Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Writing SPE Papers - A New Niche

I used to decline clients who wanted me to write, or polish, technical papers for submission to the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). It was like a weird blind spot, because I work on all other types of technical documents, including white papers and editorial articles for technical journals. This was just a place I did not dare to tread. Was I good enough? Could I handle the formatting? And what about all those references? I guess you could say, I was intimidated (FYI, as a New Yorker, that's rarely the case). It was one thing to teach graduate engineering students at the University of Houston all the mechanics to write such papers, and a totally different experience to actually produce one!

Believing in my own proven philosophy that "good writers can write about anything," I recently took the plunge. Luckily, there was some content already available, but it was not in what I would call "readable" shape. With an audience made up of so many readers that speak English as a second language, it's essential to break down sentences into digestible chunks. The SPE guidelines are even calling for shorter sentences that are easier to understand. A trend I think we can all applaud.

So, I took a deep breath and treated this job like any other...wrapped my brain around the complex topic, so I could explain it in plain English...and went into the zone, where all the magic happens for a writer. With only one round of edits, I'm happy to report that both my client and their customer were very pleased with the results.

Going forward, I will gladly accept SPE paper writing assignments and feel confident it is a new viable niche for me. Calling all engineers: bring it on!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


We all love a good story! And it doesn't have to be in the form of a full-length book, or movie for that matter. At the end of the day, all of our blog posts and every piece of marketing collateral tell a story. So, it's the role of the copywriter to convey as a compelling a story as possible. Regardless of how dry or technical the product may be, there is an interesting story to be revealed and a creative angle to be found...if you dig deep enough. That's my job, as I see it, to find what's unique and cool about any item I am hired to help promote, and then go for it! Extoll its value, how it improves a process or everyday life, why it saves money and time compared to the competition, and finally, the pitch for taking action and making the purchase. I love what I do, and I now realize why -- I fall in love with the story as it unfolds through research, interviews, and insights I get along the way. Is this really work? Of course it is, but having fun doing your work makes it rewarding on many levels. The best part being when people love your story, too!!!