Heroic Technical Writing offers More Than Heroics

Introduction

I have been visiting Heroic Technical Writing on and off since 2011, when the blog launched. The headline is clear enough, “Heroic Technical Writing: Advice and Insights on the Business of Technical Communication.” You know where you are and what kind of content you’ll see.

The subhead, “Dispensing unsolicited technical writing and career advice since 2011” is amusing and nice to know, but not critical, which is why it’s off to the right in much smaller type.

Like the blog I reviewed earlier (Blog Review: Docs by Design Blends Work and Life), Heroic Technical Writing offers a significant image right off the bat: Christopher Reeve as Superman in the 1978 movie, which resonates with me because Superman was one of the last movies I went to with my family before I started college.

So we have the headline “Heroic Technical Writing” and then we have a picture of a true hero, Superman. Heroic, indeed–and appeals to the inner geek in all of us.

Layout and Navigation

Blog posts start with the headline, date posted, the first paragraph, and occupy the left two-thirds of the page.  The headlines link to the rest of the posts and you will find a handy “Continue reading” link at the end of the paragraph. The posts offer plenty of white space between paragraphs that are nicely sized for skimming.

A menu lays underneath the static screen grab of Superman. This menu offers:

  • Home: Leads you back to the Home Page.
  • New to This Page?: Functions as an About Me page. The author, Bart Leahy, tells us something about himself and the website. He talks about his clients, his schooling, his target audience (take a wild guess), what kinds of pieces he writes, and so forth. He also has a separate page devoted to his “heroic” theme.
  • Publications: He has written for Spaceflight Insider, Vice News, and Ad Astra magazine, among others. He has also contributed to books, magazines, and blogs, written speeches, and given presentations. He’s making me feel fairly un-accomplished right now!
  • Resume: Leahy starts by providing a link to his LinkedIn profile, his email address, and a phone number. This is followed by his resume. It is a long and accomplished one.
  • Writing for NASA: Love the fact that he has Superman as his main image, and that he has worked for NASA. Superman comes from outer space and flies through it regularly to help out us earthlings.

Nitty-Gritty Information

The column on the right contains the nitty-gritty information you need to learn more about Bart Leahy and the site. Scroll down to see:

  • Paying for This Site: Offers a convenient Donate button if you are so inclined.
  • Location and Availability: Offers a map of Leahy’s location (first of its kind I’ve seen), along with his office hours, and email address. Using Hotmail for your email is almost as bad as AOL. Hotmail screams archaic, but maybe his clients don’t mind.
  • Heroic Technical Writing on Facebook: Lists his Facebook page Heroic Technical Writing on Facebook. I am a member.
  • Twittering: Lists Leahy’s last three tweets and offers his Twitter handle: @SciCheerGopher.
  • Recent Posts: Offers the linked headers for his last five posts.
  • Following This Blog via Email: Enables you to enter your email address to receive his posts, along with a Follow button. Leahy also lists how many followers he has: 1,457.
  • Archives: You may search the posts by month. Each month shows the number of posts made.
  • Categories: Lists the post categories, along with the number of posts for that category. My favorites here are Business writing, Careers, Consulting, and, of course, Technical Writing. Lots more here to choose from.

This blog offers more general content about life and the business of writing and fewer specifics about, say, how to write API documentation. For instance, if Leahy has written a book and is now looking to sell it. He is using the Writer’s Market 2018 to find a buyer, and has written a blog post about it.

Do you sometimes wonder if you write too quickly? Afraid you may have missed something? You’re not alone. Here is Leahy’s advice on that.

As you struggle to find your own work-life balance, remember  everyone else does too,what with the encroachment of our day jobs into our personal lives. When I was growing up, my dad’s employer had no idea where he was on his days off. Now, my own supervisor knows my mobile phone number. Not only that, but upper management stays in mobile contact with the office while on vacation, and sometimes they must take their laptops with them. Leahy has a take on this.

At my workplace, the clients who pay us the most money go to the front of the line, and their items get done first. So your own work-life battle is raging, work is piling up, and all your clients are clamoring for your attention, how do you begin making sense of it all? Well, according to Leahy, you need to prioritize.

Feel like you want to “tell it like it is” in the office? Afraid to express your opinion? As for myself, I am not paid to have an opinion, I’m paid to write, so that’s what I do. Leahy has this suggestion.

I am barely scratching the surface here. I enjoyed scrolling through this blog and picking entries to read. I invite you to do the same. Even if you’re not a technical writer, you should find something here of interest to you.

Conclusion

If you are a writer and a space fan, or if you work for a living like everyone else, you owe it to yourself to check this blog out. There is plenty to interest all. Sure, there is a NASA/Superman theme here, but this blog is more than that. Even if you don’t care that much for NASA, or if Superman doesn’t float your boat, just ignore that and come here anyway. I am following this blog in my feed reader.