What The World’s Best Technical Writers Have In Common

Great technical writers are a rare breed. They’re the ones that can take complex topics and make them easy for everyone to understand, from novices to experts in their field. This is a skill that takes years to develop, but there are some things that every great technical writer has in common and you can learn from them!

All about Technical Writing w/ Linda Ikechukwu – YouTube
1. Clear Communication: The best technical writers excel in conveying complex information in a clear and understandable manner.
2. Attention to Detail: They exhibit a strong eye for detail, ensuring accuracy and precision in their documentation.
3. Adaptability: Successful technical writers are adaptable and can tailor their writing style to suit various audiences and contexts.
4. Subject Matter Mastery: They possess a deep understanding of the subject matter, allowing them to explain technical concepts effectively.
5. User-Centric Approach: The best technical writers prioritize the needs of the end-users, creating documentation that addresses their specific requirements.
6. Continuous Learning: They are committed to ongoing learning, staying updated with industry trends, tools, and best practices.
7. Collaboration Skills: Technical writers work well in teams, collaborating with experts, designers, and developers to produce comprehensive content.
8. Problem-Solving Abilities: They have strong problem-solving skills, enabling them to tackle challenges and find innovative solutions.
9. Organization and Structure: The best technical writers organize information logically, using headings, lists, and visuals to enhance readability.
10. Empathy: They understand the perspective of their audience, resulting in documentation that anticipates user needs and concerns.

Don’t Be A Perfectionist

Technical writers are often perfectionists. They worry about typos, formatting, grammar and spelling and are constantly re-reading their work to make sure it’s perfect before sending it out into the world.

The problem with this is that first drafts never really feel finished. You’ll always see something you’d like to change, or wish you’d phrased something differently. If you focus on being perfect at the expense of getting your work published (and frequently even after publishing), then you will never ship anything!

Enhancing your skills is vital for success in any field, whether it’s writing about real estate or technical documentation. Discover how to master the 10 Most Important Skills When Writing About Real Estate and apply them to your technical writing journey.

Have A Good Editor

A good editor is essential to any technical writing project. This is because editing is a process that improves the clarity, structure, and organization of your work. A good editor will help you give readers what they want: information they can quickly and easily understand.

A good editor knows how to help you focus on the big picture the key message that needs to come across in your document while making sure all of those little details aren’t distracting from those points. 

They’ll make sure that the structure of your document makes sense for readers; if not, then they’ll suggest ways in which it could be improved before sending it back for revisions.

When searching for an editor who has experience with technical (or other) writing projects like yours, look for someone who has been doing this type of editing for many years. 

You’ll also want someone who has worked with other freelancers before so he or she knows how best to communicate with them regarding changes needed within their documents after receiving them from clients or authors like yourself.”

Embrace The Chaos

One of the things I love about technical writing is that it’s a messy process. Many technical writers write under pressure, and many of us work alone or with others who don’t have strong English language skills. Our writing is often done in haste, with little time for revisions or edits. The result may be more like an outline than a fully polished piece of prose.

I don’t know if this is true of other fields (perhaps those who write fiction or poetry?).

But I do know that when I read technical documents written by other people, whether they are native speakers of English or not, sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at what appears to be a lack of attention to detail a missing comma here and there; some awkward phrasing; even errors in spelling and grammar!

But then again…I always try not to judge other people based on their written communications; instead, I try my best to appreciate the message behind the words rather than nitpicking over every error in grammar or spelling.”

Curious about a day in the life of a technical writer? Dive into our exploration of What It’s Like to Be a Technical Writer to gain insights into the experiences and challenges that technical writers face on a daily basis.

Don’t Let The Past Hold You Back

One of the most important things to remember as a technical writer is that, as long as you’re not intentionally trying to mislead people or cause harm, there is no right or wrong way to do anything. If something works for you and your team, then keep doing it! 

However, if something isn’t working out so well and could be improved upon like maybe that one time when your boss yelled at you because someone on Reddit said they didn’t like how you formatted their command line arguments then don’t be afraid to try something new.

Don’t let fear of making mistakes hold you back from growing in your career. As long as you’re aware and open about what went wrong with certain aspects of a project, then everyone will understand why it’s been done differently next time around (and hopefully even benefit from those changes).

