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BTS 14: Hidden Tips from 16 years of Technical Writing

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Do you want to hear the best advice from 16 years of writing experience?

That’s great because it’s carefully documented in this interview with Himanshu Sheth.

He’s a strong advocate for personal development and he helps others with their writing journey so they don’t make the same mistakes he did when he was starting.

Are you ready for a soothing written mentorship session from a well-seasoned senior technical writer?

Then come along!

Please introduce yourself

Hi everyone this is Himanshu Sheth and I am a technical content manager and developer evangelist at LambdaTest. I take care of the technical content as well as the blog.

I have been writing blogs for the past 15 years and in that period, I’ve written close to 200+ blogs for startups, including LambdaTest.

A portfolio builder for tech writers

I enjoy motivating more and more people to write and get into technical writing.

When did you get into technical writing?

I would not say I entered into technical writing. I got into writing in general, first. The whole idea of getting into writing was to improve my communication skills be it written or spoken. 

I started way back in 2005 when everyone was writing blogs on Blogspot. Then over a while, in the course of writing my blog posts, I started to learn a lot of things concerning technology and I improved my skill in terms of writing and SEO.

Then, I moved my blog from Blogspot, and right now, I have my domain. It was a gradual shift from Blogspot to WordPress. 

I started getting job offers from different companies as my writing skills improved. I started getting noticed even more and that is how it all evolved, step by step.

What is your worst technical writing experience?

I think I misunderstood the concept of plagiarism a bit in the beginning. Maybe this is the issue that novice writers normally make when getting started with writing.

 Later, I realized that it is a serious crime!—you can’t just take content from the internet and rephrase it and it all goes unnoticed.

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I think that will be my biggest mistake as far as writing is concerned. I have become a much better person right now in terms of writing. 

I help others and I make sure they don’t make similar mistakes along their writing journey.

What is one of your best writing experiences?

So I have a couple of bests but here are a few that stood out.

I wrote a thought leadership post for a CXO of a growing startup. This is back when I was freelancing and worked on a lot of different projects. The article revolved around 5G, mobile penetration, the Indian economy, government policies, and more.

I hate ghosts (since they don’t exist) but this was one of my works as a ‘so-called) ghost writer 😀

 It was thought leadership content and it took me around 15 to 20 days to write. It was about a thousand words long, and I was to write about something economics related. 

It was specifically about the government policies in India. I connected the dots in such a way that the article I wrote was helpful to the audience. I was commended greatly for my efforts. 

Also, the blogs that I have written for LambdaTest have come out to be good and I have improved on the quality of work over time as far as blogs are concerned.

I think the Specflow blog that I wrote for LambdaTest is one of the best works that I can think of. It took me about 25 days to write that blog post.

There were a lot of technical issues which I had to work on and the blog turned out to be good.

Since you’re quite thorough could you share your writing process with us?

Everything starts with the research of that particular topic.  So the first thing you have to do is, go to the internet and research what others have written on that topic.

You have to ensure that whatever you have written is much better than what others have written. 

In the case the content is not available especially when it comes to thought leadership content, you have to get all the relevant data points from the Internet.

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It could be from a media publication, the newspapers, white papers, or reports. You have to take the relevant data points from all these publications or articles and then form a story around them.

 For instance, with technical writing, you create content around a piece of code. It is all about having a problem statement in hand and then writing code around it and then forming a story around that piece of code.  

So that’s how I go over to the technical writing part of it and as far as tools I use Google docs, Semrush, and Grammarly all these common tools that are used by everyone else.

Did you take any form of training for your technical writing?

In terms of training, I have not taken up any training. The whole idea was to improve my skills as a person. So, I read a lot of things on the Internet and I started reading a lot of books. 

I didn’t read technical writing books alone, I read a lot of management books and books written by entrepreneurs. 

I read them so I could understand exactly how they’re telling their story because everyone wants to listen to a story and that’s how you become a good storyteller and that’s how you become a good writer.

If you could turn back the hands of time or do you want to change anything about your Career?

One thing that I would have wanted to change was becoming a good storyteller on time. Maybe if I knew how to tell a story better, my earlier blogs would have gotten the type of recognition that I wanted. Storytelling is very important.

How do you manage negative critique and did you have any of that starts as a writer?

I have not had much negativity but that’s one of the things that comes from putting your work on the internet.

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You just have to take it in a proper way. Take it positively as someone giving feedback if there is a problem with your content.

You have to appreciate that they have taken the time to point out a mistake in your piece of content. What I do is that I reach out to that person one-to-one on LinkedIn and I try to learn how exactly they found the problem.

That’s a good way to learn from the other person. So the mistake becomes the learning curve. 

And if there are comments with some form of mocking, I don’t take it negatively, I take that positively and I improve further.

So, What words of advice would you want to leave for younger technical writers, up and coming?

Put your content out there whatever the shape it’s in.

You never know if might be helpful to others even if there are mistakes. We are human, everyone makes mistakes. 

There is nothing like a perfect product or a perfect person. Just start putting your work on the Internet. You never know how impactful that work will be for others. Once your work is getting noticed people reach out to you more and more they will provide you with more work.

So if you’re thinking, “let me become perfect, only then will I put out work or put my blog on Hashnode or Medium or any of the platforms, that time will never come. There is no perfect work as such. So just put your work out there.

Connect with Himanshu

  1. Linkedin
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook

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