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Posts in my writing category focus in some way on the practice of writing. This could involve techniques for organizing content, coming up with ideas, how to get into states of flow, or other topics related to writing. The writing category is broader than simply technical writing, which is the more specific focus of this blog.

The following content is in the writing category:

Updates two years later on my smartphone experiment

AI is accelerating my technical writing output, and other observations

My 2024 technical writing trends and predictions

Podcast: Notes and themes from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

30+ ways I’m using AI in everyday writing life as a technical writer, blogger, and curious human

Podcast: Tech writing and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, with Dan Grabski

Doing research with AI tools -- avoiding the trap of fabricated URLs

My experience trying to write original, full-length human-sounding articles using Claude AI

Chatting about AI trends and tech comm with Fabrizio Ferri Benedetti

What is Diátaxis and should you be using it with your documentation?

[Podcast] AI and APIs: What works, what doesn't

Forrester Report, Coding jobs, Hyper-personalization, RFPs, Call center replacement (Oct 9, 2023)

What I learned in using AI for planning and prioritization: Content strategy might be safe from automation

Open-source contribution myths, Hiring poets to train LLMs, Problems with 'content', AI agents (Oct 6, 2023)

Embracing professional redefinition

New API course topic: Using AI for summaries

New API doc course topic: Using AI for glossary definitions

New API doc course topic: Using AI for language advice

First Look at Oxygen XML's Positron AI Assistant [API doc course]

How the blog-to-book experiment is going: challenges and thoughts

One year later after moving to Seattle

Broadcasting your meeting notes (API documentation topic)

Five basketball strategies and how they might apply to tech comm

Balancing product overviews with getting started tutorials

Videocast: Micro content and Flare -- Conversation with Kate Schneider

Write the Docs Podcast episode 33: Simplified user interfaces, with Anton Bollen

Site analytics for 2020 -- trends, reflections, and thoughts

Measuring documentation quality -- a rubric for developer docs

Documentation templates and The Good Docs Project -- guest post by Ankita Tripathi

The story behind Document360 -- podcast with founder Saravana Kumar

Process for collecting feedback post-release (new article in API doc course)

Write the Docs Podcast episode 32: Self-publishing and AsciiDoc, with Mehmed Pasic

Processes for maintaining existing documentation (new article in API doc course)

Developer experience (DevX) usability (new article in API doc course)

Does working outside with the world as your office actually work?

New article in API course: Processes for reviewing documentation

On cultivating a garden while the world is crumbling around you

Inexpensive media hosting and CLI uploading with Wasabi?

Playing a product design role as a content designer -- podcast with Jonathon Colman

When 10X translates into -10X: debunking the myth of the 10X technical coder/writer

SDK release process article added to API doc course

DX content strategy article added to API doc course

Processes for managing large documentation projects and small documentation requests

A tip for doc reviews -- bring a list of questions

Write the Docs Podcast episode 30: Documentation templates, with Juan Lara

Writing productivity tip: Focus sessions

Treat code like code and prose like prose

Write the Docs Podcast episode 28: UX writing processes and considerations

Life on reset -- new dynamics emerging

Working from home — things I've bought

How life has changed with the pandemic

Is there a place for exploratory writing in the workplace?

*How* you write influences *what* you write — interpreting trends through movements from PDF to web, DITA, wikis, CCMSs, and docs-as-code

Reflections on my 2019 site analytics

Long-term strategies for project productivity

How to avoid inefficiencies even with context switching

My slide links and presentation descriptions at the 2019 STC Summit

First look at Document360 -- an authoring/publishing tool that satisfies both KB and tech pubs needs

When you're in the business of complexification

Why I decided not to become a grasshopper expert, or, Not deciding your focus based on where readers are clicking

A hypothesis on how to exert more influence and visibility inside the corporation

Master's in technical writing at Mercer — FAQ

Results from survey about engineers who write documentation

My documentation takeaways from the Boeing disaster -- two essential doc questions to ask for any project

Should you get a degree in a tech comm program? Two considerations to keep in mind

Write the Docs podcast episode 20: Minimum requirements for good tech docs, with Matt Reiner

Recording and slides for my trends presentation at the Symposium for Communicating Complex Information (SCCI)

How to become a 10X technical writer in the workplace

Is Premium Grammarly worth it for identifying style and grammar issues in tech docs?

