Writing is an excellent way to improve your reputation as a developer. You can build an audience from scratch, become more employable and, of course, get better at writing! Here are some tips which will hopefully help you improve:
It is important that you don't wander around in your thoughts. Decide on a pivotal idea and construct your piece around it. If you get lost, the reader will too.
Stick to your guns.
Don't worry about running out of content. Set the theme for the reader at the beginning of your article - plant a seed in their mind. Then, approach your idea through different examples, different pathways. Keep circling back to it - grow the seed you planted.
Writing is about freeing your thoughts. When going through your article, a reader should get a feeling of the author's thought process.
Your readers should feel what you feel about the idea. They should understand why it is important you.
^ And you have to make all of that interesting for your readers. Let's be honest, no one wants to read a boring, monotonous piece. Make it fun, come on! Add some analogies. Share your anecdotes. Sprinkle some humour. It goes a long way!
Balancing your writing between too serious and too corny can be difficult. A good heuristic is to imagine having a conversation with the reader, and writing exactly what you would say. I picked this up from a writer that I look up to. I've never looked back.
If you sound friendly, your reader will trust you. You absolutely want your readers to trust you. We love hearing from people we can relate to.
Be the person that your readers can relate to.
Treat writing and editing differently.
When you are writing, treat yourself like a baby - very extremely nurturing and loving. Write down anything and everything that comes to your mind. Do it freely.
When you are editing, switch over to Mr. Fletcher from Whiplash and just be a harsh, ball-busting prick. Remove anything that is even slightly pointless. Convey as much as possible, using as little as possible.
The point of editing is creating a straight line out of a knot. You will be surprised by how much unnecessary things you were able to cut from your writing. Being good at editing is one of the most important skills you can have as a writer - and I really cannot stress this enough.
Write drunk. Edit sober.
— Ernest Hemingway
Reading is like breathing in. Writing is like breathing out.
Look up to the people who know their craft well. (Following me might be a good place to start 😝)
Rigorously study your favorite writers' work. Try to understand why & how they do what they do. Study how they explain their code. Analyze how they plant the 'seed' in your mind and how they grow it.
Take good things from the people you study & put them to use in your work. Don't feel bad for taking inspiration or being unoriginal. Like a wise man said - 'Great artists steal.'
Become great at stealing.
Try to limit the amount of code you share in your article. Only talk about the piece of code that is 100% relevant to the theme. Please, please don't explain things which are trivial and which you expect your readers to know. Respect your readers. An article explaining what a
console.log does is an instant turn-off.
You can always upload your entire codebase to a Github repo and provide that as a supplement to your readers.
Last, but not in any way the least — write. A lot.
At times, you will feel uninspired, but gotta keep writing. It is, of course, okay to take breaks. They can work wonders for you, but it is equally important to be persistent. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. Have the courage to start. The rest will follow. I promise.
Once you start writing, you will start picking up on tiny things like how to effectively use pauses, how to set the rhythm for your paragraphs, etc. These things cannot be taught. You will notice them coming your way as you write. Pay attention to them because these small details make all the difference.
That's all I had in store for you today. I am myself in the middle of my learning journey, so please consider all of this my experience rather than advice. I'm just sharing what I know!
If this article helped you, consider dropping a follow and a kind comment. I read every single one of them. They make my day. (seriously!)
Cover photo by Lukas Blazek.