First-Time Writer

Technical Writing Tips & Technical Writing Suggestions

Freelance technical writing is not an easy profession, but it comes with great rewards. Technical authors are able to pass on their knowledge to workers who need it. But freelance technical writers are also teachers who are able to communicate highly specialized information and step-by-step instructions to their readers. By combining their expertise with language skills, technical authors save those who read their documentation time, energy, and resources.

As a technical writer, your words allow others to collect their paychecks and take care of their families. Because of their ability to simplify specialized subjects into language others can use, freelance technical writers are always in demand and their work is prized by people from a wide variety of professions. If you are a first time technical author, or you are thinking of submitting your work to for the first time, let the suggestions below be your guide for creating a career in freelance technical writing.

What writer suggestions does Mecanamix offer?

  • Use 12-font Times New Roman for the main body text.
  • Write a subject title or problem statement as part of the introduction, to help focus on your thoughts. If the subject title or problem statement no longer seems to apply after your article is written, then edit the subject title or delete the problem statement from the final copy.
  • Set a schedule to write regularly, and it will likely become a habit. To start with, six to nine hours per week at one page per three-hour session is considered a standard.
  • Set the completion date. With final editing done and any illustrations included, the completion date could be up to one month from the start date for that first project.
  • Write as if talking to a friend or texting, and do the first draft quickly.
  • Do not write and edit the material at the same time because you will most likely miss the completion date target. There will be time to edit after the first draft is done.
  • After the first draft is finished, then keep the audience in mind. Review the material to edit words that may sound too impressive. As an example, a synonym for remunerate is the word ‘pay’. Also, avoid clichés and slang words. Some readers may not be familiar with them or worse, consider them offensive in their culture. Technical words also need to be explained, as some readers may not be familiar with them. As an example, a measure of energy not available to do work may be a reasonable explanation for the technical word ‘entropy’.
  • When editing, sentences are usually up to 15 words in length but not more than 25 words long. A paragraph should have 2 to 8 sentences, with each paragraph keeping to one idea.

    Use your software word-processer program to perform a spell and grammar check as part of the final editing process, with the following additional parameters in mind: Passive sentences: Zero percent to thirty (30) percent Reading Ease: 65 points ± 15 points (on a 100 point scale) Example: The Mecanamix webpage “Sell v Royalty” (menu bar: Writer’s Corner > Sell v Royalty) text averages 18.8 words per sentence and 4.0 sentences per paragraph. The passive sentence status is 7%, and 51.2 is the Reading Ease.

  • If you have tabular data (example, a spreadsheet) and you are not able to import that information into the text document being writing, use tab spaces instead of character spaces to structure the tabular data.
  • The typical written technical topic is expected to print out at two (2) to six (6) but not more than twelve (12) one-sided A or A4 size pages and likely include a graphic and/or picture to help illustrate or reinforce important points you as the author feel is important.
  • When satisfied with what you consider to be the article’s final product – Print out a copy and mail it to yourself. In the return address area, add a short code after your name and log a copy of that code in order to remember what is inside the envelope. When the envelope is received back, do not open it unless advised by a legal entity to do so. With the post office stamped ‘sent date’ on the envelope, it is your dated copyright claim of evidence that you authored the material you expressed in your own words and creative style.

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