2011 Retrospective

For the most part, I'm quite happy with everything that I was able to accomplish last year. I've moved cities (for the second year in a row) and last year I changed jobs twice: in both cases, I think the current will stick for a while. And I'm working on other projects, with some impressive speed. Last year wasn't been great for finishing things, but I guess there's room for improvement this year.

After a fair amount of professional angst I'm finally doing pretty much exactly what I want to be doing: I'm writing a substantial/total revision of a software manual for a company developing an open source database system. I'll leave you to figure out the details, but it's great.

A couple years ago, I said to myself, that I wanted to be a "real technical writer," which is to say, work with engineering teams, write documentation and tutorials for a single product or group of products, and operate on a regular release schedule. I've done a great deal of writing for technology companies: from project proposals and journalism, to tutorials and content for distributors, to white papers, marketing, and sales materials. Delightfully, I've managed to get there, and in retrospect it's both somewhat amazing, and incredibly delightful.

A while back, I had dinner with a friend who's been doing the same thing I do for a long time (we know each other through folk dance and singing,) and by comparing our experiences it was great to learn that my experience is quite typical, both in terms of the work I'm doing and the procedural engineering practice frustrations (e.g. "What do you mean you changed the interface without telling me?!?!")


At work we have this thing where we send in an account of what we did during the day so that other people know what we're working on, and so that we can keep our team on the same page. After all, when you're all looking at computer screens all day, and in a few different time zones, it's easy to loose track of what people are working on.

At the bottom of these emails, we're prompted to ask "what are your blockers and impediments." Often I say something clever like "Compiler issue with Spacetime interface or Library." Or something to that effect. It feels like a good description of the last year.

Onward and Upward!

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