Towards the end of last year I wrote a series of blog posts about public speaking tips. I’ve decided to start a similar series, but this time about writing. It could be blogging, writing articles and whitepapers, or just writing documentation in your company. So for the first instalment, lets talk about why I think you should take the time out of your day to write something.
- Check your understanding. Writing has always been a really good way of ordering my thoughts. There are plenty of occasions when I’ve thought I understood something, only to find as I wrote it down there were gaping holes in my knowledge. For me, the process of writing something gives me an indication of how much I really understand it. If it’s a struggle, it’s probably because I don’t really understand the subject and I should take a step back.
- Aid Memoire. I’m always telling people, the single biggest user of my website is me. I don’t have the best memory in the world, so I rely on my articles to remember how to do things. That’s the reason the articles usually have simple copy/paste examples. If you write for yourself, not to please others, you will be happier with the results.
- Build your confidence. The more content you write, the more confident you become. Having access to a whole bunch of “recipes” you’ve created makes life a lot easier, which in turn allows you to be more confident about the approach you are taking.
- Documentation skills. If you’re a developer, you’re probably saying to yourself, “I write self documenting code, so I don’t need to document my work!” My response to that is, “You are full of shit!” All systems need documentation. The art with documentation is to write enough to be useful, but not so much that people can’t be bothered to wade through it. Writing blog posts and articles helps you learn this balance.