This week a former colleague asked me for a few resources for beginning interpretive writers, because he was looking to guide a few newbies whose panels were sounding like MA theses. Interpretive writing is one of those professions that doesn't have a clear path to get to. Most of the writers that I know learned on the job from more senior writers, reading books and maybe a few creative writing courses.
My own path to interpretive writing and planning was a circuitous route… from an undergrad in communications, to marketing, to an MA in film studies, to book publishing, to interpretive writing and exhibit development. It's common to have history, biology, environmental studies or other backgrounds before finding interpretation. I'll be honest, I didn't know the profession even existed when I heard of a job opening at my first interpretive design firm, AldrichPears Associates.
So here are a few practical tricks that I used when I started out. Some I still use today to check on my writing to make sure I'm on track.
Have a tip to add? Or a question? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.