Writing may be a solitary profession for the most part, but that doesn't mean you can't ask others for help every now and then. Good technical writing documents are easy to understand and free of grammatical errors, and they comply with the accepted conventions of technical writing. Here are three groups of people that can help you make your technical writing amazing and absolutely flawless:
The Technical Novice: Because technical writers often have a strong aptitude for all things technical, it can be difficult for them to gauge just how easy to understand and user friendly their FAQs or assembly instructions really are. For this reason, the input of a novice can be invaluable. It could be your friend, your grandmother, or anyone else who is not exactly tech-savvy. Give them the product you wrote assembly instructions for, or load the software for which you created a help file. Then, get them to try to put together the product or create a chart using your instructions. If they accomplish the task with relatively little difficulty, that's definitely a good sign. Afterwards, ask them how easy the document was to use, what they found confusing, and what would have made the document more user-friendly. Remember, the keyword here is novice - your computer geek friend doesn't count.
The Grammar Guru: You may have a knack for simplifying even the most complex topics, but that won't take you too far as a technical writer if you don't also understand the conventions of the English language. If you're not 100% confident that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills are top-notch, you should definitely enlist the help of a grammar expert. They can point out errors in your writing and show you how to fix your mistakes. Even if you have to pay somebody to help you with this aspect of your writing, it will be well worth it in the long run.
The Veteran of Technical Writing: Nobody has a handle on what makes a great piece of technical writing like somebody who is in the biz. If you have a friend who happens to be a technical writer, ask him to review some of your work and provide feedback. A fellow technical writer will be able to pinpoint problems and issues almost immediately, and they will also be able to tell you how to fix them. If you don't know any veterans personally, you could always hire an experienced technical writer to serve as your editor in the beginning of your career. If you're really lucky, that technical writing pro might also be a grammar guru, which will allow you to submit perfect pieces of technical writing that are also technically perfect.
Last Updated: 05/05/2014