Thursday, May 21, 2015

Oh man, I've really ignored this place, Part 2

I posted Part 1 on December 3, 2013 and I've just discovered (re-discovered) that I haven't posted here since January 17, 2014. That's sixteen months of neglect.

To be fair, I've devoted my time to other blogging venues in the non-technical realm, for the most part, so it's not like I have given up blogging altogether.

The reason I'm (again) resurrecting "A Million Chimpanzees" is I need a place to specifically chronicle my adventures at the recent Write the Docs conference in Portland, Oregon.

Although my efforts to use this blogspot to describe my progress (or lack thereof) in learning some of the basics of programming hasn't worked out (read: "abject failure"), this is the closest thing I have to a technical blog, so it seems fitting that I drag the chimps out of their long slumber and back into the world for the purpose of visiting my first love and my career: technical writing.

I've almost always been the Lone Wolf writer in whatever job I've had writing. The exception was when I worked for a group that contracted with HP and each of us was paid only "billable hours," rather than having what I'd consider a steady income as the in-house documentarian.

Even then, we writers represented such a diverse collection of skill sets, that from my point of view, we weren't particularly alike at all.

The perception of being alone as a technical writer changed for me last Monday and Tuesday as I attended this conference. I really didn't know what to expect. I've already commented on my experience somewhat in Part One and Part Two of a different blog, however the focus wasn't specifically what I learned as a writer, nor is that venue particularly "friendly" or at least "relate-able" to other technical writers.

So here I am.

Part of why I'm writing this is to process all of the raw notes I took during the two-day conference. However, I also want to hone my focus on my own progress as a writer with an eye on initiating significant change in my workplace and among other teams.

Like I said, I'm used to being a Lone Wolf, but I realized at the conference that's got to change in order for not only me to advance as a writer, but for my company to benefit from what I've learned and to improve the way we think of documentation and information.

Unfortunately, along with many insights, I brought a raging headache back with me from Portland, so today's blog post is going to be short. As I work my way through my notes and get more organized, so will my rendition of the history of the 3rd annual Write the Docs conference.

Please stand by.

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