How To Succeed As A Technical Writer: 9 Tips From A Career Pro

If you’re passionate about writing but also enjoy the technical side of things, a career as a technical writer might be just what you’re looking for. In fact, many companies prefer to hire technical writers with some experience in the field they’ll be writing about. 

But how do you become an effective and well-regarded technical writer? To find out more, I talked to Alice Ebright a career pro who got her start in the industry right after college and has now been working as one for over 25 years. Here are her top tips on how to succeed as a technical writer:

How to Become a Technical Writer with Sean Watson – YouTube
1. Continuous Learning: Embrace a mindset of lifelong learning to stay updated with industry trends and new technologies.
2. Master Technical Concepts: Develop a deep understanding of technical subjects to effectively communicate complex information.
3. Clear Communication: Prioritize clarity and conciseness in your writing to ensure your audience comprehends the content easily.
4. Collaborate with Experts: Work closely with subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and gather insights for your writing.
5. Build a Portfolio: Create a diverse portfolio showcasing your technical writing skills and different types of documentation.
6. Use Tools Wisely: Familiarize yourself with relevant tools and software that enhance the efficiency and quality of your work.
7. Adaptability: Be flexible and willing to adjust your writing style based on the needs of different projects and audiences.
8. Problem-Solving: Approach challenges as opportunities to find creative solutions that enhance the user experience.
9. Seek Feedback: Actively seek feedback from peers and users to continuously improve your writing and make necessary adjustments.

1. Join STC

The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is the world’s largest organization for technical communicators. Membership includes over 18,000 professionals in more than 180 countries who are involved in all aspects of creating, communicating, and disseminating information to an audience using technology.

STC is a great place to network, learn from others, and find mentors and jobs. You can also join local chapters if you want to meet people face-to-face or attend events near you.

If you’re aiming to become a successful technical writer, remember that just like in real estate writing, grasping the fundamentals is essential. Learn more about the basics of real estate writing and how foundational knowledge can lead to writing success.

2. Look For A Mentor

A mentor is a great way to learn new skills, receive advice and guidance on your career, and get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be in your profession. In particular, I’ve found that mentors can help you with your technical writing career. 

Mentors can do two things for your writing career: they can provide feedback on how you are doing (or not doing), and they can offer experience-based advice on what works (and doesn’t work) in the field of technical writing.

It may be tough to find a mentor who is willing to take time out of their busy schedule to guide you through life as a writer but if you’re able to find someone who has been successful at his or her job as a writer, then this person will become invaluable!

3. Volunteer To Work On Special Projects

Volunteering to work on special projects can be a great way to expand your technical writing skills and build your network. Special projects include:

  • Writing articles for the company newsletter or website
  • Creating new content for an existing product manual, or updating old content
  • Helping out with user testing of prototypes, beta software, or new features

Volunteering will help you learn more about what it’s like to write documentation in a real environment. And it’ll also provide opportunities for networking with other members of the team (and their managers!).

When stepping into the world of technical writing, be mindful of avoiding common pitfalls, much like real estate writers strive to do. Discover the 16 most common mistakes real estate writers make and gain insights on how to navigate challenges in your writing journey.

4. Be Proactive

Be proactive in your job search. Don’t be that person who waits for the phone to ring or an email to drop into your inbox. 

You will get left behind if you do; thousands of other candidates are out there, as well as countless more writing jobs available than there are writers. Send cover letters, resumes, and portfolios when you apply for jobs (and don’t forget about following up!).

Be proactive in your career development. Think about what it is that interests you most about writing technical documentation or copywriting, then find ways to learn more about those topics so that they become second nature to you.

Attend conferences and meetups related to your profession, read blogs from experts in the field and gather some ideas from them on how they have built their careers successfully over time and then implement those tips!

Be proactive about life experiences too they can help inform both types of writing projects later down the road: Got a degree in biology? 

Work at a hospital or medical center where doctors need help translating scientific jargon into plain English for patients who aren’t familiar with science terminology (and they won’t know how much trouble they could save themselves if only they’d ask!). 

Are interested in history? Volunteer at a museum where staff members might need help creating online exhibits based on artifacts collected over decades’ worth of research abroad by professors who specialize in ancient civilizations around the world (or maybe even just one continent).

5. Make Friends With Your Editors And Graphic Designers

It’s important to have a good working relationship with these people. They’re the ones who will make sure your content is easy to understand and visually appealing.

So if you don’t communicate well with them, it can be a recipe for disaster. I would say that communication skills are the most important thing for technical writers in general and not just speaking or listening but writing as well (which includes copyediting) because we need all these skills to do our jobs effectively.

To excel as a technical writer, it’s crucial to cultivate essential skills, just as it is when writing about real estate topics. Explore the 10 most important skills when writing about real estate to uncover the competencies that will set you apart in your writing career.

6. Learn How To Use A Style Guide

There are many different types of style guides, but the most common one used by technical writers is the AP Stylebook. The AP Stylebook is a reference guide that provides rules for grammar (e.g., proper punctuation) and spelling (e.g., what to do when you have two words that sound alike). 

It also gives guidelines on how to format text such as using italics or quotation marks in your writing.

