Have you ever wanted to start writing blogs, but were bogged down in the several How? Why? What? questions that engulfed you, and are here looking for some motivation and direction? Well, over the next few minutes, let’s try to find answers to some of these questions. This blog post is largely inspired by Eugene Yan’s session for DataTalks.Club and a few recommended practices. Let’s get started!
“Dance as if no one’s watching;
Sing as if no one’s listening” — what a beautiful saying it is!
The same way, "Write as if no one’s reading!"
Oh yeah! I mean it! “Write as if no one’s reading!” Let us say you write a blog and nobody reads it. In that case, whom should you write for? Hope you’ve guessed by now!
Given that we assume that nobody else is going to read what we write, we would be benefitted only if we write for ourselves!
Always keep in mind that regardless of who your target audience would be, and the way they’ll react to your blog, the most important thing is that you should write for yourself and then, for the readers.
By, ‘write for yourself’, in essence, you should write something that you would certainly find useful even if nobody else does.
Before answering the question at hand, Why should you write?, let us first ask ourselves another question.
“Have you ever felt that you know something so well, that you can write about it; but when you actually start writing, you end up looking up several references, verifying the correctness of what you’re writing, and you’re almost convinced that you do not really know it very well?”
I’m almost sure that we’ve all faced this at some point in time.
In the process of writing, we learn; When we summarize what we’ve learnt, we essentially reinforce our understanding. When we write blog posts on a particular topic, say, “Learning Natural Language Processing the Stanford way with CS224n", covering the topics taught in the CS224n class, we are sharing our knowledge and understanding with members of the community, as we progress through the course, which is great!
When we share our work with members of the community, we get the opportunities to connect with people with similar interests as us, who can give us constructive feedback, and we can learn and grow together as a community!
Therefore, we should write to learn, share and grow together!
You can start writing about almost anything; there’s a whole plethora of topics; from useful programming tips, and deployment of machine learning models, to mental health and well-being!
Choosing a topic is not a hard task in itself; but the most important aspect is that the topic should be of interest to you.
Just because a lot of people are writing about machine learning, you don’t have to push yourself to write about machine learning; you could write about your favorite topic, say, “Overcoming barriers at the workplace” instead.
When you feel you’d likely be influenced by the topics that others are writing about, remember to revisit the previous question and ask yourself, “Am I writing this for myself?”
“The best way to start writing is to just start writing!”
It’s not possible for us to find our niche and then get started with writing. In the process of writing regularly, it’s often difficult to look ahead and speculate on what topics the audience might enjoy reading; Rather, it’s more of a retrospective process, where, after we’ve written a fair number of articles, we can look back and get insights on what interested our readers the most!
While the writing process is highly dependent on the particular individual, there are a few good practices.
- Write consistently.
- Prepare an outline of the content, organize into sections and subsections, jot down the points that should go into each section.
- Go for a few revisions if needed; try as much as possible to avoid grammatical errors and typos.
Just go ahead and publish it! Your draft doesn’t have to be perfect! You’d get better as you keep writing.
Whatever may be the topic that you’d like to write about, there will always be several tutorials, papers, webinars and courses on the same. It’s not necessary that you should write about something groundbreaking that nobody has ever written about.
It’s absolutely fine to refer to all related work to see how other writers have presented their views; Only remember to present the content in your own words based on your understanding.
Please be sure to cite all references in your blog post; include links to them, preferably at the end of the article. Include suitable tags that are best aligned with the content of your blog post. This is not an exhaustive list; I hope it has addressed a few general questions on how to get started with blogging.
Thank you very much for reading!😀
 Recording of the webinar by Eugene Yan for DataTalks.Club https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXWGd7olv3c