Learning a skill takes time. Becoming very good at it takes even longer. To become a very good technical writer you need to:
Learn the necessary technical writing skills
Practice these skills on a daily basis to keep them sharp
It’s easy to get complacent once you have settled into a good paying technical writing job. Or have developed a successful freelance technical writing business.
The daily duties and responsibilities of the job keep you occupied. Complacency sets in. And your technical writing skills are not as sharp as they used to be. This will have a negative effect on the quality of your documents and projects.
To avoid this, you must practice your technical writing skills as often as you can – ideally on a daily basis.
How to practice technical writing on a daily basis
Follow these five steps to keep your technical writing skills sharp and up to date:
Set aside time every day and call this your technical writing practice time. It could be 30 – 60 minutes. Give this time its deserved importance. Don’t let emails, phone calls, friends, family and co-workers distract you.
Take a manual, process, procedure, proposal, or brochure and study it. Think about the target audience and what the writer was trying to communicate.
Next, think about how you could make it better. Is there something the writer missed? Or is there a place where you could insert some user feedback?
Rewrite it. Include anything you think might make the document more specific and/or user friendly. It may be that the original document was precise and you will not need to modify it. Or the original document may be confusing and you may have to rewrite it completely.
Do this little exercise on a regular basis.
There are three advantages of this daily exercise:
By writing everyday you will keep practicing your technical writing skills.
You will learn something new every day – about processes, products, current trends, writing styles and formats.
You can use the writing you do as writing samples and include them in your portfolio.
Besides the above exercise, you can subscribe to technical manuals and publications specific to the industry you’re currently working in. And we here at TWTK will be sending you useful and relevant information every week.
Think of your technical writing skills like a set of knives. Each knife’s blade must maintain its sharpness to be effective. Only then will it cut precisely.
If you can write a simple sentence in English and organize your thoughts then technical writing may be a rewarding field. You can easily make it a second income stream in your spare time.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary for technical writers is $60,380. Freelance technical writers can make from $30 to $70 per hour.
The field of technical writing is like a golden city. It’s filled with wealth, rewards and opportunities. After learning technical writing you can branch out into business writing, marketing writing and communications writing. All of these can become additional income streams.
But to succeed you must learn how to market yourself to clients. You have to prove to them that you are an invaluable asset. That’s where ProTech – Your Fast Track to Becoming a Successful Technical Writer can help. It’s a technical writing course that does two equally important things: