I Love the Technical Writing Niche, Yet, Let’s Go Beyond

From technical writing to writing as a way of life

Luca Vettor
4 min readJan 12, 2023
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I’m a technical writer and translate machines for humans, but is that all the story? There are many reasons why the answer is no. So, let me explain my thoughts.

If you are a technical writer, deem this article a bridge toward the full wonderful of writing. Otherwise, read it as a declaration of love toward the most staggering invention humans have conceived since they have been humans: writing.

Besides, great professionals must go beyond their job to be good at that same job. Sure, they have to choose the direction to go wisely; otherwise, they get lost. Let’s try to be wise, then.


As a technical writer, you deliver simplified and still effective models. The goal is to understand the complex business model that a product or a service implements and produce another simplified model focused on the specific audiences’ needs.

Following Vaughn Vernon in Domain-Driven Design Distilled (not affiliated link):

There are a number of learning styles, but three of the most discussed are auditory, visual, and tactile styles. […] model building holds out the possibility to accommodate the learning style of the vast majority of individuals.

Modeling is a robust way of communicating precisely: receiving communication is learning by representing the communication content, which is a model.

The meanings of words are models, too. In fact, meanings represent some pieces of the world they indicate. It is not an exaggeration to say that we think through models.

From modeling to stories

A model is a map of something happening, and describing something happening over time has the shape of a story.

Sure, I’m not stating that modeling a business is like writing a novel. Yet, the structure of a model has many facets in common with a story. The first joint facet is time: both describe transformations over time.

For example, think of Domain Driven Desing (DDD): when modeling events, you describe them with the past participle. In the event “Order sent,” for example, a micro-story happened in time, where an entity caused the transformation of the status of the order into “sent.” Nothing romantic but a story.

The other joint facet between models and stories is to isolate and focus on specific agents of what happens. In the stories’ domain, that agents usually have the name of “heroes.”

From stories to heroes

When something happens, something or somebody is the agent of the happening.

In the previous example of the DDD event “Order sent,” something or somebody needs to trigger that event. That trigger is the “hero” of the micro-story “Order sent.” Again, nothing romantic but a story: something happens in time, and an agent causes the transformation.

It may seem bizarre to juxtapose the word “hero” with technical writing; nevertheless, wherever there’s the need for writing, that’s the need to concentrate on the actions of a protagonist. In technical writing, we usually call “personas” those protagonists, but, in the end, what are “personas” if not the “heroes” of the business?

Heroes don’t only play a foundational role in the cause-effect relationship among events; they convey the meaning of the happening. In technical writing, that meaning is the business value of a product or service; in general, that meaning is the exact purpose of the writer’s writing.

From heroes to struggles

Personas in technical writing get their definition based on the problems they need to overcome. In other words, struggles define personas.

The same happens for heroes, who are heroes based on the struggles they face and overcome. Could there ever be heroes without the impediment that hinders their realization?

Struggles are the engine of the world. It’s rough to say, but true, as everybody knows. And beyond.

Based on the Oxford Languages, a struggle is

a forceful or violent effort to get free of restraint or resist attack.

In other words, a struggle is the battlefield of the will: will to be there, will to realize a vision, will to be human.

From struggles to humankind

Taking to the sea, far from the shores of technical writing, we now realize that struggles define the human being.

It may sound unpleasant, but struggles are like boundaries: they separate and make violence to the unity, but they define what otherwise would not exist as an individual.

Struggles are the great toil of humankind. In the same way, struggles are the stuff that makes humanity.

And that’s the domain of writing.

Beyond technical writing

After years as a technical writer, I gained the awareness of being a writer first. Technical writing deals with a fascinating and tiny facet of humankind, but there is an immensity to write about and to model to convey the spark we are as humans.

The meanings of words are models, too.

Does that mean I can write beyond my technical writing skills? Not at all. I have to read, work, write and write and write again. My readers will say what I am as a composer of words. Yet, that’s my journey, and I want to travel it.

Even staying in technical writing, too, I go beyond.

Stay tuned!

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Luca Vettor

My 24 years in the IT industry and physics degree flow into my mission: simplify what appears complex.