Posts Tagged ‘Technical Writing’

Preparing Yourself for Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

Most of the reader who have recently completed their education are preparing for their interviews. Probably some of them have not decided their career option till now. If you have ever came across Technical Writing profile, this article helps you to prepare for technical writing. Remember, once you choose this profile as career option, you have to write everyday something. To provide quality documents your writing style should be very good. Follow these guidelines to improve your writing skills.

  1. Write Everyday: As a technical writer you have to write a lot on different technologies. So, to improve your writing skills and develop good quality documents, you need to practice a lot. Write everyday something on a topic or about your daily routine. This gives you a chance to think quickly while writing.
  2. Read Something Everyday: Reading is also a technique to improve your writing skills. When you read an article or document, you learn different writing styles. Everyone have their own writing style and you can learn or pick some writing styles from those documents.
  3.  Proofread: During writing, sometimes you did not remember the basic guidelines of writing and commit the same mistakes. To overcome these mistakes proofread your document after completing scripting. Make it a habit to proofread your written documents, this improves your writing.
  4.  Update your writing skills: Check out the general guidelines of writing at a regular interval. Sometimes, writing style varies for different documents. Various writing tools are available in the market. Update yourself with these writing tools to make your writing effective.
  5.  Specialize in a domain: To enhance your market values try to write on a particular subject. Expertise yourself in a subject of your choice – ranging from a software to technology. This makes you expert in a specific field or technology. I had to write a lot on Adobe InDesign, and Dreamweaver.
  6.  Be Confident: Confidence gives you the power to face a problem. Be confident while asking or answering a question. Control your emotions, and try to show your confidence on your face. While interviewing, initially, you feel that subject matter experts (SME’s) are quite complex. But keep yourself updated with latest technologies, and learn how to ask questions. Make notes, and a list of questions to ask. You get expertise in the subject as time goes.

In this way, your writing skills will be improved which helps you to shape your career.

Different Types of Writing

August 25, 2012

When we talk about writing, it can be of any kind. Type of writing can vary, depending on the style, motive or technology on which you are writing. In my technical writing career, I have done various kind of writing, and today I want to share my knowledge on different types of writing which are given here:

  1. Technical Writing: It refers to writing technical concepts, and ideas in an easy to understand method. Today cell phones, computers, televisions, and refrigerators become an essential part of our life. Thus, it is necessary to understand installing, and troubleshooting these gadgets. Technical Writing involves writing on these kinds of gadgets, and creating online help, user manuals, installation guides, reports and other technical documents.
  2. Content Writing: It refers to writing on various fields, such as business, technology, politics, market, and research. Generally, content writing deals with the contents prepared for web. Main objective of content writing is to understand the target audience, and prepare content that can catch their attention. Content writing also used to prepare the content on the basis of search engine optimization to achieve the top ranking on the search engines.
  3. Copy Writing: Copy writing refers to write the content for advertising and media to promote a product, a group, a company, or an idea. Aim of copy writing is to sell a product, service, or suggest your target audience to choose your business, or organization. Copy writing may also deals in creating proposals, whitepapers, newsletters, brochures, press release, and other promotional materials.
  4. Creative Writing: It covers a broad range and involves writing on different topics – fiction or non-fiction. Generally, creative writing includes writing short stories, poems, and novels. Main objective of creative writing is to look the world from a different perspective, and express your thoughts creatively.
  5. API Writing: This kind of writing deals with application programming interface. API is a source code interface provided to interact with applications. API writing involves writing for programmers or developers. API writing helps end users to learn about the API functions, their purposes, and parameters that are available in the application. In simple words, API writing tells you, what a function is supposed to do.
  6. Instructional Designing: Instructional designing deals with systematic development of learning objectives using instructional concepts and theories. Instruction design is used to make the learning as much interesting as possible. This kind of writing is widely used to prepare induction training programs.
  7. Journalism: Journalism refers to writing and reviewing, articles and news. Journalism is related to writing the content for print media like (newspaper, and magazines), and electronic media like (television, radio, and internet). Journalist reports and writes on a variety of topics which includes politics, business, market, health, education, sports, and relationships. Purpose of journalism is to educate, inform, and enlighten the reader.
  8. Editing or Reviewing: It deals with modifying a document, audio or video to meet the end user requirements. Editing and reviewing involves checking the document for consistency, grammatical correctness, and styles used to design the document. This process confirms that documentation or audio/video material is of good quality, and is ready to dispatch.

