There is a stigma that surrounds engineers in that they are good with numbers and problem-solving, but useless at writing. It is the one problem that they cannot seem to solve. Although this is very stereotypical, there is some truth to it as well.
In general, engineers are not the most effective communicators. They communicate by means of doing and showing that the proof is in the pudding. Needless to say, writing is a skill they need to develop, and here are some resources for writing for engineers.
(Top 7) Best Resources Engineers can Use to Learn Writing
Prioritize Writing –
Many engineers put off writing because they have something better to do with their time. When you do your project planning, make sure to add in some dedicated time for writing. There is always something to capture.
Whether it is a schedule or a report, you have to do some writing at some time. That is why writing is important and making time for it as well. Putting it off will only mount the stress you already have and make life difficult for the people who need to report to you.
Familiarize Yourself with the Content –
The more you know about your field, the easier it becomes to explain. Engineers often have to report on what the state of affairs is, and they tend to go into technical writing mode.
What is technical writing, you may ask? In short, it is the thing that makes engineers bad communicators because they assume that everyone understands the technical terms the use. There is more than one way to explain something, and the more familiar you are with the content, the easier it comes to communicate it effectively.
Let Everything Sink in –
To write effectively, you have to distance yourself from your writing once you are done. This allows your brain to process everything and reset itself.
Once you return to your writing, you look at it with fresh eyes, and you can pick up on areas that are a bit unclear or ambiguous. No one said that your first draft is your final draft. You might have to go back over it a couple of times.
You can also approach the online editors and proofreaders who will do the finetuning work straight from the source. Their in-depth work knowledge and strong subject expertise in the writing field might help you in gaining some valuable feedback that you can use to enhance your own skills.
Write in the Active Voice –
People are generally not too fond of the passive voice as it is impersonal and often feels as if it deals with something that happened in the past.
Your technical piece should always be written in the active voice as it gives your work an authoritative tone and appears to be more engaging. The passive voice can sometimes be evasive and can also cast some uncertainty because the focus of the sentence is the outcome and the cause of the outcome.
Add those Visuals –
Technical writing can sometimes be very bland, and there is nothing you can do about it. Although you can’t do much about the text, you can add visual aids to spruce things up a bit.
Excellent writing skills will only get you so far. So, when the need arises, don’t be afraid to add some visuals to give your writing a bit more color. In fact, visually presenting graphs and figures often have much more value than the words themselves.
Use the People around you –
Although you are an engineer with engineer friends around you, there will be someone in your circle that is not. Having them proofread your work will often shed light on whether your writing is any good.
Let them know that the best thing they can do is to be brutally honest. If they are, they will be quick to tell you that you need to make changes and that there are areas where they lose the plot.
Do some Reading –
This is probably one of the most important things that any good writer does, and that is to read. You cannot read enough, especially literature that is related to your field. However, when you read a bit wider, you get exposed to other forms of expression, and you could use it in your own writing as well.
Developing excellent writing skills is essential for everyone, but it doesn’t come naturally for everyone either. If you apply these techniques to your writing, you’ll see a remarkable difference, and you’ll also use less time as your skill improves.
Jeff Blaylock is a technical writer currently working with an online writing service that provides science, engineering, and technology students with thesis, dissertation, and essays. His in-depth knowledge and years of experience in these subjects make him a great writer. In his free time, he watches TV, reads autobiographies, and plays tennis.