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What is Technical Writing?

It is often forgotten that technical writing is among the most frequently read form of written word in the world today. Indeed, apart from advertising it is probably the most frequently read of all. Technical writing requires a different sort of discipline to creative writing, for where the latter is all about giving the reader something to expand and work with to come to their own interpretation, technical writing is about giving instruction - there is no form of imagination involved on the part of the reader, it is all there in plain form to be followed.

There are many different forms of technical writing, and you will have many examples around your home. The computer you are reading this on will have come with an instruction manual - that is an example of technical writing. The handbook to your car, the set up instructions to your television - they are technical writing examples.

However, there is much more to the world of technical writing than simply producing instruction manuals for the public, for technical writing is required by many commercial entities, too.

This is why it is important for the writer to understand precisely what is expected of the technical writing he or she is producing: is it for the public, or is it for the more knowledgeable field of employees of a certain company? In either case technical writing needs to be concise and precise - this is one area of writing where keeping things to the minimum is absolutely essential.

Instruction manuals, after all, are just that and technical manuals - those given to fitters of machinery and so on - are the same; they inform and direct, they do not invite creative thinking or innovation.

This is not to say that the technical writer is not creative, for he or she has to be able to put the instructions - and any other material - to the reader in a way that is easy to understand and clear to follow.

Technical writing is one of the most important forms of writing around, and for those who are proficient there is much money to be made - have a go, it may be worth it.

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