WHAT TYPE OF WRITER ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
A writer with a variety of writing skills can be flexible, highly creative, and more compatible —
In many writing venues.
I began writing between my college classes as an obit writer for a small weekly newspaper in a college town of Campbell, CA. The college was gradually moving to a large sprawling and lushly green campus at Saratoga with wooden foot bridges crossing a web of small creeks. Each building seemed to be planted on an island of emerald lawns. It was a great place to be inspired and indulge in creative expression.
Several years honing my skills in writing and technical illustration helped me entwine the two disciplines. I would later see how these studies worked well together in web site content and graphic design. But this was in the 70s and computers weren’t considered personal yet. They still filled large rooms.
I consider myself a journalist from the “old school”. Reputation, clear-cut news reporting, and maintaining integrity in all divisions of journalism were essential to me. Still are.
As I moved from community newspapers to writing technical documentaion for large companies, I brought those values with me. I found I could communicate well with ideas that had to be explained to laymen. My design background also helped others visualize ideas better. I accepted a writing contract with Raytheon as a Lead Technical Writer.
Working for Raytheon government contract in corporate surroundings was extremely different than working for the non-profit industry. Corporate needs are predetermined and often in cycles. Our tech team tackled Raytheon’s documentation library like gophers in a garden. We met our obligations.
As I came onboard with Alternative Gifts International (AGI), we raised funds for 33 different humanitarian non-profit groups, so writing grants and defining advertising development took a lot of creative juggling to keep our message strong.
During my four years there I helped redesign and maintain an online catalog system. Once the user-friendly catalog began bringing in new donors, our donor numbers grew from 22% catalog use to 44%, in catalog revenues that helped draw in new donors. Our reputation also grew.
Over the years, I’ve produced a community booklet with phone directory, enjoyed ghostwriting, writing poetry and winning a few regional contests, as well as producing and designing community brochures and advertising materials for small businesses. Freelancing kept my skills flexible.
After returning to news writing and page editing while maintaining my freelance writer status, I switched to writing radio commercials for El Dorado Broadcasters, Inc. (formerly Clear Channel Radio) for four years in Victorville/Barstow, California.
Then in 2010, I once again joined a documentation team for Exel. Their client, 7-Eleven Stores in Fontana, CA, needed all of its new “Standard Operational Procedures” SOPs to be written for a fledging bulk warehouse, with state-of-the-art case and item inventory. We came in to write approximately 40 SOPs but actually created 69 of them before our temporary contract was up. It was exciting to work for a Fortune 500 company and seeing our documentation help them maintain a safe and well-managed distribution center.
*Grant writer for non-profit organization (AGI)
*Won a $5,000 personal achievement award for the Founder of AGI
*Wrote user documentation for product application packages
*Production assistant for print and online catalog
*Wrote online field and content-sensitive help pages
*Wrote and produced user manuals for military training modules at Ft. Irwin, CA
*Graphic designer for international greeting cards used in AGI
*Networking with programmers as well as customers to obtain technical information to complete an assignment
*Newspaper layout, headline writing
*Paste-up, copy editing and proofreading for newspapers
*Cartographer apprentice, scribe and overlay artist for Barclay map company
Strong on initiative
Accurate eye for detail
Analytical approach to problem solving
Excellent communication skills
Journalistic nature with a flair for words and a passion for the Old West