What is Technical Writing?
Technical writing is a type of writing where the author is writing about a particular subject that requires direction, instruction, or explanation. This style of writing has a very different purpose and different characteristics than other writing styles such as creative writing, academic writing or business writing.
Technical writing is an audience-centered means of communication that provides a reader with clear and easy access to information. In the business world, time equates to profit, and profit is the force behind all business interaction. The technical writer and reader have a vis-à-vis relationship. The writer recognizes, respects, and addresses the importance of time in effective and efficient communication by providing documents written in specific formats, using unambiguous language to send clearly assessable information. The reader in turn thoroughly understands the information in order to give a thoughtful response.
Good technical writing has just the opposite characteristics. It is clear and direct. It isgrammatically correct both in letter and in spirit. Furthermore, it utilizes the great richness and
variety in English expression to convey ideas in the most efficient and effective manner.
The purpose of technical writing is to inform the reader of something; the style shouldfurther that purpose, not detract from it by trying to entertain, cajole, or confuse the reader.
Considering the number of people whose writing only impedes the reader, a few remarks on the elementary techniques of writing clear prose might be worthwhile.