Join the LDSTech Blog Project and Write Articles for Your Portfolio
If you're looking for an opportunity to get some writing experience, consider joining the LDSTech Blog project. LDSTech is a site focusing on IT projects from the LDS Church for volunteer community members. For example, some projects have the goal of building an iPhone app, or making sites more accessible, or coming up with infographics.
I'm heading up a project within this community called LDSTech Blog. On this project, volunteer members help write and edit articles for the LDSTech Blog, pictured below.
If you're an English major wondering how you'll get a job after your graduate, or if you're a creative writer sweating your time in an MFA program thinking about how to transition into the real world (that was me), this is a perfect opportunity.
People are always asking me how to break into technical writing. In fact, just tonight I was responding to someone who explained that they don't have any experience, that they're struggling to find an internship or entry-level position.
You know how I transitioned into technical writing? I had a job as a web copywriter for a health and nutrition startup. I wrote all kinds of content for the company, from web articles to press releases to product descriptions. I compiled my best pieces into a portfolio and brought it to my interview for a technical writing job at a financial company.
One of my articles explained how protein worked (because the health and nutrition company sold protein pills to triathletes). One interviewer read the article and was impressed by the clear, articulate way I explained protein. She herself had a PhD in biology, so this topic was something she could evaluate. I beat out a handful of other candidates precisely because I had a strong portfolio, even though almost none of it involved traditional technical writing deliverables.
If you want to transition into technical writing, or any kind of writing career, a strong portfolio will help you get a foot in the door. You need some interesting, well-written articles to influence your interviewers. If you don't mind writing articles related to technology projects for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), and you can work remotely and use virtual tools to communicate (email, phone, skype, chat, IM, video, ec.), and you have some bandwidth to do some writing and editing this summer, and you want some serious blessings for volunteering, then this opportunity is for you.
As you write and edit articles for the blog, I'll give you feedback and guidance and explain ways to improve your writing. Any thing you write you can include in your portfolio, and if my experience working with you is a positive one, I will write you a reference letter.
But really, only sign up for the LDSTech Blog project if you're serious about helping out. If you're just slightly curious and don't have any extra cycles to write or edit content, then maybe keep the idea in the back of your mind for a future time when you're more available.
If you are interested in getting involved, do the following:
- Contact the local missionaries through mormon.org and get baptized right away. There are only six lessons and within 2 weeks you can .... Just kidding! You don't have to be Mormon to work on these projects.
- Register for an LDS Account -- this gives you a login to Church sites. By the way, you don't need to be LDS to have an LDS Account. Go to http://ldsaccount.lds.org and click Register for an LDS Account. Walk through the screens and sign up. (Skip the section that asks for your membership record number.
- Send me your LDS Account username. I'll then add you to the project and give you more information.
That's it. Once you join, I'll immediately add you to our Google Group and share a Dropbox folder with you. I'll then ask if you're interested in writing an article about a specific project. I'll give you a person to call, you'll call them, conduct a phone interview to gather information, and then write up a 500 to 800 word article. I'll review the article and give you feedback. I'll suggest ways you can shape the article better, and so forth. Maybe it will be perfect already. After we finalize the article, I'll submit it through the necessary approval processes and then publish it on LDSTech.
Does this sound interesting to you? Want to get involved? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions. I'd love to work with you.
Note: If you're a teacher, you could use this as an assignment for students. Even if they only write one article through the project, it could be a much more realistic experience than doing a theoretical exercise from a workbook.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.