I firmly believe that if you’re not learning, you’re not living. With that in mind, let’s look at some things I learned in 2015:
That new technologies can tell stories — and what that might imply for the future
How not to enhance a brand — whether it’s your company’s or your personal brand
Sound advice on the art of estimating projects for technical communication (I especially recommend the two articles that are linked in the postscript)
The importance of connotations: of using words in the way your reader understands them, not in the way you think your reader should understand them (or as Mark Baker might phrase it, writing in a way that makes use of the stories you share in common with your reader)
An amusing example of how languages evolve and interact with each other
The need for patience, and resisting the impulse to jump in and do it now
Two essential skills for every nonfiction writer: knowing what to take out, and letting readers experience the story for themselves
Making mistakes, and learning from them
My most-read article this year, by far, posed the question What should a Technical Communication course teach? The responses to that article proved the need for a profession-wide conversation on this topic, but (alas) I don’t think the conversation has gotten off the ground. Yet.
Perhaps that’ll change in 2016 — a year in which I look forward to lots more living and lots more learning.
What was the coolest thing you learned in 2015? The most surprising thing?