Kai raised an interesting point about which skill (writing/technical) takes longer to master. Knowing how to structure and present information to users? Or knowing how to use a product or application? That got me thinking. If you want to make money as a technical writer, which area should you focus on? Sharpen your writing skills or deepen your technical knowledge, for example, learning how to document an API?
Scott says, “If you want to improve as a writer, you not only need to write. You need to read. Writing and reading are two sides of the same coin. You need to do both to achieve your potential.” I head downtown most weekends and buy 2 or 3 books, mostly business, history and some fiction. Every so often I run out of options (we’re in Beijing) and get something I usually wouldn’t buy, for example, Iain M Banks. Reading outside my comfort zone stretches me. I encounter writing styles, opinions, and information that I usually side-step.