Day in the Life of a Technical Writer
An inside peek into what an average day looks like as a remote technical writer
If you’re looking to break into technical writing, as a professional from a different field or as a graduate of a technical communications program, one of the questions asked often is what can I expect my job to actually look like?
I’ve been working remotely as a technical writer for a small SaaS company for a little over a year now, and here is how my days usually go.
I start my day off with a cup (or three) of coffee and a quick Slack update.
Our team has a dedicated Slack channel just for posting daily updates, so we can all stay aware of what people are working on or if there are any blockers. In that Slack channel, I added a workflow that schedules a daily reminder to post our updates, which has been a huge boost for keeping track of what everyone is working on.
After that, I’ll be in and out of engineering meetings for an hour or so. I sit in on daily standups where engineers go over what they’ve been working on, what they’re working on next, and any blockers they’ve run into. Sometimes I’ll have a documentation item come from this, but usually I’m just sitting in to take notes and stay aware of development progress.
Once I’m out of standups, I’ll check my email for any important action items. If something comes up, I might spend the rest of the morning working through it.
If not, I have time to work on my projects. Depending on where the engineers are in their release cycle, I might be working on release documentation, or I may have time to go through my backlog of low-priority requests and updates. All of this we maintain in Jira.
I also keep a to-do list that I’ll add to during meetings or over the course of the day. When I have time to go through my list, I’ll pick out the highest priority item and block out my calendar for an hour or so to work on it. This helps my teammates know that I’m head down in research or writing, and not to schedule meetings with me.
When I finish, or if I have to step away, I’ll update my time log on the Jira story for that project.
Once a week I meet with my manager for a quick 1:1. We’ll discuss everything from my workload to weekend plans, and it's generally a time for us to touch base and make sure I have everything I need to do my job effectively.
A few times a week I meet with our junior technical writer to go over their projects. Sometimes this is just a quick chat for guidance on the next steps for a project, or small technical or process questions. Other times we might have an extended working session.
Lunchtime! Since I work from home, I try to fit in a quick walk around the park a couple of times a week just so I don’t go stir crazy.
After lunch, I’ll usually spend some time following up on action items. That might mean pinging an SME (Subject Matter Expert) about a review I’m waiting on, or directing requests I’ve received to my PMs (Product Managers) for input.
Any remaining time I have I’ll continue working on projects.
Once a week I meet with the PMs for our two main products and talk about documentation needs. This can involve:
- Getting input on requests I’ve received from support or other departments;
- Reviewing documentation drafts; or
- Discussing and planning upcoming release documentation.
After the meeting, I’ll go through my notes and update the relevant Jira stories with what we discussed so anyone can refer back to it later, if needed.
The remainder of my day is usually spent on my own tasks — research, writing, or updating documentation.
End of Day
Before I log off for the day, I go back through my Jira stories and log any time I may have missed, or comment updates on any major changes or decisions. I’ll generally spend the last 20–30 minutes of my day on the administrative work that makes it so much easier to jump right back in the next day.
Hope this helped some of you get a better idea of what it’s like to work remotely as a technical writer. Thanks for reading!