These are different types of writing used in the industry. Each type of writing requires hard work, focused mind, and a learning temperament.

Importance of Quality in Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

People often respect good quality writing, if you deliver your work in a strong and error-free package, readers take you seriously, and your message comes clearly to your audience. Your words reach people’s hearts and minds. Your writing is more powerful than a sword. It inspires, educates, and sometimes entertains your audience. If your writing is weak, readers say, “So what happen next?” If your writing contains errors, readers may confuse or distract from the actual message.

Interesting, error-free, and quality writing is what people expect when they buy a book. As a technical writer, it becomes your responsibility to provide your audience exactly what they expect. Readers will recommend good quality book to their friends, give it as a gift to their loving one’s, and wait expectantly for your next publication. Reader-by-reader your world gets change. What a tremendous responsibility! What a wonderful benefit!

When you write something that you know, you write it with authority. People listen to you because you are one who knows. Your knowledge is a gift to share among people. If others have different opinion in the field, you are writing about, acknowledge the other side also. Your statement will come across more strongly if the reader knows you have addressed the arguments/questions they would raise.

Remember, once you write something, at least some of the readers are going to believe you. Nobody notices when it is done well, but everyone see your mistakes clearly. Mistakes distract even the most sympathetic reader. Try to use active voice as much as possible because active voice is stronger, and moves the action along. Usage of passive voice seems like you are trying to hide something from your audience. So go ahead, and provide the best quality writing to your readers.

Skills Required in Technical Writing

August 25, 2012

Technical writing is now noticed and gaining recognition with time. Recently, I read about technical writing in the employment news. An article about technical writing was published on the front page. It indicates that people now looking technical writing as a career option. When I have joined as a technical writer, nobody knows about this field. I need to explain about my profession, when someone asked me about it. It makes me quite disappointed when I found that nobody knows about this profile. But, now as I tell somebody about my profession, people praise my work.

The qualities of a good technical writer include analyzing, writing, interviewing, and instructional designing skills. To be a good technical writer, you should be able to understand complex subjects quickly, and explain them in an easy language. You should be able to identify your audience, and explain the things in a simple way. You should be able to write clear, concise, error free, and user friendly documents. Personal and technical attributes are also necessary for a good technical writer.

  • Personal Attributes: As a technical writer, you should be a good listener, and quick learner. You should have good communication and writing skills. You must know organizing your thoughts in a better way, and write them accurately. You should be creative, focused, and able to interact with end users.
  • Technical Attributes: Generally, people having degrees in journalism, English literature, mass communication, and engineering are preferred for technical writing. However, it is not stable, and varies from company to company. For example, a software company prefers a person with technical or engineering backgrounds whereas, a company into media and publication prefers a person with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

With the increase in desktop publishing work, technical writers are increasing regularly. These technical writers are responsible for the publication of books, courseware’s, graphics, and document design. Major tools used by technical writers are as follows:

  1. Microsoft Word
  2. Adobe RoboHelp
  3. Adobe FrameMaker
  4. Adobe Captivate
  5. Adobe Dreamweaver
  6. Adobe Photoshop
  7. Adobe PageMaker
  8. Adobe Acrobat
  9. HTML Help
  10. Snag It
  11. Macromedia Authorware
  12. Epic Editor
  13. Web works

These are certain tools generally used in technical writing. However, if you are not familiar with these tools, you can learn them with time. There are online tutorials available to learn these tools at your own. You can also learn these tools using the Help section included in the software. Some companies hire freshers (having no experience) for technical writing, and train them on these tools. But, if you have the knowledge to work on these tools, then it will give you an advantage in job search.

After all, technical writing is the field of professionals who know “how to keep the balance of content, grammar, and style to achieve the goal”. As a technical writer, you have to produce quality documents that help people to learn, and use the technology easily. You may ask to write documents for people who have different experience level on the technology. So, always keep your target audience in mind while writing.