Writers operating on a budget often can’t shell out thousands of dollars for upgrading their writing skills. That said, training and learning new industry material is key to cracking into higher-paying jobs as well as writing careers. It’s one thing to be a general writer, but quite another to be a professional technical writer. Freelance technology writers represent a perfect example of the difference. As a result, finding low-cost training provides a critical boost for writers looking to scale up their capabilities.
To competently write about business, particularly from a management perspective, a writer needs to know how business works. Ideally, he would have spent time working as a manager and supervisor. That said, not every writer wants or has a chance to sit in those shoes. So the next best thing is to study both management theory and case studies. The principles of good management are not arcane magic; they resonate from case to case. Smart writers pick up on these principles studying case articles as well as the general rules that apply. Good sources to get started with for free include MindTools, Entepreneur.com, and FastCompany.com. These three sources give a writer a broad spectrum of management material to understand how companies and leaders tick.
The majority of technology writing falls into three categories: writing about tech companies, writing how-to manuals or guides, and writing technical material on technology design. To understand how particular software or hardware works, one of the best ways to learn quick involves hands-on training. While there are a few free guides, some of the best research sources at low cost include targeted online training. Lynda.com and VTC.com are two of a number of resources available with targeted training for quick hands-on learning.
While understanding technology companies for articles can be handled with general business writing, design writing is a far different beast. A person needs to understand the tools of the given technology design to discuss it well. Otherwise expert readers see through the fake attempt very quickly. This area requires both time and experience to produce the best results. The best low cost approach aside from working in a design job is to take related classes at a local community college. Many offer night classes in technology for working adults, so it’s both possible and affordable.
Whether it’s about history or automotive repair, many of the topics and materials for learning how to produce technical writing exist at a far more traditional resource: the local city library. Hundreds and hundreds of books can be borrowed for free. The Internet has made it easy to look up topics, but they are not always the best source. Using that local library can provide plenty of free education for a writer, regardless of his background and prior education.
A number of sources exist for free or low cost that writers can use to improve their skill, but writers need self-drive to make it happen. Thinking creatively about resources can quickly improve a writer’s skill, often with little or no expense at all.
Tom L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.