Reasons to keep writing even when no one shows up
I’ve always wanted to be one of those designers who write helpful content and often publish to their sites. But unfortunately, in my experience, writing hasn’t been an easy habit to form. Simply put, my writing didn’t generate instant traction. Publishing into a black hole is deflating. I want people to read my writing, but how do I push past that desire to be seen and heard? I started to ask myself why I wanted to write and discovered several reasons to keep writing even if no one ever showed up.
Practice makes perfect—become a better writer
This one cuts deep for me. Growing up, I got pushed into a lower-level reading class. I was tagged with learning disabilities and told I would never become anything. I have to admit this colored my view of reading for most of my schooling and early adulthood. Art and computers were the life preservers that kept me in school. Without those, I don’t know what I would have become. Somehow I made it through high school and college. Once I began my design career, I read all the time. I had a ferocious appetite for learning. I spent most of my life avoiding fictional books because I wasn’t ‘smart enough.’ But In my late 20s, I gave reading for fun a try. To my amazement, fictional texts held my attention and captured me. I’m now obsessed with the fantasy genre. I missed years of reading enjoyment based on labels teachers and classmates put on me. I was robbed but determined to change it.
Though my reading skills were improving, I had my work cut out for me regarding writing. I had to start with basic mechanics; I was a terrible typist. I grew up with AOL instant messenger and never learned how to type correctly. So I decided to learn to type properly, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
As I progressed in my design career, I learned that an excellent product experience is always associated with solid content design. A skilled content designer is one of the most valuable assets a design team can have, but many teams don’t invest in adequately staffing these roles. With this gap, I knew I needed to improve my writing to deepen my impact. Whether it is writing copy for my customers or copy for my team, I want to improve. So to get there, I needed to spend more time writing. Hence, welcome to my blog.
Improve your communication
Communication is challenging. I’ve read loads of resumes over the years. Most have bullet points: “skilled communicator” or “Communication skills 10/10.” The irony is that many of these aren’t great examples of communication. Often, applicants have ‘bullet points’ but don’t say anything exceptionally informative in their applications. They don’t tell stories or share their experience, mistakes, and growth. Instead, resumes are often stacked with generic platitudes. Job hunters are ticking off the resume checkboxes.
In college, you learn how to write long papers. Remember those minimum page count requirements? The professional world is different. Your teams want you to tell them what they need to know as concisely as possible. They have plenty to do. Capture their attention with excellent communication. Writing on this site improves my storytelling and communication skills. I want to deliver information that will influence, help, and guide people. Writing is an impactful skill to have when it comes to creating influence.
Communication isn’t a bullet list or even an email. But writing more long-form content could help take your communication skills to the next level.
You have complete autonomy in writing blog posts and essays
I love the feeling of progress. But sometimes, in the professional world, things get stuck. Writing is a way to get something out into the world without blockers. Even if no one reads a post, I still feel a sense of progress when clicking the publish button. I get to post articles to this site on my terms. I can make them as short, long, and polished or rough as I desire. I am the decision-maker, the only stakeholder, and for me, that is cathartic.
When you write, you learn
A great way to learn is to teach. Why? To be able to teach something, you first need to understand a concept at a high enough level to speak to it. Not the highest level, but high enough that it allows you to bring someone along who isn’t as far along as you are. I love learning, and writing is a great instigator of discovery.
Being able to articulate something forces you to go deeper on a subject. If you write, you will learn.
Writing creates libraries
When you write on a personal site, you create a library of content. Libraries allow you to reference the things you learned and share them when questions arise. In addition, they are searchable and benefit others. For example, I am known for my Loom videos at work, and teammates ask how they can improve their Loom videos too. Because I’ve already written a post about this topic, teaching them is as simple as copying and pasting a link.
Documentation benefits others. Write down what you learn. You will find it valuable later.
Writing shows you care
When applying to your next job or submitting a talk, you have a place to point to if you have a collection of written thoughts. Writing shows, you care, displays your thinking, and adds transparency to your process. Do you remember your algebra teacher in high school telling you to ‘show your work’—writing provides this. Show others how you think for their benefit and yours. Writing can show you care.
Note: I am not arguing that if you don’t write that you don’t care. Instead, I am pointing out that writing signals a person does care.
Writing opens up opportunities
I couldn’t write this post without admitting that writing isn’t an entirely altruistic endeavor for me. I enjoy writing. It helps me process and learn. But if I’m honest, I also want writing to open doors for my career and business endeavors. I don’t believe that is a bad thing for you or me to pursue.
Pick up your pencil or keyboard, folks. It’s time to write.