Five years ago I left a lucrative high tech career and became a writer. As in, fiction writer, theater writer, blog writer, but definitely NOT tech writer. I had a heavy-hitting tech career for 15 years, even taught tech writing and digital publishing, and was lead judge in a Silicon Valley technical writing competition. I was Mister Resume. I burned out hard.
Five years ago I started traveling the country, writing, visiting peeps, and eventually settled here in New Orleans. I've avoided tech writing and anything techie like the plague, and few friends in New Orleans even know about that time of my life. Ya'll call me an actor! But tech work has followed me here. Recruiters still email me and well-meaning friends offer work. I say no. I've been saying no for five years and getting by on part-time jobs that a recent high school graduate could do. All to leave myself free for fiction, my true passion.
A few hours ago, I turned in my first draft of a software manual, my first technical writing contract in five years. Money's tight (tres tight) and this project just fell into my lap. A referral from a gaw-jious San Francisco friend and colleague, Jen Dalton. Comparatively speaking, it's a light-weight project in terms of scope and time commitment. But more importantly, the project came at a time when I'm *willing* to take-on a tech writing project again. That's a key difference. Not so stubborn right now. Money's part of that difference, but also I may have recovered from burn out, in part.
As I said, this project is a small, tentative step. I don't yet feel the time conflict I used to feel between tech writing and my art, in which art always lost. In fact, I'm writing more in general, both kinds. This week I whipped out a detailed 10-page first draft of the manual and pushed the novel forward another 1000 words.
On the confidence of this project and others to follow, I may be moving. Yesterday I looked at a shotgun house that's for rent, and talked to a good friend about sharing.