About Self Doubt

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

Sylvia PlathOctober 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath
October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath  was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge, before receiving acclaim as a professional poet and writer. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956 and they lived together first in the United States and then England, having two children together: Frieda and Nicholas.

Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for her two published collections: The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she won a Pulitzer Prize posthumously, for The Collected Poems. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death.




Style Guides; ACS Style Guide


This is part of a series of articles published regarding Style Guides on Tech Writer News.

* A style guide is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication, organization or field. The implementation of a style guide provides uniformity in style and formatting within a document and across multiple documents.

The ACS style is a set of standards for writing documents relating to chemistry, including a standard method of citation in academic publications, developed by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The printed versions of the ACS style manual are entitled ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, 3rd ed. (2006), edited by Anne M. Coghill and Lorrin R. Garson, and ACS Style Guide: A Manual for Authors and Editors (1997).

* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

About the right word

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”


Mark TwainNovember 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

Mark Twain
November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

Samuel Langhorne Clemens  better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “the Great American Novel.”

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion’s newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” which became very popular and brought nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well received. Twain had found his calling.

He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Free Microsoft Office 2010 Certificate – Step by Step Instructions

Written by Angel Candelario


The Microsoft Office 2010 suite is an essential collection of desktop applications that includes Word for documents, Excel for spreadsheets, PowerPoint for presentations, Access for databases and much more.

GCFLearnFree.org® offers cost-free online courses in Word 2010, Excel 2010, Power Point 2010 and Access 2010.   These classes include a certificate plus a CEU Transcript. 

Steps to obtain the certificate

Step 1 – Create an account

Create an account


Step 2 – Class Registration 

I checked in the course of Excel 2010 to evaluate it.  You may select the online class you want here.



Step 3 – Complete all the tasks assigned in the course in order to obtain the certificate.

excel class

Step 4 – Take Final Exam Online

If you successfully pass the exam, you will get a notification via email along with the link where you can download your certificate and the CEU Transcript. Best of luck!

Excel Certificate

CEU Transcript


Professional Portfolio for Technical Communicators; Part I


Applying for a job can be a stressful experience for anyone, but applying for a job with little or no experience has the added stress and challenge. Therefore, your portfolio is a major component in the application process. A portfolio attests to your work, accomplishments, skills and your ability and experience. If you have the skills and the experience, but never had a job with a title of technical writer, a portfolio will testify in your favor.

A portfolio does not replace a resume, but it can highlight your abilities and what you can offer in the technical writer career. Creating a portfolio shouldn’t be a scary process, you only need to take your time and organize yourself. Take a breath, and try not to get discouraged. In the first part of this article we will review the characteristics of an online portfolio. In the second part of this article we will review the characteristics of a printed portfolio.

With that said, I will guide you on how to prepare your portfolio.

Online vs. Printed Portfolio

My recommendation is to complete two portfolio, one which can take to interviews (print), and another a little longer (online), which you can elaborate a little more. There are some differences between them, so we will discuss them separately. I will start with the online portfolio.

Online Portfolio

The first step to create an online portfolio it’s to choose where to publish it.  I chose the “Chateau” theme from WordPress.  



An online portfolio might include these elements:

  1. Introduce yourself;
  2. Feature articles you have written;
  3. Technical Writing and/or Desktop Samples;
  4. Resume;
  5. Transcript and/or certificates; and
  6. Letters of Recommendation/References.

1. Introduce yourself; this is a brief description to the prospect employer or client about what can you do for them.

2. Feature articles you have written; here you will show any article you have written, like blog articles, newsletters, forums and any other format you can think of (including some college essays).

3. Technical Writing and/or Desktop Samples; you may include here quick reference guide, owner’s manuals among other works.  If you don’t have any work sample you may create your own. 

As part of the research I made to write this article, I selected an owner’s manual from the Manuals Online website. I chose a General Electric Magnetic Swipe Card Reader Owner’s Manual. Once you select the document, please review the instruction manual and draft your own manual using simpler language. Put both the original manual and your rewritten version in your portfolio.  You may see what I done in the following link.

Another idea is to write a training procedure for a common activity, such as teaching how to manage images in Microsoft publisher. You may find this sample here. 

4.Resume; focus on effectively transmit to your prospective employers and clients your ability to contribute effectively to the success of their goals.

5.Transcript and/or certificates; provide a brief paragraph introducing each certificate.

6. Letters of recommendation; post here your letters of recommendation. You may use recommendations posted on social networks like LinkedIn.

Please see below the portfolio example I created as part of this article.  Click on the image.

You can use the following online portfolio as an example.

Tips for Promote/marketing your portfolio

  • Join a professional online communities (LinkedIn, etc.) and networking with other community members;
  • Add your design to gallery websites; and
  • Include a link to your portfolio site in your Facebook profile or any other community you belong to

 Next: Professional Portfolio for Technical Communicators; Part II – Printed Portfolio (April 26, 2013).

About the reader

“The reader…does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him. I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate opens to the left or the right the readers will most certainly go into it.”


C. S. Lewis29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963

C. S. Lewis
29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963

Clive Staples Lewis commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland. He held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–1954, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–1963. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.


Don’t Touch it!; Technical Writers Have a Sense of Humor

Article from Funny Tech Writer blog; posted on September 7, 2011.

Finally, strong evidence that technical writers have a sense of humor when they write documentation. Here is an image from instruction manual for a vacuum cleaner:

Don’t Touch

There’s a seal on the back of the cleaner that seems to fascinate peopledon’t touch it.

  1. It’s there to assist the manufacturing process.
  2. Don’t touch it – you’ll break the cleaner.
  3. It’s not meant to come off, but you can force it off if you try to turn it.
  4. If you succeed, the cleaner will stop working.