Technical writing usually involves complex ideas, which is why getting the point across can be difficult…
While certain forms of technical writing may be directed at industry experts, the majority of technical writing is done to explain a complex idea or concept to a layman. This is why the technical writing is so different from other forms of writing. Technical writing challenges a writer to convert complex terms and hard to understand ideas into a format that can be understood by a mind that is not well versed in the relevant subject.
The first task of the technical content writer is to make the content approachable to the common man. For this, there are 3 Cs that a technical content writer follows for writing the content. In other words, the content needs to be “concise”, “crisp” and “clear”.
The Need for Brevity and Efficiency of Words
The use of the word “concise”, here, means that the content needs to be presented in as small a size as possible, without compromising on the quality. The myth that long winded paragraphs are inherent to technical writing is contrary to all technical writing practices. In fact, long paragraphs have no purpose in technical writing because they detract from the purpose of keeping the reader’s interest in order to get convey the concept.
Shortest Path to the Inherent Objective
“Crisp” directly means that, whatever may be the point or concept that the author wants to convey, it should be done immediately. It is because of this reason that a piece of technical writing almost always requires the author to describe what he plans to explain, describe or prove before going on to explaining it, describing it or proving it. In fact, all pieces of technical writing follow the basic journalistic principle of giving the most important information first so that the reader knows exactly where the content is heading.
Catering To the Audience in Their Own Language
The word “clear”, as is obvious, alludes to the clarity of the content to the reader. It is closely connected to the prime edict of all writers i.e. to know the target audience well before starting to write. Clarity can be achieved just by using simple language that can be understood by the common man. For example, some considerations worth noting are not using industry related jargon, defining less used complex words, using details wisely, avoiding words only found in dictionaries, staying away from abstraction and weeding out ambiguity.
Other Considerations Related To Technical Writing
While the 3 Cs described above form the heart and soul of technical writing, there are other considerations that support their objectives. One of these is avoiding the use of reported format of sentence syntax and instead sticking to active voice. Active voice allows a piece of content to communicate as efficiently as is logically possible. It goes straight to the point and is also stronger and more certain than passive voice.
As the idea of technical writing is to make complex and rare ideas accessible to a certain target audience, it is always best to make the piece of writing as similar to speech as possible without making it informal. For this reason, most technical content writing experts tend to voice out loud what they have written. This allows them to sense if certain parts of the content are too complex to understand.
The quality of technical writing depends entirely on the amount of initiative the content writing expert is willing to take and this, in turn, tends to depend completely on how well he is being paid and how conscientious he is about his work. Needless to say, a conscientious technical content writing professional would prepare and plan as much as possible before doing everything in his power to do justice to his technical writing assignment.