What Technical Writers Need To Do If They Run Out Of Things To Write About

If you’re a technical writer, then you know that there’s no shortage of information to write about. Every week, there are new emerging technologies and software programs that need to be featured in your content. 

As a result, you might think that running out of things to write about would never happen especially if this is part of your job description. But what happens when the well runs dry? If you find yourself in this situation (and many writers do), here are some tips on how to get back on track:

What Does a Technical Writer Do? – YouTube
Embrace research to discover new angles for your writing.
Reach out to industry experts for insights and inspiration.
Repurpose existing content to create fresh perspectives.
Experiment with different formats, such as case studies or tutorials.
Attend relevant workshops and conferences for continuous learning.
Maintain a content calendar to organize and plan your topics.
Collaborate with colleagues to brainstorm ideas and spark creativity.
Keep up with industry trends to identify emerging topics.
Explore adjacent fields for cross-disciplinary inspiration.
Take breaks and engage in activities that recharge your creativity.

Be Interesting

That’s the first thing you need to do. Be interesting. If you’re not interesting, no one wants to read what you’ve written. 

And if no one reads your writing, then it doesn’t matter how many words it contains or how well-structured they are: no one cares about your work except for editors who are forced by law to publish any piece of writing that meets a certain word count (this is why technical writers often end up working for newspapers).

Be interesting for yourself as well as others. The more interesting something is, the easier it will be for someone else to appreciate it and even pay attention long enough so that they might actually learn something from reading it (or watching an accompanying video). 

That’s why I always strive my best to ensure all my articles have at least one paragraph which covers some kind of “value add” feature; ideally, an entire section on some topic related specifically to making readers’ lives easier/more productive/less stressful, etc…

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Don’t Be Over-Precise

You’ve been working on a technical document for hours. It’s almost ready, but you have the sneaking suspicion that it needs more examples. You know that examples are important for helping your audience understand your topic and learn how to use the product, so you add another paragraph with an example.

But this is where over-precision can trip up even the most seasoned of writers. Instead of providing specific examples that illustrate the point being made, they provide too many examples to avoid any misinterpretation by readers and end up with a paragraph full of confusing information that doesn’t help anyone understand anything at all!

Under-precision is just as bad as over-precision: if not worse! If there are no clear guidelines or boundaries established in a document, readers can easily misinterpret instructions or become confused about what they should do next (after all: why did we write this? 

What am I supposed to do?). When dealing with technical documentation (which requires precision), there should always be some level of specificity included but it should be appropriate and within reason; otherwise, your audience may become overwhelmed by instructions rather than served by them.

Listen To Your Readers

Speaking with your readers is the best way to find out what they want and need. One of the most important things you can do as a technical writer is to talk to people who are interested in what you’re writing about. If you don’t know who these people are, ask yourself some questions:

Who is my target audience? What kind of job do they have? What kind of personality do they have?

Why would this person want to read my writing? What problem will it solve for them?

How much time does my target audience have for learning about this topic (and how much energy)? Is it worth their time for me to tell them what I know (or even if I should be sharing this info at all)?

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Say Something Useful

Writing is a lot like cooking. You can spend hours on a dish, but if you don’t have the right ingredients, it’s not going to taste good. Likewise, if you don’t have the right ingredients (in this case, subject matter), your writing won’t be any good either.

So when writers run out of things to write about (which happens more often than most people realize), they often resort to just filling up space with fluff and nonsense. That way they at least feel like they fulfilled their quota for the day even though what they wrote isn’t useful in any meaningful way.

Get Others Involved

If you’re feeling stuck, don’t worry. There are many approaches to jump-start your writing.

One approach is to get others involved in the writing process. This can be as simple as asking someone else to go over what you’ve written and provide feedback. 

It could also involve using a tool like Lucidchart or Gliffy (both cloud-based diagramming tools) for collaboration purposes. Another option would be for one person in the team to write up a document that everyone contributes ideas and feedback on before sending it back for finalization by the original writer or editor of that document.

This method can also be used during testing phases of development projects: customers may be asked how they feel about certain features of a product; 

Usability testing with users will require some kind of written explanation of how things work, and developers may need more information than what’s written in requirements documents regarding how things should work before they begin coding them into products/ applications/ websites/etcetera

Focus On The Communication Problem, Not The Technologies.

