Writing Is an Essential Skill. Don't Wait and Become a Practitioner!
Recently, I came across some articles discussing the importance of writing skills as well as many people (my classmates) complaining about writing assignments, so I decided to write this short post and share my two cents with you.
It's difficult, but…
Acquiring a new skill is always hard, isn't it? It takes time, discipline and the willingness to put yourself (your writing) out there.
What was holding me back
Before I published my first article, I'd been thinking about starting a blog for at least few months. Why it took me so long to get started? Let's have a look. I'll also give you some tips on how to overcome those “barriers”.
1/ I don't have anything to write about
When I look back, I think it was just one of the many excuses I came up with. Probably, I didn't want to put the work into it, which is silly because all it takes is to sit down and think about your hobbies. I bet there must be something you enjoy doing and most likely know more about than 80% of your friends. And that's just a starting point. :-)
TIP: Mark Suster broke it down very well, let me quote his words:
Do a brainstorming session and create a list of 40–50 topics that interest you. Write out the topic and maybe even the blog title. Keep the list electronically.
Struggling to come up with enough topics? Take one topic and break it up into 10 bite-sized articles. It’s probably better that way anyways. I wanted to write about the top 10 attributes of an entrepreneur. I wrote it all in one sitting and then broke it up into 10 separate posts. It kept me busy for 3 weeks! Each one ended up taking on a life of its own as the comments flowed in for post 1 I had more thoughts to add to post 2 and so on.
2/ The quality of my writing will be bad
Yes, most probably that's going to be the case. Especially, if you'd never written anything in the past and just decided to give it a try.
I wanted my first blog post to be perfect. Was it? No, of course not… In retrospective, it didn't matter because, at the end of the day, not many people actually read it… And those who did read the article (a vast majority of the views was generated by my friends & family) were more interested in the story itself compared to the grammar and structural mistakes I made. So, don't stress too much about it and remember that you'll have to do a lot of bad writing before you can create something good.
TIP: Read more & WRITE more. Become a practitioner as soon as possible.
3/ I'm not a native English speaker
I already mentioned grammar and structure in the text above. Yes, it can be challenging and even more so for people for whom English is a second language. However, this problem can be very easily fixed as I discovered later on. Do you want to know how? Keep reading.
I re-read (and edited) my first post at least 50x before I hit publish. I also let my English speaking friends proof-read the text before I was fully satisfied. Having your friends/teachers helping you is one of the options but, if I should use a startup jargon, it isn’t very scalable.
TIP: Fortunately, there are some tools that will make your life easier, for instance:
Grammarly is a very useful app (and browser extension) that corrects over 250 types of grammatical mistakes while also catching contextual spelling errors and poor vocabulary usage. It works for documents, emails, other Internet applications (such as Medium), etc.
You can try it for free (limited functionality) or buy the premium version for about ~$15/month.
Whitesmoke is very similar to Grammarly.
I haven't used it personally, but other people on the internet recommended it. They also have a free version and so you can easily figure out which tool is the one for you and your purposes.
The price of Whitesmoke is also around $15/month, depending on what plan you choose.
PRO TIP: If you think it's still too expensive, simply type “Grammarly discount” into Google (I got my 30% discount for a year plan like this) or check out AppSumo. They sometimes offer incredible deals for such tools. Good luck!
4/ I don't know where to publish my blog
Have you ever heard about Wordpress? Me too, many times. No wonder, it's one of the largest blogging platforms out there. I was planning to start my blog on Wordpress too, but after trying few times (and failing, because I realized that if I want my blog to be “beautiful”, it requires some skills & a certain amount of time), I gave up on Wordpress. Which meant postponing my blogging activities, again…
There are some other solutions like Tumblr, Squarespace and Strikingly. I use some of them now (Squarespace & Strikingly) to host my personal website, but at the beginning, I was looking for something even more easy-to-set-up.
And I found it. It takes 2 minutes (using your Twitter account or email address) to set up and it's gorgeous (plus, it's getting more and more popular and thanks to that you can get some additional exposure). You guessed it right; it's Medium. With Medium now everyone can blog, no more “technical barriers”, no more excuses.
TIP: Use Medium if you face similar problems like I did.
Why should you blog at the first place?
I won't go into details since countless articles have been written on this. To summarize it, writing is an essential part of our day-to-day communication. Get better at writing and you'll get better at conveying your ideas. Your life will then get easier in many different areas on both personal and business levels.
Trigger warning: I'm about to list some terms that might give you nightmares. Do you remember these? Gerunds…www.copyblogger.com
This post originally ran on TechCrunch.
Blogs. We all read them to get a sense of what is going on in the world…medium.com