Aviation Writing: Utilizing your aviation experience through communication

Aviation Writing Utilizing your aviation experience through communication By Michelle Garetson August 2000 How do you feel about aviation news that is presented on TV or radio or in print? Do you think that the reporting is accurate...

Writer's blocks

When asked if she faced any stumbling blocks when she first started in aviation writing, Bovier replied, "None really. I have, on occasion, been hampered by not being a pilot when writing for pilot books. Credentials are key, especially when writing for technical publications. An article about aircraft maintenance from an aircraft technician working in the industry would certainly be taken more seriously than one from a writer without those qualifications."

Good advice for beginning writers

If you feel a little queasy over expressing your thoughts in words, a trip to the bookstore may help. There are several books and magazines devoted to the business of writing, especially with how and where to submit your articles. Other publications address developing outlines, finding your "voice," and what pay rates you might expect. Writer's Market, considered "The Writer's Bible," features consumer and trade magazines, book publishers, script buyers and more.

Writing courses offered at local colleges are helpful as are local writer's groups and writer's conferences.

Hard questions

"You really need to ask yourself some hard questions," advises Bovier. Some to consider:

• What type of writing am I interested in - how-to articles, historical pieces, news?

• How would I improve on what's been written so far about this subject?

• What types of publications would be a good fit for my work?

Keep in touch

Staying in tune with the industry through reading trade publications, newsletters, and promotional materials gathered at trade shows will help writers develop the kinds of articles that will be of interest for editors and readers alike. Talk with people in the industry - ask them what they read.

Web writing

For those just starting out, the Internet may be the vehicle for your writing. Many online publications welcome new writers. For more information visit www.content-exchange.com or www.writersdigest.com.

Final approach

Writing is like any other craft - you need to have the right tools in place and you need to practice using those tools to hone your skill. Remember your first logbook entry? How does that compare with those you make now? It's the same principle - practice improves your skill.

"Always emphasize good communication - clean and concise," says Bovier. "Clever or overblown wording, if not handled correctly, will muddy the message you want to present."

Beginning writers are often advised to "write what you know." Aircraft maintenance technicians have a wealth of knowledge and information that they have to know to do their jobs, but also they can communicate this knowledge through writing for those inside, as well as outside, the fence.

Don't take our word for it....

The demand for technical writers is expected to continue to increase as technology advances. Scientific and technical information needs to be communicated to others. Growth in high technology and electronics industries will require those who can write technical manuals, user's guides, and training materials. Persons with the technical skills necessary for Internet development will also be in demand.

From the Occupational Outlook Handbook 2000-2001, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Dept. of Labor. For more information about Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Aviation Communication degree, call (904) 226-6000 or (800) 222-3728 or visit the ERAU web site at www.db.erau.edu

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