Many non-technical writers ask me how they can become a technical writer. My first response is this: You’re already a writer! You have to have the same skills as any writer – good grammar, good research, and good composition. I always say that every piece of writing needs a Beginning, a Middle, and a Happy-Ever-After ending! Technical writing is no different, except for a couple of important points.
Technical writing, as opposed to fiction, autobiographical or novel writing, has the following characteristics:
The one thing that is absolutely essential? Curiosity. Your role is to make the complex understandable. To do that, you need to dig deep and find a way to explain it. If you don’t understand the concept yourself, you’ll never be able to explain it to anyone else!
If you have a company web site or a blog and want to attract more business (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) there is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to do it. Best of all, you probably have everything you need to start, and it won’t break the bank!
A case study is a résumé of a successful transaction between you and your client or a project. It might not have gone smoothly, but it must have had a successful outcome to be a good case study. A good case study is about two to three pages long. It can be much longer if you have more details and statistics or if it was a complicated project, but you must be careful to not give away any confidential or proprietary information to others, including your competitors!