After 25 years as an adult educator, Rick Georg decided to listen to his heart and follow his passion for writing. When I met Rick at a Tech Comm Café, I wanted to explore why he decided to switch careers and how his previous work experience is helping him make that transition.
What inspires you professionally?
The sense of respect, respect for my community and connections. I love meeting people and getting to know them. The art of communication was, is, and will be my source of inspiration.
Why did you decide to become a technical writer?
The biggest challenge I face every day is that of effective communication. For the last 25 years, I have used effective, to-the-point communication as a tool to get my students to succeed. Technical writing was an obvious progression because I believe in my ability to understand an idea and present it in a comprehensible manner. Plus, 25 years of doing the same thing became stagnant. So now I am a happy writer instead of a bored teacher!
What other types of writing do you enjoy?
I like creative writing. I am currently working on two projects: a script for a radio drama and an essay on local history and geography.
What do you find the most challenging about technical writing?
My first challenge is in adapting to technical communication culture. I want to learn the differences in writing styles, the ways in which information is presented, and finally, the audience’s role. The next challenge is the software, such as FrameMaker. Lastly, because I am switching careers, I need to convince people that I am the right person for the job.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I rely on the power of research. If that does not work, I sleep on the ideas at hand. That makes me clear-headed when I attempt another go at writing. If I’m still stuck, I grab a piece of paper, and let my ideas flow freely.
What was the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
One stands out. This was during my educator days, when I was tasked with preparing coursework for a basic education program. It was very challenging because the audience consisted of working adults with few reading skills. I had to design the course in simple English, in small bursts of content.
What do you do aside from technical writing?
I am a family man! I love to read and play tennis. Tennis is great; it not only makes your body fit, but it also helps sharpen your ability to focus.
Lastly, what advice would you give your future self in terms of your career?
My advice to myself is to persevere. To keep on trying and face challenges with gusto. Also, have fun in whatever I do.
I wear many hats; a writer during the week, a baker by the weekend, a dog lover every minute. In every role, a communicator!