This week, meet writer Tom L from Sacramento, CA! Check out our blog every Wednesday for a new interview with our super talented and very interesting WriterAccess writers. For more featured writers, visit our Writer Wednesday category.
You’ve contributed a lot of detailed articles about technical writing to our blog. What set you on your technical writing path in the first place?
I’ve always been interested in technical writing since I was in high school. I was that kid who would pour through an encyclopedia set just for the fun of it, and I would often do well on research papers in school because I would over-research things. The same knack carried forward in life in my writing, whether for work or for pleasure. As a result, no surprise, most of my favorite reading is also historical or technical because the details often flesh out the story for me.
What’s your favorite niche in the extensive world of technical writing?
This will likely sound odd but taxation is probably one of the most interesting areas for me as well as estate planning. No, I don’t spend my weekends reading tax manuals. Usually, I’m working a BBQ instead. However, I find both areas so amazing in how much they affect a normal person’s life, but so little is understood about the related intricacies. Just taking the time to understand the mechanics of a proper tax return, for example, can mean the difference of thousands of dollars in annual taxes paid or saved legally.
Do you ever write personally or creatively, or is it strictly business for you?
These days it’s fairly business but I do miss pleasure writing. I was an avid student of creative writing and particularly poetry in my college days. I actually won a regional award from the Academy of American Poets in my twenties. I did quite a bit of self-publishing via ‘zines when I was younger as well.
In your bio, you’ve listed vintage scooters among your interests. Talk about a specific niche! What got you into that?
Part of that hobby was a need for cheap, personal transportation, but it was also darn fun too. How often can a person find a hobby that you can actually learn to build, restore, and ride both for transportation and for fun? I had up to eight vintage scooters at one point, I was so into the hobby. Now, with work and family, I have two models left over which I refuse to let go. One is a 1962 Lambretta scooter and the other in a 1979 Vespa that had a bit of souping up to the engine done on it.
After seventeen years of experience, what advice do you have to offer your fellow writers?
The best thing about writing for others, especially as a business, is that you literally get paid to learn so much more. For me, many articles involve aspects of business or life that I wouldn’t normally get to interact with in the normal course of my career or personal activities. Just from writing I literally have run the the gamut from writing books on emotional intelligence to figuring out how to launch mobile marketing platforms in drinking bars to the best designs to, of course, how to avoid being overtaxed. So I would say for folks, write to learn. Just chasing articles for the money alone gets old and becomes a grind. But if you take projects on to open up a whole new world of understanding, that client ends up paying you far more in benefits than just an article fee.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.