Everything You Need to Know About Technical Writing

By Kelly Tabbutt

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a unique type of writing that is distinct from other types of writing such as creative writing, business writing, or even academic writing.  In terms of writing style, technical writing is typically instructional and explanatory.

Technical writing emphasizes “clarity, accuracy, conciseness, readability, and legibility,” write Lay, Walstrom, Rude, Selfe, and SelzerIt is designed to help others make decisions and complete tasks.”

What Does a Technical Writer Do?

“Simply put, technical writers explain things,” writes technical writer Kate Schneider.

Professional technical writers may write instruction manuals, user manuals, how-to guides, and other documents that instruct and direct, or offer explanations of complex concepts, to readers.

Professional technical writers write documents that instruct and direct, or offer explanations of complex concepts, to readers (e.g., user manuals, how-to guides). #technicalwriting #writing

woman with servers -- fancy comma blog
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Technical writers use their research and writing skills to present complex concepts and specialized or technical terminology in straightforward terms to help instruct, direct, or otherwise guide readers. Technical writers must be very skilled in researching a topic to discover all of its nuances and make them apparent for readers.  Technical writing can be very research-heavy and requires a high level of familiarity and expertise in the given topic.

Technical writing may also include copyediting technical documents that are already written, to make them more understandable and engaging while remaining technically precise.

The key to technical copywriting is to produce clear, concise, technically correct, and stylistically appealing written work that is not only understandable, engaging, and informative to a wide audience.  People do not read technical writing for fun, but to understand something, or figure out how to do something.

How to Become a Technical Writer

Most often, becoming a technical writer requires holding a bachelor’s degree. Many employers of technical writers will require their applicants to complete placement tests for grammar, spelling, editing, and general writing skills. These tests will assess the applicant’s abilities for writing and editing to produce clear, concise, and grammatical and technically correct work.

Employers of technical writers will often, but not always, require that the endeavoring technical writer have academic and research experience in the field for which they are trying to become a technical writer. Technical writing requires a strong ability to research and thoroughly understand specialized knowledge and terminology. Further, most employers will also require years of experience in researching, writing, and/or copy-editing in the field(s) in which they focus.

Technical writing requires a strong ability to research and thoroughly understand specialized knowledge and terminology. #writing #technicalwriting #freelancewriting

For this reason, having experience studying the field in an academic setting as well as having academic research and academic, peer-reviewed writing experience in the field for which you will be writing is highly valuable to – and often required by – potential employers. Particularly for those without technical writing or copy-editing experience, this academic research and writing experience serves as your professional experience.

Experience studying, researching, and writing in the field – or any adjacent fields – in which you will be a technical writer clearly shows the reliability of your research and writing skills to a potential employer and their clients. Further, your own research papers can act as a writing sample for potential employers.

Relatedly, for these reasons, it is best to seek technical writing or copy-editing positions for an employer who focuses on the fields in which you have experience. Even if you plan to branch out to other fields, it is best to use the field(s) you are most familiar with as a launch pad for building a wider breadth of experience.

woman with laptop -- fancy comma blog
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Technical Writing Examples

Technical writing is very direct and straightforward and, as its name implies, very technically precise.  The goal of technical writing may vary, but is often instructional in nature.  Examples of technical writing may include compiling a how-to guide to downloading and installing a software program, or writing full-length, detailed user guides.

Technical writing is very direct and straightforward and, as its name implies, very technically precise. #writing #technicalwriting #freelancewriting

Technical writing and copy-editing services are used to produce or refine a range of written materials including, but not limited to:

  • Instructional manuals
  • Tutorials
  • Blog posts
  • Informational pages for websites

Look to Fancy Comma, LLC for Your Technical Writing Projects

Fancy Comma, LLC is the best writing service for quality technical writing. Our team of professional writers have a total of over three decades of research and writing experience. We offer adept and tested technical writing and copy-editing services that span across a wide range of disciplines and topics.

While the majority of our technical writing clients come from the technology industry, we are also skilled in health, policy, science, business, and policy technical writing.

Professional technical writing services are just one of the many copywriting and editing services we provide.  Our professional scientific technical writers also offer scientific research paper and eBook writing, and other content writing, research, ghostwriting, and editing services.

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