Technical Freelance Writing for Beginners

Technical Freelance Writing for Beginners

Technical writing differs from other types of freelance writing in several significant ways. For one, it is more oriented toward technical jargon and vocabulary found in specific industries in which the writer might work currently. These include healthcare, logistics, IT, and business just to name a few in which technical writers are tasked to write. 

Becoming a technical writer is an exercise in patience, persistence, and resourcefulness. While the niche may be more difficult to break into as a freelancer, it is potentially very lucrative and worthwhile. Let’s cover the ins and outs of technical freelance writing for beginners to make the field more approachable for newcomers.

Reasons to Become a Technical Freelance Writer

Technical writing is a field with a high skill bar you’ll need to overcome from the get-go if you want to succeed as a freelancer. So, why should you put the time and resources into it if there are other, more approachable writing niches out there? 

Technical writing will fundamentally challenge you as a writer as you’ll have to do diligent research and study up on your projects before writing. It is very different from blogging or writing content for social media or email marketing. But, it can also be more rewarding because of it. Here’s what you stand to gain by building a career in this industry:

  • Learn how to communicate complex ideas, plans, and findings in writing

  • Expand your vocabulary, knowledge, and resources through day-to-day work

  • Learn to adapt your writing style, tone of voice, and formatting based on the audience

  • Learn to identify valuable, trustworthy resources from those of dubious origin

  • Earn a sizable income that can support you fully as a freelancer

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Digital Resources to Learn From

To start, you should find courses on technical writing around the web. There are plenty of reliable, curated learning platforms which can help you begin your career as a freelancer. You’ll have to learn not only about technical writing but also how to find work as a freelancer, how to manage your income, etc. Each of these platforms has something unique to offer for future technical writers, so check them out in your spare time:

  • YouTube

  • Coursera

  • LinkedIn Learning

  • Udemy

  • Skillshare

Finishing various courses and tutorials on technical writing will be a time investment, but you’ll need to go through the motions of learning from several resources. This will ensure that you fully understand what technical writing is and how you can shape your career within the niche moving forward.

Content Tools to Acquire

Once you’ve gotten a handle on what technical writing is, you can proceed to look through available writing tools on the web. There is a wide range of platforms out there that can help make your job as a freelancer more manageable. 

These range from literal writing tools to content management platforms and SEO services that can improve your writing’s search ranking. Of course, the choice of tools you use will always depend on the type of project you work on and for whom you are writing. Here are a few great choices to get you started:

  • Google Workspace

  • Evernote

  • Hemingway Editor

  • Adobe Acrobat

  • Grammarly

As a technical writer, you’ll rarely be asked to manage multimedia for your clients. If such projects do come your way, you can use Canva to create visual content easily, while using Unsplash and Pexels for free stock photographs. You should use as many free and open-source tools, platforms, and resources as a freelancer to save money and avoid legal/copyright issues.

Technical Writing Skills to Pursue

Lastly, every client or company will look for very specific things in the technical writers they consider hiring. This is why you’ll have to cover some essential skills basics when it comes to freelance writing before you delve deeper. 

Learning these skills will let you figure out which niches and technical writing nooks suit your writing style the most. Over time, you’ll be able to specialize in the exact types of technical writing which fit you, be that case studies, white papers, or research documents. Here are the essential technical writing skills to pursue as a beginner freelancer:

  • Degrees or certificates related to languages and/or writing

  • Ability to write content in various writing styles and voices

  • Familiarity with corporate writing and formatting

  • Knowledge on how to find the right writing resources

  • Ability to communicate succinctly and effectively in writing

  • Analytical skills and the ability to interpret and present data

  • Writing portfolio samples from various industries

Wrapping Up

Becoming a technical freelance writer can open numerous doors for you in a professional sense. You can easily land permanent employment as a technical writer thanks to the references and portfolio pieces you collect by freelancing. Moreover, each new client will teach you something new about technical writing, be it by expanding your vocabulary or by giving you insight into new industries. 

If you’re confident in your general writing skills and don’t mind doing extensive research before you begin writing – consider technical writing. You won’t regret it even if you shift to a less-intense writing niche down the line. After all, freelancing is all about being dynamic and free to pursue whichever path you find most intriguing as a creative.