What I learned while reading about digital writing...

Technical writing as a discipline is a form of writing that aims to communicate complex information in a way that is easy to understand. Generally speaking, it strives toward usefulness and function rather than attractiveness. Thus, my working definition of technical writing in the digital age at this point is technical writing that is performed through or can be accessed through either a computer or a computer-like device.

Yesterday evening, someone asked for a definition of technical writing. From my memory, I recall that I gave him some examples of technical writing: user manuals and business proposals. From my reading I now know to broaden that definition to include that it can be representative of many different fields. I can also now add that it only aims toward beauty to the degree that beauty can be defined as clear and succinct. With regard to my previous definition of digital writing, that part was easy. Now, however, rather than just stating that it is technical writing that can be retrieved on a computer, I can, if necessary, add that it is such writing that is also composed using a computer-like device.

Another important component that I was reminded of from my reading was that digital writing—just as with any type of technical writing—should be geared towards the audience. Thus, we discuss technical writing as writing that simplifies complex ideas, we must bear in mind that this means simplifying it in such a way that it can be best comprehended by a particular type of reader.

I also learned from reading something that has already been proven to have an impact on my writing. Earlier this week, I read a passage which implored that effectively anything posted in an online environment today must be equipped with sources in order to be regarded as credible. I had previously only thought of following accepted citation practices as a way to stay on the up-and-up of property law; I had never really thought about it in the capacity of making one’s digital work more credible or easier to follow up on. At any rate, this information was apparently still having an impact on me as I redid a prior course assignment: a digital newsletter. As I was configuring each of the components, I noticed that something was particularly lingering in the back of mind in such a way that it normally isn’t during the writing process: citations. I found myself now quite concerned about all my sources. How was I going to put them together; would they be hyperlinked; should even my infographics contain in-text citations; how can I make them most consistent and so forth. To be honest, these considerations made me think a lot more about the professionalization of digital writing.

When I was considering the various interdisciplinary approaches in digital writing, it simplified for me the meaning of the statement that, “In a way, we are all likely already technical writers to some degree [1] or (Lucas, n.p.).” People of most professions will undoubtedly find themselves, at one point or another, either having or choosing to present technical communication to an audience. In such an instance, he will be tasked with undergoing the same considerations of an individual who is a technical writer by trade: audience analysis; clarity; usability and accessibility; and cultural and interdisciplinary considerations. The above quote also amplifies the point that technical writing revolves around “various professions and technical fields” (Lucas, n.p.).

I am not quite sure which among the above-noted details seem most applicable to my interests as a digital writer. As someone currently enrolled in a graduate program called technical and professional writing, I am certainly interested in learning about various kinds of writing. That said, I don’t happen to believe that I have a vocational future in web-based writing. In fact, I have traditionally been someone who tries to refrain from any sort of online publishing; I don’t even have any social media accounts. (I say “don’t even” because I presume that a good deal of my school colleagues do have some.) I am about to transition back to the sales field. Apart from a fleeting interest in creating a travel blog, I don’t readily see how any of my future career interests include any major reliance upon digital writing. I am currently looking into the steps of becoming a proposal writer. That said, the ideas which I have reflected upon as a result of my recent readings into digital writing, such as audience and source referencing, are relevant to technical writing conducted in just about any type of mode.

Works Cited

Lucas, Gerald. (2023). ENGL 5106 Coursebook (1sted.). GRLucas.net.  Accessed 10 October 2023.

Chanel Brown

Chanel lives on the East Coast and is currently pursuing an MA in Technical & Professional Writing.
Along the East Coast