Write In Plain Language

You might think that writing in plain language is an obvious step to take, but it’s not. Most technical writers use jargon and acronyms because they want their content to be easily understood by their peers. 

However, this means that they’re also using words that most people don’t understand and if you’re not a member of the club, those words will just make your brain shut off.

As a technical writer, your job is to write for the layperson: someone who hasn’t spent years reading through tech manuals in their spare time and can only handle one more acronym before he runs screaming from the room (which is why he keeps running).

The best way for you to write in plain language is by avoiding jargon altogether and using active sentences instead of passive ones whenever possible. 

Active sentences are easier for readers to follow because they give them something specific to focus on while also allowing them more control over how much information they digest at once; passive sentences tend towards vague descriptions with little payoff (e.g., “This section explains how…”).

Start From Scratch When Taking Over A Project

Don’t let your ego get in the way of your work. If you’re asked to re-write something, don’t feel like it’s beneath you or that it’s time wasted; these are essential tools for improving your craft. 

Don’t be afraid to throw away old work and start over with a blank slate if necessary, especially if it will make the overall product better. Be open to throwing out what you’ve already done and starting fresh.

Efficiency in technical writing often depends on the tools at your disposal. Uncover the Top 16 Most Useful Easy-to-Use Technical Writing Tools that can streamline your writing process and enhance your overall output.

Do Your Research

One of the most important things a technical writer can do is to make sure they have done their research. This means that you need to know your subject, and also know your audience. You should be able to articulate the purpose of the document, why it’s important for them to read this information and what they will gain from it.

The best way for me to understand how much research has been done on a piece before I start writing is if there are clear references/citations throughout the document that show me where it came from, who said it and when they said it so I can find out more if necessary (or confirm facts).

Make It Easy To Read, Not Easy To Write

When you’re writing, it’s important to make it easy for your readers to understand your sentences and paragraphs. If they have to read through a lot of complicated sentences, or if they have to work hard at figuring out what you mean, then they’re going to be less likely to read your content.

If you want people who aren’t native speakers of English or who don’t have a great deal of experience in technical writing (or both) then this is even more important because those people are going to need all the help they can get in figuring out what you’re saying! So let’s take a look at some ways that we can improve our writing:

Keep It Simple, Stupid (Kiss)

The KISS principle is a design principle that recommends that most systems should be as simple as possible, although there is some disagreement over how the term and its acronym are interpreted. 

The KISS principle is often attributed to the U.S. Navy in the 1960s, though it may have been stated by one of the engineers on an automotive project at Ford Motor Company before that time.

The KISS principle is not intended to be taken literally; rather, it encourages designers and engineers to make things simple enough so that they will work for their intended purpose without introducing unnecessary complexity or defects into a system or product. 

A good example would be using a wrench instead of using a hammer and nail (or even worse your fingers) when trying to tighten up a bolt-on your car’s engine block

Effective copywriting skills are essential in both real estate and technical writing. Elevate your abilities by exploring these 15 Ways to Improve Your Real Estate Copywriting techniques, which can also be applied to creating compelling technical content.

Use Graphics And Images Sparingly And With Purpose

Graphics and images should be used sparingly. They help break up text and make the content more shareable, but if you use too many, it can distract from the main message. 

If you choose to include graphics, take care that they are designed in a way that aids comprehension or makes them easier for people to understand what you’re talking about.

For example, Images can help explain complex ideas by illustrating them visually (as we did in our article on technical writing).

Be careful when using images though they’re often distracting when used improperly (for example, if they have too many words on them).

Know Your Audience And Your Goal

Knowing your audience is the most important tool in your technical writing toolkit. You need to know their language, their experience with the subject matter of your document, and even their personality type. 

Then you need to take that knowledge and tailor your writing style so that it’s accessible for them so they can understand what’s going on and why it matters.

A clear goal drives everything else in technical writing: it clarifies what you’re trying to achieve, which means it helps define your audience; it gives direction for how you should write (or speak) about things; and ultimately, when done well enough, it makes sure that everyone walks away from reading or listening feeling like they’ve accomplished something useful with this content.