The best way to approach this is to be mindful of what you’re writing about. Your goal should be to help your audience understand and use whatever it is that you’re trying to explain.

As a technical writer, each day you are tasked with creating content on complex technical topics that readers can understand, remember and act upon. It’s important not only for the writer but also for the reader to have context on how you came up with those ideas for them to apply them correctly.

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Stay Up To Date

It can be difficult to stay abreast of the latest developments in your field, but it’s important to do so. That way, you’ll have an idea of what you might want to write about later on. 

The same goes for staying up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry and company or organization. If a new product comes out that has some interesting features, then write something about those features!

If you don’t know where to start looking for information on these topics, try searching online or asking the people around you if they know of anything interesting going on in their industry or organization.

Get Relevant References

References make a huge difference in the credibility of your work. References can be used to show that you have done some research on the topic, and they allow you to prove that you know what’s going on when it comes to technical writing. 

This is especially useful if someone asks questions about something that wasn’t mentioned in the article but has been covered elsewhere. It also helps establish that you are an expert in your field, which makes it easier for readers who don’t know anything about technical writing themselves (or even those who do) to trust what they’re reading.

If there are any guidelines or standards associated with your field of expertise, then those should be included as well this gives potential clients confidence in their choice of the writer when they see how knowledgeable and experienced she is about her subject matter!

Thoroughly Test Your Material

Once you’ve written your content, it’s important to thoroughly test it. This can be as simple as proofreading it and running a few tests. If the subject matter is technical, you may want to run your material through a quick spell check or grammar checker before submitting it for publication.

If this is something that you can do without too much trouble, take advantage of that opportunity! 

However, make sure that you don’t just go through this process blindly you should consider getting feedback from others who are familiar with the topic at hand (or if there are no such people available) another professional writer who has some experience working on similar projects.

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Understand The Nature Of The Problem You’re Solving

The first step to solving a problem is understanding what the problem is. And to do this, you need to understand the nature of the problem and its solution. 

For example, if you’re writing about an app that will help people manage their money better, then your job as a technical writer is going to be different from that of someone who writes about an app that helps people lose weight.

Any technical writer must understand these differences because they can greatly affect how they approach their work and how effective they are at communicating with other members of their team (such as developers).

You Don’t Have To Work In An Information Technology Field To Learn A Lot About That Area Of Interest If You’re In A Technical Writing Role

You can learn a lot about a subject by writing about it. You can also learn a lot by reading about it, talking about it, and listening to others talking or writing about it.

There are many different ways that you can gain knowledge of the technical world in which you write. For example:

  • Read books and articles on your topic of interest
  • Listen to podcasts or watch videos related to your field
  • Talk with people who are experts in the subject area (wherever they may be located)

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As you can see, there are many ways to keep your writing interesting and the content relevant. But it’s also important not to get stuck on the details or get too technical. 

The point of technical writing is not just to provide information; it’s also about helping people solve problems. So if you find yourself struggling to fill up pages with words, take a step back and think about what problem you’re solving and how best people can use your material. 

If this isn’t enough inspiration for you, remember that people are always looking for new ways to improve their lives – whether that means learning more about technology or becoming more self-sufficient in their homes!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to deepen your understanding:

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Technical Writing: Discover and steer clear of common pitfalls that can impact the effectiveness of your technical writing.

Challenges Faced in Technical Writing: Learn about the hurdles technical writers commonly encounter and strategies to overcome them for smoother documentation processes.

Habits of Successful Technical Writers: Explore the habits that can lead to success in technical writing, from organization to communication skills.


How can I avoid mistakes in technical writing?

Mistakes in technical writing can be avoided by thoroughly proofreading your work, using clear and concise language, and seeking feedback from peers or experts.

What challenges are typical in technical writing?

Technical writing often involves tackling complex concepts and making them understandable for a broader audience. Balancing technical accuracy with simplicity can be a challenge.

What habits contribute to becoming a successful technical writer?

Successful technical writers develop habits like maintaining an organized workflow, staying updated with industry trends, collaborating effectively with subject matter experts, and continuously improving their writing skills.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in technical writing?

Common mistakes include using jargon without explanation, neglecting proper formatting, not considering the target audience, and lacking clarity in instructions or explanations.

How can I overcome challenges in technical writing?

To overcome challenges, focus on breaking down complex topics, using visual aids like diagrams or charts, and seeking feedback from both technical and non-technical readers to ensure clarity.