Great writing skills and an aptitude for technical subjects are vital if you hope to make it in the highly competitive world of technical writing, but you also have to possess the right personality. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether your personality is well-suited to the field of technical writing:
Do I work well independently?
Whether you work from home or for a huge company, you won't have somebody looking over your shoulder or holding your hand while you complete your work. When companies hire technical writers, they want somebody who can take instructions and work with minimal supervision to produce a piece of quality writing. If you love working solo and would rather sort out problems and difficulties entirely on your own, technical writing may be a great career for you.
Am I self-disciplined?
Are you the type of person who always sits down and gets things done as soon as possible, or do you tend to procrastinate? If you plan to do technical writing from home, be aware that it will require a huge amount of self-discipline. You'll have to sit at your computer each and every day to complete your assignments, regardless of whether your friends are going to the beach, the movie channel is airing your favorite flick, or the mall is having a huge sale. If you know that these temptations will be impossible to resist, a technical writing career (at least a freelance one) probably isn't for you.
Do I work well within set parameters?
Free spirits often make wonderful creative writers and poets, but they're usually lousy technical writers. When you receive instructions for a project, the editor will expect you to follow them. Period. If the thought of working within such tight guidelines is enough to make you cringe, it's probably best to give up on the idea of being a technical writer.
Do I deal well with criticism?
If you fall to pieces when you receive the least little bit of criticism, you definitely won't enjoy being a technical writer. Editors like things done a certain way, and they can be tough. Most don't have any trouble being quite blunt when they tell you about the problems in your writing, and your job is to take this advice and use it to improve your craft. There is no point arguing, or getting upset, or getting angry. Remember - it's strictly business.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014