I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts recently on freelancing, technical writing and being an entrepreneur. Each session is in an interview format and I thought it was the best way to introduce and learn more about a subject, even if the subject is me, so, with that…meet and learn more about the owner of this blog, the Hyper Writer…Stephanie Whitlow.
- What is your background?
I’m a Tennessee native who moved to Alabama and got my degree in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was through that program that I took a technical writing class and decided that this would be my profession. I’ve always enjoyed doing different jobs within the tech comm world so I decided to freelance. For more details about me, check out my 10 Facts about Hyper Writer!
- How long have you been writing?
Pretty much since grade school! Professionally, I’ve been writing since my first office jobs and have been a technical writer for over 17 years.
- Why did you choose technical writing?
I really enjoy helping people understand applications. I like interviewing subject matter experts and learning how the software works with the goal of helping the user learn how to do their job better. Technical writing has never been the same thing every day, one day a Word document may be needed, the next a wiki or blog article, or a summary of a report. At times my job requires taking complex details (like reports or graphs) and translating them into plain language that everyone can understand. What I love about my job is that there is no set “job description,” it can change depending on the need of the user and the company for whom I am working. I have had the opportunity to learn how various software systems work. One of my favorites was medical imaging. It was fascinating to see how those images were transmitted from the technician to the radiologist to the doctor.
- What types of writing have you done in your career?
Starting out in my career, I wrote annual reports, policy and procedures, executive summaries, resumes, letters, and memos. Then I became a technical writer and have written end-user manuals, online help, tutorials, wikis, specifications and requirements, test cases, blog posts, reports, web content, presentations, articles, and hard-copy training materials. I’ve worked with commercial industries documenting medical, utility and car dealership software then moved to Huntsville where I worked with engineering hardware and most recently governmental software systems.
- Why freelance?
I very much enjoy documentation and writing on a wide-range of subjects and in varied markets. In freelancing, I want to fill the gaps that employers might have. A company might need a documentation specialist for a few weeks or months to help their in-house team complete a project. Another company might like a report summarized for a specific presentation or have a proposal or grant written. Some others may have reams of documentation that need to be updated or pulled into a content management system. If I am available to take on these jobs, they will not have to go through the lengthy hiring process – they would simply need to call me and I’m there!