Technical writing is one of those professions that doesn’t seem to get much in the way of profile. When the writer does their job properly then ideally no-one will notice, because their work is designed to facilitate the use of something else and it is associated with the product’s excellence. When it’s bad their work is associated with frustration and nobody likes that so sometimes there’s a negative association. So why is technical writing important?
It’s Different from “Creative Writing”
Technical writing differs from what is known as “creative writing”. Creative authors are free to develop pretty much any material they like, fact or fiction. They can display their content in a way that appeals to them, and there are no major structural requirements apart from the obvious like; “DONT USE ALL CAPS TO TYPE” or “learn to spell and punctuate”.
That doesn’t mean that technical authors aren’t creative but it does mean they are much more structured. The true professional develops documents that are not only to be read but are practically useful. Users may never recognise the skill that takes but they surely appreciate it when they fly through a manual and get started in an instant with a new product.
It’s a very Versatile Profession
Great technical writers can deliver a wealth of work, not just user manuals (though that’s a big part of it) but some or all of these pieces too:
- Training Courses
- Functional Specifications
- User Requirements Documents
- Process Mapping
- Marketing Material
- Business Letters
- And Many More
Which means that you may not recognise that there are many more technical authors than there are people with the title. Business analysts, trainers, software developers, analysts, marketing teams all have their fair share of unlabelled professionals.
Almost Every Business Needs One
While there may be a few exceptions like self-employed window cleaners for example, who don’t need the services of a business writer, they are few and far between. Every product that comes with a user manual, every company that has policy documents, every service that requires marketing will need a technical writer of some form or description.
And that tells you that not only is the profession important but it’s vital to a working business world, even a can of spray deodorant has a list of instructions on it (like don’t spray this stuff in your eyes) making it a job with endless opportunity for variety and contribution.
Nick is the President of [http://www.authoring4u.com] a specialist consultancy based in Shenzhen China, which helps companies from around the world save time and money in the areas of; technical documentation, Internet presence and marketing and Press Relations.