To write or not to write online. That is the question.
5 min read
First things first. Writing online is hard. Especially if English is not your main language.
Then you may have the problem of not knowing what to write about or the opposite problem of having too much to write about and not knowing where to start.
Add in the fact that in the past years, writing as a developer or a person working in tech, has become a more common and kind of expected thing to do.
And you have even more pressure to not only start writing but to write something that's valuable and useful to your fellow developers.
There are several advantages to writing online. (especially in the middle of a pandemic where we can't share and discuss ideas as we previously could)
The act of writing things down, allows us to put concepts out there that we assume we understand already. But we are not aware of the gaps we have until seeing them outside our heads.
Writing gives us that extra time to think about what we're putting out there as opposed to talking. For many people, their brains move faster than their mouths can. This can lead to mistakes in the way they say things or saying things they shouldn't have in the first place.
Writing allows us to organize our ideas to build a better foundation for new knowledge. It also helps to uncover gaps in our understanding of different concepts.
For instance, I can already know how to make a new React app to build a calculator. There are some things that are more familiar and I can do without thinking much about it. Then I would have to check the specifics of some to complete the whole application and have it working.
But it's only when I have to use that knowledge and either explain it to someone else or write about the topic that I'll become aware of the parts that I don't know. That's when I'll have to refer to the docs or to another tutorial about the subject.
This relates to what Richard Feynman used to do to learn new subjects. He would put himself in a position where he would have to explain concepts to others. And doing so, he would find out if he really knew about those subjects or if he had any knowledge gaps. In case he did, he would see where the gaps were and will have to address them later.
In another way, writing allows us to find out what is our perspective about a particular topic. For me, I find it easier to do front-end development and things related to UI and UX. So when I write about web dev, I'll be assuming certain things and have certain opinions due to that background.
But for someone else, writing about web dev would align with those personal interests. If that person is more back-end oriented, the articles would be more related to those technologies or ways to use them.
One could be writing about JS on the front and the other would be writing about Node.js for the back.
Even for two people writing about front-end, it could be different. One could make more of an emphasis on CSS because that's the preference, and the other would talk more about JS due to the preference with that language.
Writing is also related to reading in the sense that with reading, you get new ideas. With writing, you are able to shape and sharpen those ideas. And those ideas can mix with others written before to make new articles or improve existing ones.
But writing not only has a personal component for the obvious reasons. (your perspective about something is uniquely yours) It also has an interpersonal one (how the things you write can change the way others see concepts they have already found.)
In that regard, writing is not just a way to ramble about several things and put your opinions out there. Writing is a way in which you can take what you already know and share it with others.
Share your experiences, your perspectives, your hard-earned lessons, or the ones others shared with you.
Write as a way to bring value to your peers and fellow devs. Write as a way to build new knowledge and collaborate with others to create something bigger and better than you couldn't have done by yourself.
Write even to document processes that you had to go through, to solve a problem you had, or to do something that's not very frequent and you can forget later on.
Those writings would help others who are in a different part of their journey. They can use those learnings to improve their own journeys and make things easier for themselves and others.
Even if not that many people will read what you write or just one article, there are some that will benefit from what you wrote and will thank you for it.
Your future self can also thank you for something that you had to do once and then forgot about it, like reconfiguring your setup when you get a new computer.
Those are a few of the reasons why writing online is useful, like actually useful. Write for those reasons. Write to share ideas and lessons with others. Write to provide value for other people.
Even write for yourself because you'll benefit when someone finds the articles you wrote very well detailed and useful. And you get offered the job instead of the dude who says that has X years of experience in Y language/framework but doesn't have any work out in public.
For the above reasons or for different ones, what's important is that you take the chance and write. Go out into the uncommon, go out of your comfort zone and do things that will improve your future.
Write to become a better developer and write to also help others become better developers themselves.
That's it for this post. See you in the next one.
Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash