Blog It Yourself - My experience
This article is part of a series called "Blog It Yourself"
As we discussed in the previous article, there are many obstacles that prevent us from writing articles. Here, I share my experience on how to overcome them.
Let’s explore how to overcome the dreaded writer’s block for developers! And let’s tackle the impostor syndrome that often immobilizes us.
To be completely transparent, I frequently face these obstacles myself. First and foremost within myself, but also among the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with for years. Here are some tips that I try to follow and share. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for everyone…
Think a lot, write quickly
This is probably the best description of my approach. It often takes me days, or even months, to write an article. A topic needs time to truly mature, and I often work on it in the background. You know, like those bugs you solve at random times, in the shower, and so on.
But since we work all day, it’s often difficult to have a continuous train of thought that we can pick up where we left off. So, we need to take notes, bookmark articles to easily find them later—anything that helps us gather information when we find a spare moment.
Then, it’s perfectly fine to create an outline for your article, sprinkling in some links as references and anchors for your future self.
It’s a holistic process that takes more or less time depending on the individual and the subject matter, but I find it particularly suitable for our already busy lives. And then… it’s time to dive in! And at that point, the writing can flow very quickly!
In contrast to the period of reflection when we gather sources and ideas, the writing comes naturally because everything is already in our minds! For those who enjoy writing, it can even be an exhilarating moment: in a matter of minutes, you can write several dozen lines without even noticing the time passing because everything is already in place. It’s a kind of liberation, as everything finally falls into place and our brains can empty at the same time.
The first drafts of articles that have been prepared well in advance are often the final versions with only minor adjustments. It’s not uncommon for me to have only a few days between starting the writing process and publishing a post, allowing time to review it with a fresh perspective. And having someone else proofread it to avoid sharing too many mistakes.
We know that procrastination is even stronger when we don’t feel like doing a task. And yet, in our case, it’s important to overcome our usual shortcomings. I recommend setting goals for yourself, if possible, achievable ones. For example, why not aim for one article per month to start?
At the same time, during slow periods, it’s very interesting to create "reserves" of posts to publish later. That way, you can procrastinate a bit on the upcoming ones!
To maintain the pace, you can alternate between several types of articles, some taking longer to write than others. This allows you to catch your breath between two particularly challenging tutorials, for example.
Don’t hesitate to split into multiple articles
Often, when tackling a subject to write an article, we discover new aspects or elements that we didn’t master. That’s cool, it means we’re learning new things! But in return, we end up with a mountain of topics to address, which extends the duration of our thinking process and the writing time, but above all results in a lengthy article that won’t be easily digestible.
In that case, don’t hesitate to split your article into several parts. If possible, in a logical manner (based on the outline mentioned earlier, for example). Moreover, it’s also an excellent way to increase the number of publications, and consequently improve your referencing, personal satisfaction, etc.
However, don’t try to stretch it out just for the sake of it; readers will notice. It’s better to aim for conciseness and get straight to the point… something I struggle with a lot!
Don’t hesitate to tackle subjects you don’t master 100%
As we’ve seen, imposter syndrome often tends to inhibit us. But we have to take the plunge… Even with all the courage in the world, it’s difficult to feel sufficiently legitimate to write an article on a subject we don’t feel we fully master.
However, if only experts wrote articles, there would be very few publications to guide us when we seek help on the internet! So, should we just dive in and write anything? No! It’s entirely possible to highlight the points we don’t understand, revisit them later, etc. Firstly, because we never know everything, and secondly, because it’s an excellent way to learn!
By doing research, you’ll acquire knowledge you didn’t have before, simply because you didn’t need it during your development phase, for example. But writing your article will help you improve your skills, it’s a double win!
Later on, by continuing to work on the same subject, you might understand new things, discover that you weren’t following best practices… and that will allow you to write an additional article, showcasing the evolution of your knowledge. Another opportunity to do so is during a major update of a tool you were presenting, for example!
What do you think of these tips? Are you going to take the plunge?
I propose going a step further to improve the quality of your blog posts in an upcoming article!