In the non-fiction department, technical writing is by far the most generously paid regular work as a freelancer (not considering various exceptions here). If you are a freelancer in any technical niche, finance, marketing, engineering, medical, etc., you’d know all about it. Today, I call them general-technical articles.
I chose to earn some extra bucks in college and started my work as a freelance technical writer. The two years of that journey taught me that I didn’t want to touch upon the subject anymore. Over the years, the lines between article writing and technical writing have blurred, or so I discovered, once I picked up my lost profession from the past. Only one thing seems to have remained constant: the hunt for articles that would rank on Google. Nicely played Google!
There are multiple headaches we have to face each time when a demand for ranking comes in (in other words, SEO friendly). One such headache is the inevitable fight between plagiarism checkers and Jargons; there is little you can do about it too. A platform made for the purpose of ‘not copy escaping’ but ‘Google Ranking’ does not recognize the fact that Jargons in a subject do not have appropriate synonyms, if any at all. Many a times, original articles shudder with the charges of plagiarized content. The writers seal their lips and spin the content otherwise to suit the need.
Methane is going to be Methane, as a word or as a compound. Words used in a set like ‘vitamins and minerals’ are going to have little variations, all of which have been used in some or the other ranked site.
Moreover, syntax in any computer language don’t even have variations; if they did, we wouldn’t have simplified programs, coding or computer language for that matter. Series of words like ‘binary numbers, 0 and 1’ will have minimal versatility of writing. And there is more, where that came from.
Of course, technical writers do it all the time. They create 100% plagiarism free content all around the world every minute as you read. But what happens when all the phrases and variations have been used up and spit out, sprawled across internet. Will these tools be enough or will the rules have to change into ‘5% allowed’, ‘10% allowed’, ‘15% allowed’ and so on? What happens after that?
The interesting part is, the press release writers are buckling under the context of plagiarism everyday. The news is going to be new. The more the channels that deliver the news, the higher the chances are of plagiarizing content. Something can only be creatively rephrased so many times, especially if you want to stick to grammatical rules (which are overlooked in many cases to escape plagiarism). Plagiarism checker won’t understand the fact that quoted text is a statement and is going to remain same across all channels (and I am only guessing, neither does Google ranking algorithm).
We are forced to ask ourselves as writers if content spinning is immoral or is it a need?
Is there an end to this mindless checking or is it giving birth to mindlessly spun content? I even read an article that claimed spun content gave rise to checking tools! (If I remember where I read it, I will add a link)
What came first: The chicken or the egg?
The opinions may vary but no writer I have encountered till date has failed to agree that creatively spilling jargons on documents is rising to become a creative headache, everyday. No wonder people want to be business and blog owners today.
I myself stir clear of technical articles for this reason and a few more.