Re: Where did you get your feet wet?

Subject: Re: Where did you get your feet wet?
From: Martin Bosworth <martinhbosworth -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 2005 12:40:15 -0400

> Though I still am very interested in coding (particularly embedded help
> solutions)—my eyes belong to user advocacy. Pretty good for a reformed
> programmer, huh!
> Regards,
> Lisa H.
> As an aside, I wonder how many writers in software documentation were
> former programmers who saw the light. Do let me know!


That would be me! But I get ahead of myself here....

I was always a good writer, even as a kid. Whether writing fantasy
fanfic with my friends or articles for the school paper, I loved to
write. I got my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with the intent
to work as a lobbyist or advocate for a progressive organization.

When I moved down to DC, I saw how big the IT market was getting and I
jumped right into that. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake. I
was and am good at programming and coding, but I always leaned more
towards the creative and design elements of things, and as the market
for raw coders dried up, my job prospects took a bad turn.

It was then that I remembered that I'd always written help stuff for
people I did work for. Remember, it wasn't so long ago that you needed
step-by-step instructions on how to create a Web site and maintain it.
Many folks still do. It wasn't until VERY recently that I found out
you could make a formal, full-time career as a tech writer. I changed
up my resume, went looking for the first job I could find to get my
foot in the door, and here I am.

I love it, personally. It's technical enough that I can apply my
knowledge of code and be able to talk to programmers on their level,
but not so much that I have to spend hours a day randomly compiling
variables and praying they'll work. I get to create, and I get to
write. Can't ask for better. I've come full circle, really, and I'm
very happy to have done so.

Of course, seeing how the majority of posters on this list are
considerably more experienced than I am, it's a good reminder of how
far I have yet to go. ;)


Martin H. Bosworth
Technical Writer, Telemedicine Directorate
Walter Reed Army Medical Center (
Writer/Editor, (

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