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Alex MacArthur
Alex MacArthur

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Blog for Your Own Sake

The front-end space is exhausting. It moves too fast, contains too much, and it won’t wait for you to catch up. It’s hard. One thing that makes it eaiser is writing about it all — the problem solving, the tinkering with new technologies, the rubber duck attempts to wrap your head around a concept. All of it. I’ve been trying to be more diligent about this, and I’ve seen benefits as a result. Here are some reasons you should do it too:

You’ll better understand the solutions that solve your problems.

It’s easy to stumble through an implementation that solves a problem and move on. It’s hard to understand why that implementation works in the first place, and what makes it the best choice over something else. If there’s anything that distinguishes a developer from an engineer, it’s this. So, slow down, break it down, and write it down. You’ll find satisfaction in understanding why your code works, and soon enough, you’ll be proactively solving problems before they happen, rather than reactively fixing things after they’re a mess.

You’ll become your own resource.

It’s startling how often I find myself facing a problem, only to remember that I’ve already solved & written about something similar in the past. And sometimes, the old post that helps me out has only a thread of overlap. When you write, you become a resource for your future self. It’ll save you time (pulling up your own blog post is a lot quicker than a fresh Google search), you’ll get all the credit (instead of some Stack Overflow post), and it’ll make all that writing feel even more worthwhile.

You’ll look alive.

The old adage is true: Out of (web)site, out of mind. When developers don’t consistently show up and contribute in some way (blogging, open-sourcing, teaching, tweeting, anything else), it’s impossible to be noticed and to build any level of stature in the community. When you write, you get points for showing up, and that’s not a bad thing. Showing up means you care enough to contribute, even if what you contribute is small or useless to almost everyone else. Over time, all that showing up will oddly grow into credibility. This is more than what can be said for the clever genius who keeps their insight to themselves.

Don’t Fret It, Ship It

Quit worrying about your word count, outline, or humor. Stop caring about your rhetorical prowess so much that you’re too paralyzed to say anything at all. Jot down your jumbled, incoherent thoughts, ship them, and iterate on them later. There’s a thing I saw Chris Coyier tweet out once:

Write the article you wish you found when you googled something.

— Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) October 30, 2017

I like that. The stuff you write will probably most benefit people just like you — those who hit the same problems and search for solutions the same way. Your challenges aren’t unique, and that small, choppy post might help someone else cut the corners you had to travel to get to a solution or to understand something. So, blog for your own sake. You’ll be better off for it, and interestingly, others will be too.

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