Why I’m not afraid writing anymore

Jin Kang
Jin Kang
Feb 18, 2017 · 2 min read

Design is my profession. I’ve been practicing design for over 15 years, particularly in applying a user-centered design process in a complex business context. Throughout my career, I came to believe that the quality of design is the direct result of the quality of the design process. I’ve been educating businesses on the importance of user-centered design process, which refers to understanding users, prototyping, testing, and constantly improving to reach the highest standard of functionality and aesthetics. Without a well-defined design process and rigorous execution, good design will not be created by accident.

Writing is my dream. I always loved the notion of capturing thoughts. I’ve been writing journals since childhood; I aspire to write more personally and professionally. Yet, I’ve been struggling with writing well. I blamed a lack of talent and English not being my mother tongue. As as a wanna-be writer, I read many books on writing to learn how to write better and how to construct beautiful and logical sentences.

One day, while I was reading books on writing, I came across the notion of a “writing process”. The writing process roughly looked like this to me: understand the audience, make an (ugly) draft, organize, edit, edit, and edit until it’s clear, readable, and actionable for readers. What srucked me was that the writing process sounded a lot like my design process!

That moment, I had an epiphany.

Writing, just like design, has a process. And it starts with having empathy for readers (users).

Having a deep understanding of the readers is the first step to good writing. People often have this misperception that being a designer requires a special talent. Yes, having a talent helps, but it’s just a fraction of the factors needed for good design. What makes design good is the relentless pursuit of meeting the users’ needs and a humble mindset that allows prototype, test, and constant improvements.

Similarly, writing well is not just a matter of having talent. It is a process.

Good writing is the result of working hard rigorously. This realization liberated me from the fear of writing.

Most importantly, good design and good writing need each other.

In this digital world, well-written information itself is the interface.A well-crafted written piece needs a thoughtful presentation to deliver the message effectively.

Good design and good writing have a process.

Good design and good writing start with understanding users/readers.

And they need each other.

So when I have a writer’s block, I stay calm and just go back to the process. That’s why I’m not afraid writing any more. :)

Jin Kang

Written by

Jin Kang

Designing simplicity in complexity. Marrying banking with beauty. VP at OCBC Bank, Publisher of Designful.Co