The next regular program meeting for the STC Canada West Coast chapter is a joint event, organized by various communications-related groups in the lower mainland. Featuring a speakers’ panel that includes a comic book artist, musicians and songwriters, authors, and a video game developer, this event looks to be more community-driven and artistic in nature.
When I first read about this event I wondered about the relevance of this type of panel to our work as technical communications professionals. I asked this question in a private email chain to our programs team, and immediately felt convicted as I clicked “Send Message”.
My career as a professional technical writer is still in its infancy. However, my career as a communicator can be traced back into my childhood. I drew comic books, wrote short stories, produced a community youth-oriented newspaper, wrote and performed original songs, promoted a band through press releases and bios, wrote various business documents, developed training materials, programmed websites, designed graphics…and it isn’t over yet.
I recall back to when I first connected with the STC in 2005, the annual conference for that year was in Seattle. As one of the events, the organizers promoted an open jam session for writers who also performed music. This encouraged me in my career search, because I love playing music. It was great to see that others enjoyed music and technology, and also adapted their skills to technical communication.
According to Odile Morrison, immediate past-president and the event liaison for the STC CWC chapter, many technical communicators find release in other forms of writing besides product documentation. This event is meant to inspire this other side of our writing lives, and provide a forum to “Meet a diverse panel of writers and engage in a lively discussion about stories and narrative in games, comic books, new media, books (fiction and non fiction), and song.”
Taking this idea further, I believe that many technical communicators adapted their writing skills as a means to support their artistic pursuits. If you’re one of them, may I be so bold as to suggest that, over time:
You are still passionate about writing, but your life gets in the way of your art.
You fell in love with the depth of this field and put your other interests on hold.
You maintain a balance between writing for work and writing for pleasure.
You truly love well-written documentation, whether technical or artistic.
You may even fit into a category all on your own.
Regardless of your personal situation, I strongly encourage everyone to come to this Writing.Wise event, and prepare to be encouraged and inspired by our guest panel. Also, be prepared to discuss your other literary and artistic pursuits with other writers in attendance.
Writing tends to be a lonesome sport. As we play in isolation, few understand the problems we solve on a day-to-day basis, and fewer still appreciate our use of well-placed sentence fragments. Like this one. We need community to help keep the fire alive, and this is why we should consider joint events of this type as being important to us and our careers.
This event is organized by the STC Canada West Coast, Vancouver Comicon, SFU Writing & Publishing, The Shebeen Club, FrogHeart Communications, and the Masters of Digital Media program, (itself a joint venture between UBC, SFU, BCIT, and ECIAD), and sponsored by WritersUA.
You can find more details at:
Date: Tuesday Nov 13, 2007
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Cost: $15 for members of related groups, $20 for others
For the latest updates about this event, check out the writing.wise blog at: writingwise.vox.com
Register online: www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=47&EID=1960
Tony Chung writes about technology, trends, communication, and all the cool stuff. Contact him through web site portfolio.