"To write an effective technical material, one needs to hone his creativity. It takes creativity, after all, to shorten expressions."
- Sheila Viesca, TalkShop

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Your Guide to Becoming a Good Technical Writer

When you read instruction booklets, medical reports, operating manuals, or appendices, you are reading examples of technical writing. Articles for marketing purposes such as press releases and promotional terms and conditions, or for specialized projects such as grant proposals or business reports, are also examples of technical writing.

Who are the people who write these documents? What kind of educational background is required to take on such a job? Is it a lucrative profession?

Technical writing is a job handled by a professional writer who is well-versed in the field he is assigned to write for or about. He does not need to hold a specific type of degree, but is expected to have excellent English writing skills. He must also have the ability to understand technical jargon and communicate every report in a clear, consistent manner.

Is technical writing a lucrative profession? Like any job, it really depends on the situation. Some writers work as freelancers and take on a mix of writing jobs from several clients at a time. Others hold full time jobs and do extra writing work on the side. And yes, there are also companies who look for full time technical writers to write their manuals, brochures, and other types of collateral.

What you should remember is, technical writing is just one among many forms of writing a professional writer can be great at. Being trained in technical writing can help you widen your writing portfolio, thereby making you more attractive to a wider range of employers.

If you want to add technical writing as a skill in your portfolio, you can sign up for a technical writing workshop at TalkShop so that you can learn the basics and intricacies behind the subject.

The course first gives you an outline of the importance of technical writing, setting expectations of your output, and how to differentiate technical writing from business writing. It will then progress into grammar review covering common areas of confusion, as well as rules and exceptions. This is something even seasoned writers like to do from time to time, as language and style constantly evolves.

Moving further, the course will give you examples to demonstrate why technical writing isnt exactly technicalthat oftentimes, the writing is needed to translate technical reports into laymans terms.

When it comes to composition, however, we will get technical with you by guiding you through logical sequencing of your ideas, non-technical considerations, and giving you exercises on different formats of technical writing: free-writing, essay writing, and speech writing.

Part of what makes a writer truly skilled is also his ability to proofread and self-evaluate his own compositions, and this course will also cover this by showing you how to avoid redundancies and superfluity, avoid commonly confusing words, implement simplified versions of words and sentence construction, and use proper presentation formats.

The course ends with activities that put together everything you learned from the workshop, followed by an evaluation, which allows your coach to give recommendations on how you can continue to improve on your newly acquired technical writing skills.

By becoming better in technical writing, you will discover that your communication standards will be at a higher level and that your writing style will develop more sophistication and versatility. Further, you will be equipped with increased confidence and productivity when handling and composing business correspondence. It will also take you less effort to proofread and revise technical compositions, whether they be your own or that of junior writers who look up to you for their own development.