The rules may seem arbitrary at first why should you use single quotes rather than double quotes? but once you understand why certain rules exist, it will be easier for you to follow them consistently in your writing and make sure that the content published under your name is accurate and easy to read for readers with all levels of technical knowledge.

7. Read The Most Recent Edition Of The Chicago Manual Of Style (For Writers And Editors)

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, or something else entirely, it’s important to follow the style guidelines of a reputable publication. The Chicago Manual of Style is one such guide that covers all kinds of written documents. 

It’s particularly useful for technical writers because it offers guidance on how to format and cite sources in your work. 

In addition to helping you write more accurately and effectively (and professionally), following these standards make your document easier for others to read and understand whether it’s other readers or editors at your company who need to approve your work before publishing it publicly.

You can purchase The Chicago Manual of Style online in hardcover ($80) or e-book format ($35). If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider using an earlier version of the manual that may be available at your local library or book store; this way, you’ll still have access without having had to spend any money upfront!

8. Read “The Elements Of Style” By Strunk And White

I’m going to throw you a curve ball here. One of the most popular books on a writing style is “The Elements of Style,” by Strunk and White. It’s also one of the most criticized, but it has its merits. This book has been around since 1919! That’s ninety years! 

There are some very good reasons for this book to still be relevant today, even though we have access to so many resources on grammar, punctuation, and spelling now.

One thing that sets this book apart from other writing guides is that it focuses heavily on sentence structure, which is often overlooked by other writers’ guides (or not even considered at all). 

The study of language and therefore writing is incredibly complex; to master any aspect of it, you need a comprehensive understanding of everything involved in communicating ideas through language. 

You also need a thorough knowledge of how these various elements interact with each other when creating effective communications between human beings and computers too (because they’re part of our technical world now!).

Enhancing your technical writing prowess is a continuous journey, similar to improving real estate copywriting skills. Dive into 15 ways to improve your real estate copywriting and gather insights that can contribute to more effective and engaging writing.

9. Take Advantage Of All Training Resources Offered By Your Employer

Training can come in many forms, such as online courses or in-person training sessions. Whatever your preferred method of learning, take advantage of it! In addition to helping you hone your skills and become more productive, training can also teach you new things that will help make you better at your job. 

If there are any classes available in the office on topics related to technical writing such as using a specific software program or improving time management strategies don’t pass them up.

With The Right Mix Of Skills, Knowledge, And Experience, You Can Become A Successful Technical Writer In No Time!

Skills: You don’t have to be an expert at everything, but having a variety of technical skills will help you stay relevant as technology changes. 

For instance, if you already have web development or database administration experience under your belt (or are willing to acquire it), then it’ll be much easier for you to understand what makes a good user interface for an online form. If not? Well…good luck!

Knowledge: In addition to knowing what tools are out there and how they work together—or not you also need an understanding of their history so that you know which ones evolved from others (and why). 

The more research-based this knowledge is, the better off everyone will be; including those who are trying desperately not only to survive but thrive in today’s competitive marketplace while still making money doing so without wasting too much time researching every little detail themselves instead of writing

Starting a successful career as a technical writer requires determination, much like how writers in real estate find their footing. Gain inspiration from how I got my real estate writing career off the ground to pave your way to a fulfilling writing journey.


As a career writer, I know that it can be difficult to find the right balance between making a living and doing what you love. But by following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success in no time. In addition to all of these great suggestions, remember not to underestimate the importance of networking! 

As someone who has been in this industry for over 20 years now, I have found that forming connections with other writers is one of my favorite parts of being an STC member it helps me keep up with new trends as well as stay current on how things are changing within organizations across industries. 

For example, if something happens at one company that affects how they write documents (like hiring more freelancers), it could also impact another company because they too use similar practices or rely heavily on contractors from abroad who may not speak English fluently enough yet be able

Further Reading

6 Tips to Grow Your Career as a Technical Writer: Explore practical advice to advance your technical writing career and discover strategies for professional growth.

How to Become a Technical Writer: Learn step-by-step guidelines on how to embark on a journey toward becoming a successful technical writer.

Top 5 Tips to Enhance Your Technical Writing Skills: Discover effective techniques to elevate your technical writing skills and produce more impactful documentation.


How can I excel in my technical writing career?

To excel in your technical writing career, focus on continuous learning, practice effective communication, and stay updated with industry trends. Implementing these strategies can contribute to your success.

What steps do I need to take to become a technical writer?

Becoming a technical writer involves gaining a strong command of writing, familiarizing yourself with technical concepts, and possibly pursuing relevant education or training. Developing a portfolio of your work can also be beneficial.

How can I enhance my technical writing skills?

Enhancing your technical writing skills requires practice, seeking feedback, studying exemplary technical documentation, and refining your ability to translate complex information into clear and concise content.

What are some ways to grow in my technical writing profession?

To grow as a technical writer, consider expanding your knowledge in related areas, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and seeking opportunities to take on more complex writing projects. Networking and continuous skill development are also important.

How do I transition into a technical writing career from a different field?

Transitioning into a technical writing career from a different field involves highlighting transferable skills, building a portfolio that showcases your writing abilities, and possibly pursuing relevant training or certification to bridge any knowledge gaps.