It happens to all of us. The lulls. Maybe you just started your job, or maybe you’ve been there for years, but sooner or later you’ll hit a point where the work is just not coming your way. So what can you do? This two-part piece will help ensure that you constantly have the opportunity to show your talents.
So you’ve been a hunter and found a couple one-time jobs from the effort. You could continue to do this every few weeks, but is there a way to make the work come to you? Of course there is.
1. Identify the groups with the most writing
Inevitability, certain groups within an organization are more prone to writing than others. Policy groups or approval boards are great examples. These groups are so used to writing documents, they sometimes miss that technical writers can be a part of the process. With your lead’s permission, contact members of the group and ask to see some examples of the documents they touch every day.
2. Offer to help
After you become familiar with work of the group, keep in contact. “Write any memos lately?” “Still struggling through that policy?” Offer to review it for them. It couldn’t hurt right? And it will save them time in the long run. Make it seem casual, but be sure to do your best work. Provide some thoughtful edits and comments to show a reason to send things your way.
3. Follow up
Stay in contact once you provide the updated document. “Do you need any additional edits?” “How does it look?” This makes them think about and document your value. Learn what they would want differently and keep it in mind for future use.
4. Be available
Don’t be surprised if they want you to review another document along the same lines later on. While these reviews might seem less valuable (you’re a writer after all!) the more you get familiar with the documents, the more useful you are, the more likely they will have you write it yourself the next go around. Pay your dues and never turn down an opportunity to flex your editing muscle. Even if that group only needs you to review, they see your value! If they start to spread the word, more writing projects from different groups are bound to come pouring in.
About the Author
Greta Boller is a technical writer located in the Washington, D.C. area. For more information, please visit her bio page.