by Peter C. Conrad
There is an accepted view today that if you want to be a professional writer, you are will have to write in many different areas. In the 1980s when I was discussing what a professional writer was, the view was that they were most writing instructors who had some success in publishing various titles.
What was one gong to do if they wanted to write full time, make a living, develop a real profession? There were some surprising answers: always develop new areas and keep working on what you have. I had already published non-fiction histories, articles, short stories, written for newspapers, but more was needed. As I worked as swimming, lifesaving and canoe instructor, I found few written materials for my students and discovered I could write the materials I needed. It was a contradiction: writing was overlapping with writing again.
Producing instructional materials grew in importance in proving an income as the years past. Adding to my Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts I completed a Bachelor of Education in 1992. By 1993, I was under contract to produce a manual for an office administration software package. In a few years I was creating content and evaluation materials of an Aboriginal Cultural Awareness program being produced in Saskatchewan. Contracts came easily for business administration programs for the Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council, the Entrepreneurship and Small Business Program produced by the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, and by 2000, TrainingScape working out of Seattle. Other courses included safety practices and procedures in an oil refinery.
Continuing in 2000 and the years that followed, I worked as a consultant with Embanet Corporation in Toronto with clients that included ergonomics courses for Global Solutions, a graduate course in Distance Education for Boston University, Graduate course for Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and a series of design, art history, and general course for the Art Institute Online in Pittsburgh.
My work in instructional design and non-fiction writing continued to serve me well when I began working with The Heritage Community Foundation, in Edmonton, Alberta. In the role of Senior Editor, I produced content for the Alberta Online Encyclopaedia that can be accessed at http://www.albertasource.ca I researched and wrote most of the text for Alberta’s Aviation Heritage, and some parts of the Métis in Alberta, The Heritage of the Mighty Peace, and wrote content and was the instructional designer for Edukits.ca,