Avoid Corporate Jargon And Colloquialisms As Much As Possible

Good technical writing is clear, concise, and consistent. Corporate jargon (like “touch base”) and colloquialisms (like “I’m going to touch base”) just make content less understandable.

Avoiding jargon is a good way to show you are a professional writer who respects your readers’ intelligence by not talking down to them with what they would consider “cute” or unprofessional language.

Colloquialisms also tend to be less precise than more formal alternatives. For example: “This is where I’m at in my current project.” The colloquial version of this phrase could mean that the writer is currently working on any number of things from completing one task entirely before moving on to another one, to still figuring out which task needs their immediate attention first!

Avoid Acronyms And Other Abbreviations

You may be a seasoned technical writer, but that doesn’t mean you know all the acronyms and abbreviations used by your audience. Many readers may be learning the language for the first time. So how can you ensure they understand what you’re writing?

The answer is simple: don’t use them in your writing at all. “That’s fine advice,” you say, “but how am I supposed to remember all these things without using an acronym?” 

That’s easy you just write it out! It will take longer than typing an abbreviation (and make sure to spell check!), but if it means less confusion and fewer questions from readers then it’s worth it!

Read Aloud What You Write… Consider Making It Part Of Your Writing Process. The Ear Catches What The Eye Misses

Reading aloud is a critical component of the writing process, but it’s often overlooked. Reading what you write out loud will help you find errors that even the best spell checker won’t catch. It will also help you find confusing sentences, jargon or colloquialisms, repetition or typos, missing words, and missing punctuation.

It may seem obvious to read your final draft aloud before publishing it – but if reading what you’ve written in bed with headphones on at 3 am is any indication (it’s not), we need more reminders than just this one!

Success in technical writing requires practical strategies and insights. Dive into our collection of 17 Practical Tips for Technical Writing Success to discover actionable advice that can guide you on your journey to becoming a proficient technical writer.

Great Technical Writing Is Clear And Concise

The best technical writers are thoughtful about every word they write. They minimize jargon but use precise and accurate language. They avoid wordiness but don’t feel the need to be terse or overly concise. They write in short sentences, and they keep paragraphs short as well (no more than three to four sentences).

They also stay away from passive voice whenever possible in fact, it’s easy to spot a great technical writer by the way they write: these writers always use active voice! And because these brilliant wordsmiths know their audience so well, their writing is clear and simple for even novice readers to understand.

If you want your readers to get what you’re saying quickly and easily even if it’s an advanced topic then using simple language is key. Choose words that are familiar and easy for them…and maybe even use some pictures!


If you want to be a great technical writer, you need to be able to write clearly and concisely. This will make your readers happy, your boss happy (and maybe even promote you), and it might even bump up your pay. And if all else fails? At least you’ll have a job!

Further Reading

Industries Valuing Technical Writers: Discover which industries highly value the expertise of technical writers and the opportunities they offer.

Key Skills for Technical Writers: Learn about the essential skills that technical writers need to excel in their roles and stand out in the job market.

Best Technical Writing Examples: Explore a collection of excellent technical writing examples to enhance your skills and knowledge in the field.


What industries highly value technical writers?

Various industries, such as technology, healthcare, finance, and manufacturing, highly value technical writers. These professionals play a crucial role in creating clear and accurate documentation for complex products and services.

What skills are essential for a technical writer?

Technical writers should possess strong writing and communication skills, as well as the ability to understand complex information and present it in a user-friendly manner. Adaptability, attention to detail, and knowledge of relevant tools are also important.

How can I improve my technical writing skills?

Improving your technical writing skills involves practicing writing, studying successful examples, and continuously learning about the subject matter. You can also seek feedback from peers and mentors to refine your writing style.

What are some examples of exceptional technical writing?

Exceptional technical writing examples include user manuals that provide clear step-by-step instructions, well-structured software documentation, and detailed technical blog posts that effectively convey complex concepts to a wider audience.

How do technical writers contribute to industries?

Technical writers contribute to industries by creating documentation that simplifies complex information, making it accessible to users, clients, and stakeholders. Their work ensures accurate understanding of products, services, and processes, leading to better usability and informed decision-making.