What I look for in a tech writer
Anybody can write a manual, right?
I don’t think so.
I’ve known a lot of tech writers over the decades I’ve been in this business–some of them really, really good, some of them just dreadful, and everything in between.
I have also identified the qualities that make for a really good tech writer, and if even one of these is missing, the quality of his or her work will suffer.
The first of these is a passion for communicating. This is most often manifested in the arts. A tech writer who is also a poet, artist, musician, or so on, will have a quality about him or her that adds that little extra element of care to the work of technical writing, a determination to communicate in a way the audience can understand and appreciate.
Next is the desire for perfection. Why use five words when you can say the same thing with two? Start with clean, clear, crisp prose, then edit it down until you have the essence of the communication.
Finally, there is sense of humor. At Precision Wordage, new clients often bring us in on a project about 2 months too late and our deadlines are usually intense. The ability to laugh makes this kind of pressure fun and challenging instead of painful.