How to Get Good at Technical Writing

10 Jan
2012
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Would you like to become a technical writer? Would you like to know how to improve your skills in technical writing?

As I am a white paper writer, I have written scores of technical white papers and content on topics like cloud computing, CRM, IT healthcare, content management, security software, etc. Most of my work is on technical subjects. As a white paper writer it’s necessary to be good at technical writing as white papers are regularly required by companies that sell expensive technical products.

The tips below should help you improve your technical writing skills, whether you’re a white paper writer, technical writer or are planning to become one…

1. Keep it simple: That’s the first point every technical writer should keep in mind. The writing has to be simple, simple enough for a 9th grader to understand what you’re writing. This is because many writers assume that, if they know it, everybody else will know it. But the problem is you never know who is going to read your writing and how easy or complicated they will find your writing to be. If your content is read by someone who is new to the subject and it’s written in the most complicated words, they won’t understand a bit of it. To learn how to measure the readability of your writing, read this post.

2. Reference your writing: Whenever you discuss a new concept in your white paper or have found the information from a different article or website, make sure you reference it. So that people can visit it and clarify that what you’re writing is credible.

3. Provide simple definitions: Whenever you write a complicated term, make sure you provide a definition that explains the term. These definitions will make it easy for readers to read your writing. If your reader comes across a complicated term they know nothing about, they can read your definition and understand what the term means. They don’t have to scratch their heads and visit another website to look for the definition. This is something you don’t want as this could lead them away from reading your writing.

4. Make it easy to read: Along with keeping it simple, you need to make sure it’s easy to read. You can make your writing easy to read by keeping your paragraphs and sentences short. Also add sub headings to your writing. You could also add some good design to go with your writing. Using words with fewer syllables can also make your writing easy to read.

5. Get it read: After you finish writing it, get it read by a good technical writer and ask them if your writing is up to the mark. You could get it proofread by a good technical editor. You could also ask someone who is completely new to the subject to read it and give you their opinion. This is something I used to do. It helped me get an idea of how simple my writing should be and what the reading level of someone who is completely new to the subject would be like.

If you implement some of the above technical writing skills in your writing, you should see an improvement in your technical writing skills.

Hope you find this post helpful. Are you a technical writer? Do you regularly write technical content? Would you like to share some of your technical writing tips and techniques? Please leave your comments in the comments box below.

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