or a freelancer or any stripe), chances are you’ll know all about friction. In all sizes — from the uncomfortable chair that you use in your home office to a slow internet connection to clients who decide not to pay you on time (or at all).

Battling that friction is difficult. But it can be done. That’s the thrust of Frictionless Freelancing by Aaron Mahnke. In the book’s 175 pages, Mahnke offers some valuable lessons and even more valuable tips and techniques for combating friction in your freelance life.

Let’s take a quick look at the book.

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