Freelance writing finds many job boards and sites where you run across the term technical writer. Many freelancer writers will assume that if they can write an article or post for a blog, they are capable of technical writing. Technical freelance writing for a living is not for writers that have casually written articles or blog posts for a number of reasons. Technical freelance writing is similar to academia style writing and it is not for everyone. Find out what technical freelance writing is before you decide if it is right for you.
Technical freelance writing work involves quite a bit of research work along with proof reading and developing material in a different style or form than many articles. Freelance writers that find themselves in this field will usually be expected to deliver work such as product/service manuals, tutorials, research papers and technical documentation. For example, a client may hire you to write a help file for password recovery software developed for a Java Interpreter Program or different methods for hysterectomy surgery.
Some clients will go as far as requesting software coding or hardware documentation or project reports. If you don’t enjoy this type of writing, technical writing may not be the genre to do your work in.
Many times technical writing can be more than providing factual information or writing a “how to” manual. Delivery of content in a specific format and easy to understand language is a prerequisite for this type of writing. However, countless clients have in mind how they would like the information formatted and delivered for their customers or consumers. You are writing for an audience of one in many ways and it’s difficult to cross over to this style if you generally provide posts for a blog or write articles for an audience.
The details must be specific and factual. Not only should a consumer be able to follow along with your information, they must be able to refer to the content for honest and accurate material. If they are assembling a vacuum cleaner based on the material you provide, do you have the know-how to communicate the assembly of every screw? Is this something you could learn to enjoy? Could you write a thousand pages of documentation on this type of information without being bored to tears? If so, technical writing may be for you.
There are a lot of technical writing gigs available for freelance writers and many clients pay top dollar for the content. With so many companies making their information available through the internet and new websites being created for the DIY (do it yourself) folks and countless customers wanted to know how to do something; it doesn’t appear to be a genre that will not go away anytime soon.
There are some freelance writers that write for article sites such as Demand Media that provide “how to” articles on a slightly simpler level to bring in a little extra income and enjoy it very much. Demand Media is a freelance article site that pays for each article and page views for your content.
This is a little background information on technical writing and the information involved. I have never written for this type of platform because it doesn’t interest me. I have written a couple of simple “how to” articles, but nothing on a level where I could make a living delivering the content. If you enjoy technical writing and would like to share with us your experience, pitfalls or advice –please do so.
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