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New Services: Grant Writing

grants-writing

We are adding grant writing to our services. We have some experience but we are new to this field. However, our inexperience is your gain because our price is going to be kept low until we get the experience. Plus, we only get paid if you receive the grant. It’s a win win situation for you.

We looking forward to working with you to help your organization succeed in its goals.

New Year, New Goals

We have been busy working on business plans for a local non-profit group as well as learning to write proposals for grant requests. We haven’t got everything nailed down quite yet but we are diligently educating ourselves.

We are also reevaluating our own business and marketing plans. In just one year, we have changed as a business and so have some of our goals.

We have started early so that we are prepared for the new year.  What are you doing to prepare your business for the new year?

Formatting: The Other Critique by Neil Dabb

My business partner, Neil Dabb has some excellent advice for those of us who self-publish in his article Formatting: The Other Critique. This advice can also be applied to the Professional and Technical Communication field; especially, when your business or company does not have a writer or editor on staff.

Other advice, check your photographs. For instance, if your work instructions state that safety guards have to be used on a machine that has a possibility of physical injury to employees, the picture or image should show the safety guard being used.

Images should also correlate to the step. In most cases, if you have five steps there should be five pictures. Not five steps on page 1 and an image on page 3 that may or may not show the employee what they are supposed to be doing.

If your employee manual states that employees should not wear jewelry when operating equipment, then the image should reflect that standard. In other words, your documentation should correlate on every level to your company, your training, your branding, and your marketing.

This will create a professional and educated work force that is positive about their job which leads to a better quality of product for your business.

By Melinda Anderson

Users’ Advocate: Blame the Author If Communication Fails? by Marc Baker

Well, it’s Monday and rather than writing something ourselves we came across this article on the Techwhirl site.

Users’ Advocate: Blame the Author If Communication Fails? by Marc Baker

What do you think?

Cake Left Out In Break Room With No Instructions

Here is an example of bad technical writing, Cake Left Out in Break Room With No Instructions. Yes, we realize it is a piece of satire written by the Onion.

However, think about it. What if a cake had appeared in the break room with nothing written on it, no one knowing why it was there, or who it was for, there would some serious confusion.

Now imagine, that cake is software with no instructions, a pretty resume with no structure, a business or marketing plan with no goals, a marketing flier with two little or too much information, an employee manual that hasn’t been updated. Not so funny now.

Instructions no matter what they are pertain to need to be clear and concise; even if it just a cake sitting in the break room.

Why am I a technical writer?

My earliest memories of dealing with writing or words would be my Grandfather Janes reading to me as a child in Escondido, California. He was also a mechanic who loved to fix cars and help people as often as he could. I would get to hang out in the garage and watch him take things apart and put them back together. In fact, the smell of grease and oil will make me tear up and think of him every time.

I have also had really good English teachers who always found a way to include poetry, essays, or literature into their lesson plans. I still have haiku’s that I wrote in first or second grade tucked away in a box. However, it just wasn’t the lesson plans, it was their excitement for what they were teaching and their ability to let me be me. Even when it meant compromising their time to help me pass their classes.

In high school, I knew deep inside that I wanted to be a  writer or work with English in some way. I also knew that I did not want to be a teacher. I could handle dealing with the children but I was not willing to deal with the parents. My counselor  at the time said that the only thing I could do with an English degree would be teaching. She tried to force me into other career paths that I knew I was unsuited for but the personality tests claimed I would be perfect for. This is when I gave up.

I became pregnant with my first child, met my husband, had our second child, got married, had our third child. I was a stay at home mom without a high school degree who quickly realized that I was going to have a problem when my kids got into high school. After all, why should they graduate when neither my husband or I.

I got my GED in 1999. I attended my first day of college and passed my driver’s license test on the same day in August of 2000. While in college, I found out about the technical communication program. I choose to major in English, with an emphasis in Professional and Technical Communication. It took me a little bit longer than most to graduate, nine years, but in 2009 I graduated. All three of my kids have graduated high school and one of them is currently in college.

In a way, my story has come full circle, I love the English word and like my Grandfather I like taking things a part, putting them back together, and helping other people do the same.

by Melinda Anderson