I’ve been tracking the family history since I was eight years old. Some of the things I found puzzled me. For instance, I found out that Nana had a name other than Nana.
She also had five sisters and a brother. I got caught up in the tree aspect of the family and concentrated on dates and names.
In spite of the fact that I am a writer, it never occurred to me to write the family history. Until October this year, 2013. I have been tracking the Trowsdales for more than half a century.
When I was a child, I played in the Crapaud People’s Cemetery and read the stones and thought about the people. However, it was not until October when my mother’s older sister was buried that it dawned on me, this cemetery is full of stories.
Writing and Me
My first job that involved writing was with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. That was in the 1970s. After that, I wrote for a couple of newspapers, both daily and weekly and did a bit of freelancing for national magazines.
In the 1980s, I went back to university and added a master’s degree in history to my repertoire. While I was doing that I started my love affair with computers and technology.
The strange thing is, I tried to set up a way to organize my data and I fell into a vortex that swept me away for a quarter of a century. Instead of writing, I got lost in computers. I built them, fixed them, and taught people about them. Then in an effort to bring writing and computers together, I ended up writing web content and then ghostwriting.
Suddenly in one fell swoop, I made a change bringing together myexpertise with my love. I research and write family histories.
For years, my strength was turning technical mumbo-jumbo into easy to understand language. I can take the same clarity of insight and understanding into history.
Below is something that you might like to see – a kind of resume of what I’ve done and how I got to be the fast, accurate, obsessively nit-picky about details, and easy-talking writer that I am. (And samples of my writing are here: Joanne’s Writing). It’s not that I have a high opinion of my abilities. It’s that I have a lot of experience. I recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers where he says anyone can be an expert in any skill if they have devoted 10,000 hours to that skill. I’ve done that – and more. There were years when I turned out about a quarter of a million words annually. But I digress. Here’s a mini-tour of my background.
More than 35 years experience in writing and research. I have written magazine articles and radio commentaries as well as informational booklets and brochures. My academic experience has given me the ability to research quickly and thoroughly. My writing experience allows me to write fast and articulately. Until November 2009, I was the mayor of Souris, Prince Edward Island, and have facility in research that helps in putting together proposals and writing speeches. As well, I have more than eighteen years experience in computer consulting and training for private industry as well as various levels of government.
Areas of Expertise
- Information System Security
- Project Management including conceptualization, planning, options analysis, client management, team leadership, and project implementation to client satisfaction
- Training and Instruction
- Writing. Prior to joining the computer industry, I was a commentator for CBC Radio and a contract writer for various national magazines such as Chatelaine, Canadian Living, The Financial Post, and various Maclean-Hunter trade magazines. In addition to that, I have also designed and written training manuals and technical documentation manuals.
- Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Internet Webmaster Site Design, E-Commerce
- Certified Lotus Instructor
- Certified Lotus Professional, Principal Designation, Application Development
- Certified Lotus Professional, Principal Designation, System Administration
- Certified Information Systems Security Certification Seminar Program, CGI, Fall 2000
- Database Design, University of Winnipeg, 1995
- Graduate studies (Justice and Social Control, Research Methods, Organizational Behaviour), University of New Brunswick, 1989-90/University of Manitoba, 1991-92
- Masters of Arts, University of New Brunswick, 1988
Current: Fulltime freelance writer and researcher.
January 2007 – November 2009: Mayor of the Town of Souris, Prince Edward Island.
January 2004 – December 2006: Fulltime freelance writer and researcher specializing in technology.
July 2000 to August 2003, Information Systems Security Specialist, CGI. Extensive experience in system administration, knowledge transfer and security analysis.
January 1995 to June 2000, computer consultant and trainer. As well as providing computer training in a wide variety of software programs, and provides specialised consulting on custom software for leading computer training centers (PBSC, General Physics, CDI) I trained privately in one on one and consultative situations. During this time, I also wrote training manuals and collaborated with product management, product design and product verification teams to research and document new products and features as they are developed. This involved researching relevant material, interviewing management and technical staff and pulling the information together in a concise report.
1995, LAN administrator, ARCOR. Managed a cross-platform Novell-AppleTalk local area network with 20 users. ARCOR (Canadian Aging and Rehabilitation Corporation) was disbanded in August 1995 and I provided project management in dismantling the office as well as the computer network.
1992-1997 I was a volunteer with Bluesky Freenet, which provided Manitobans free access to the internet. During this time, I became involved in web design, learning the intricacies of HTML coding and the use of various internet programs and protocols. I also coordinated a volunteer staff of more than fifty.
1988-1994, Contract instructor/computer troubleshooter During this period, I developed expertise in desktop publishing and database management. Among the contracts were Desktop Publisher, Law Society of Manitoba: Desktop published the Bar Admission Course in PageMaker and Computer Instructor, University of Winnipeg.
1974-1985, Writer and Radio commentator I was a researcher and commentator for CBC Radio in Halifax, Moncton and Fredericton. For six years, I wrote, delivered and edited documentaries for local, regional and national radio broadcast. During this time, I also wrote for national publications such as Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Financial Post, Atlantic Advocate and various Maclean-Hunter trade magazines.