Technical Writing for the Creative Writer

Technical Writing for the Creative Writer

By: Emily Watt | Communication Co-op Student
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Use the following steps to write a blog post. 

1.      Search Blog post styles.

2.      Select an Article.

3.      Read through and pick a Style.

4.      Scrap it and do whatever you want. 

As a creative writer, I’ve always been a proponent of long, flowy statements that are descriptive and visually stimulating. Words come naturally to me and seem to appear from my fingertips without so much as a prompt from my brain. When applying for co-op positions, the job title “Business Writer” jumped out at me, demanding my attention. I applied in a heartbeat, knowing that any position with writing must be the one for me. 

I was hired to write tooltips and business guidance for a software program developed by a mid-sized technology company in downtown Vancouver. I was over the moon—I would be writing for a living! Even if I didn’t quite understand what I was meant to be doing, it was writing, and that was enough. 

With no background in technology or business, I worked hard to understand the very complex topics being explained to me, which I would then need to write into short, concise sentences. It was imperative that I communicate information clearly in an easy-to-understand way. I was writing the guidance and explanations for topics such as Case Management (uh…), Employee Share Grants (…what?), and Actual FTE TTM (???). They were dense, difficult topics that I’d never even heard the names of before joining the company, but there I was, trying to explain how a user could use them to analyze their data. 

There isn’t much room for creativity in technical writing, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Learning how to write straight to the point has introduced me to a whole new world of writing and reminded me that writing is often much more than imagery and metaphors. I’ve learned to use creativity in new, technical ways, such as for tips, FAQs, and further information embedded into the content to provide deeper, more informative documentation for users. 

As a business writer, two things have saved my life (and my writing!) time and time again: style guides and best practices documents. These resources provide the knowledge and information necessary to write without asking for clarification every other minute (sorry, Chak!). 

If you’re a writer, you probably already know the type of writing you enjoy. I absolutely suggest branching out and applying for a position that takes you out of your writing comfort zone! You, like me, might just find an exciting new career path and if you’re really lucky, you might even make some very fun friends along the way.

 


 Beyond the Article 

Posted on April 05, 2019