I’ve struggled with writing for a long time. I’ve had lots of starts and stops. It’s “time-consuming,” I’m not very good at it, and often, like a chore, I put it off because I have more important things to do. Unlike chores, I don’t eventually have to write. I can put it off forever.
But I want to write. I want to become a better writer. Good writing makes a designer stand apart, as it gives others a glimpse of how a designer thinks. Designers get paid for the way they think.
Lots of amazing, influential designers write on Medium, and there are lots of great design articles. Lots of high-quality writing on Medium is daunting for someone who doesn’t write regularly. The pressure to create high quality content is intense; if I can’t write like them, why should I write at all?
Writing for Yourself
Influential designers write to teach and to gain more influence. But I’m sure they all started somewhere. I’m sure they all started as bad writers. And not writing isn’t going to make me a better writer.
Too many people write for others. Too many people write for claps. Too few write just to write.
Instead of writing for an audience, why not write pieces for yourself? Write pieces as practice? This takes away the pressure from always having to write influential pieces. This also creates incentive to write more. And writing more will help improve the writing.
I have lots of things I want to write about, but also lots of excuses to put them off. I need to schedule writing in my life like a chore. It’s like working out. You can’t flex your writing muscles if you never put them to use.
And just like working out, you can’t go straight to a marathon, you have to build up. So I’m starting small. My new resolution is to:
- Write short, thoughtful articles just for myself, not for an audience.
- Each piece needs to be short and thoughtful. 2 min read max.
- Quantity is more important than quality. Treat these like diary entries. Don’t care about upvotes. In fact, never look at the analytics.
- Each piece needs a goal: a thought, an argument, or an explanation. Each piece needs to be designed for an imaginary reader to get something out of it.
- Balance quality and quantity. Get it done; get it out in the world. Avoid perfection, but avoid sloppiness.
- Each piece should take at most one hour to write. Think of these as minimally viable pieces of writing.
- Write at least one piece a week.
Ok, these are the things I need going forward. I’ll try to adhere to colloquial, one thought per sentence style of writing. I’ll also stick to better writing principles using Hemingway App though it definitely has its drawbacks. I’ll try not to rant; after all, this is supposed to be a tool to improve my writing, right?