Top 10 holiday gifts for technical writers

How to avoid being a secretary for engineers

I'd Rather Be Writing is now an Alexa Flash Briefing skill

Write the Docs Podcast Episode 17: Structured Writing -- reasons and approaches, with Mark Baker

Brainstorming by transposing patterns from one category to another

Tech comm trends -- why tech writers will be collaborating more with engineers

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part I)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part II)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part III)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part IV)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part V)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part VI)

Tech comm trends: Providing value as a generalist in a sea of specialists (Part VII)

Write the Docs Podcast episode 16: An open-source Grammarly for tech docs?

How I handled data for about 10 device specifications on the same page -- the advantages of a flexible, customizable web-based framework like Jekyll

If writing is no longer a marketable skill, what is?

The right story for tech writers to tell in a corporate blog post

Random reflections on the throwaway mentality in our culture

The reason I always find time to write on this blog

Write the Docs Podcast episode 14: Humanizing your documentation

How to become a voracious reader

How do you communicate user progress in a course without a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Intro to API Documentation -- recording of presentation to STC Silicon Valley chapter on 11/20/2017

Balancing writing, editing, and learning in equal measures

SwaggerHub: A collaborative platform for working on OpenAPI/Swagger specification files, and more

Has plain language deepened or ruined our delight in language?

Write the Docs Podcast episode 9: Chatbots in Documentation

Why Stack Overflow's Documentation effort failed -- a few thoughts from a technical writer's perspective

Why simple language isn't so simple: the struggle to create plain language in documentation

The problem with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in documentation

Amazon begins pilot with voice-interactive user manuals

Simplifying my life and writing

Guest post -- The effects of terminology consistency on the reader's comprehension and attitude

Adobe FrameMaker 2017 -- time, tools, and the tech writer’s focus on content

Are technical writing blogs growing or dying?

What is the technical writer's role in content marketing?

Analyzing top posts on my blog during 2015 — Deciding between brand versus readership

Guest Post: Could Software Perform Technical Writing? by Robert Desprez

The Author Experience -- Interview with Rick Yagodich

The Rebirth of My Podcast

Incorporating Elements of Speech into Writing

Guest Post: Core Skills for Technical Writers Often Overlooked

Writing as a Holy Calling

Is Collaborative Authoring Over-Hyped?

A Life of Its Own: An Essay About an Article That Was Never Published

A Reverse Approach to Help Authoring: Writing Documentation Post-Release

A Lifetime of Reading Versus a Lifetime of Writing

Writing My Last Chapter

Why Is Corporate Blogging So Hard?

What Does It Mean to Be Innovative?

Text Matters

Being Contrarian

Tiny Tasks and Content Dilution

Typography for Lawyers

The Long Tail Applied to Writing

NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo Start Nov 1

Choosing Between Academic and Corporate Life: Did I Make the Wrong Choice?

"Tell me a story" -- Advice from Writers

Write When Inspired, Rest When Tired

Blogging as an Outlet for Technical Writers

50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills | Developers Toolbox | Smashing Magazine

Why I Don't Take Freelance Writing Jobs Anymore

Great Books by Writers Who Aren't Dead Yet

'Lost the Fire – How to Rekindle It' – A Second Response

Answering Reader's Questions: 'My Desire to Write Burns in My Heart Daily'

Interview with Me in TechCraft

Stoking the Creative Muse: How Finding Ideas to Write About Is Similar to Remembering Your Dreams

"A self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration"

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.