In September’s Spotlight, we feature Bridget Greenwood, a recent technical writing graduate and volunteer webmaster for the STC Canada West Coast Chapter. In this interview, Bridget discusses her love of the written word, and her background in newspaper production.
Question: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a pirate; but once I learned to read, I wanted to be a writer.
Question: Why did you decide to become a technical communicator?
Tech writing is my second career. I used to work for a newspaper as a designer, but the days of print are over. I have done a lot of creative writing, and as I really enjoy writing, I decided to take the Certificate in Technical Communication from Simon Fraser University.
Question: What most interests you about the field?
I love writing, and enjoy the challenge of creating clear, concise, informative writing. I like the fact that there are so many options for technical writers, in so many varied industries.
Question: What is your biggest goal for your career – what line are you most interested in pursuing?
I am just launching my tech writing career. I’m currently a freelance SEO writer and graphic designer, but my goal is to get a full time job with a tech writing team where I can develop my skills.
My ideal tech writing role is writing for the healthcare industry. I know how crucial it is for patients and their loved ones to be able to access well-written, informative, and empathic books, pamphlets, and web sites. I would love to play a part in helping people through incredibly stressful times.
Question: What strengths do you think your previous career has given you as a technical writer?
My previous career was in the newspaper business, where I was a production coordinator and graphic designer. Hectic press days taught me how to work to [a] deadline, how to keep calm under pressure, and how to calm the occasional hissy fit! I hope that my design skills will be an asset in a tech writing job, particularly if I am required to produce graphics and diagrams.
Question: What do you do when you get “writer’s block” or aren’t sure exactly how you want to start writing something?
I usually start with a plan, which I make and expand during my research period. I scribble my plan on paper, with circles, arrows, and asterisks used to help organize my thoughts. It can get very messy! I don’t always start writing at the beginning. Sometimes the introduction is written last.
Question: What do you like to do outside of your career? Interesting hobbies or pastimes?
I’m writing a novel, which is taking an unfeasibly long time. I also love travelling here in BC and beyond. A couple of years ago, my partner and I drove round the world, camping in our truck most of the time. It was fantastic to see so much of our planet.
Question: If you could stand on a rooftop with a megaphone and tell the world one thing about the field, what would you say?
We all need instructions sometimes, so let’s make them easy to follow!