For years, books and teachers have told authors to write what they know about.

If writers lived by this motto, there would be less Sci-Fi, fantasy, no one would ever due research, everyone that wanted to write about a subject would have to have a PhD in the sciences or literature to write anything. Most people don’t want to read academic books; they want entertainment, or something they can understand with as little jargon as possible.

The other day there was a post that stated you need a degree in science to write a technical paper. Don’t remember where I saw it, but humbly disagree. While having a degree in science or engineering, what about someone that has worked with technology for years as their profession.

Degrees are great, but does that mean the degree holder can write, or explain something from a practical standpoint; I think not. A writer with some research should be able to write a technical paper with no problem.

It is the type of technical paper written that makes the difference. If the paper is a user manual, would you want to read it from a design engineer or someone whose words make sense.

When writing a technical paper while studying electronics, the instructor told me to write it as though the person reading it didn’t know anything about the subject. The research and expertise is good but what about the experience of working with the subject even if you don’t have a degree in science, electronics, physics, or engineering.

In electronics, the engineer designs it, and the technician builds it and runs the tests to insure the circuit works within the design parameters designed by the engineer. Whom would you trust to write a paper you could understand the designer or the technician that tests it?

For me, experience working and learning is where you gain expertise, not out of some book. Every day you should be gaining knowledge and growing your expertise in whatever you are doing.

Freelance writers should be able to write well about myriad subjects well if they are willing to do the proper research and practice due diligence with the subject matter of their paper, book, or report. After all, the people reading it may not have degrees in science, but hold a degree in business or something else.

What do you think?

Robert Medak

Freelance Writer/Editor/Reviewer

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