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Why Writing Blog Posts Sucks (and doesn't suck!)

heysarahpaz profile image Sarah Paz ・3 min read

When I started my career transition I knew there were certain things I would have to do to leverage myself. Becoming part of the Twitter community was one thing, being involved locally was another, and of course writing blog posts. But writing blog posts isn't easy. Each time I think about writing a technical blog post 3 things cross my mind:

  1. Does this make sense?
  2. What will people think?
  3. Who cares what a code newbie has to say? What do I know right?

This brings me to explaining (from a career changer / code newbie perspective), why writing blog posts sucks - but also, the importance of hitting 'publish' even when you're too terrified to do so.

Ugh, Blog Posts!

I think as someone early in my career (or career change) it's common to wonder if what I'm writing makes sense. I haven't written many technical blog posts for this reason, it's still a very scary hurdle to jump. A lot of research goes into what I want to write, and the fear of being judged for not using the most efficient or clean code gives me anxiety. I know this is a common feeling (or I hope it isn't just me lol), but like they say, anything worthwhile doesn't come easy. So It's just like the fear of a technical interview, or pair programming. The more often you do it, the more comfortable you'll be. Some wise words my mentor shared with me in regards to blogging really helped me feel more confident. He says that even though there are others more experienced than me, there are also others who are earlier on or who have gone through the same process as I did (career changer who went through a bootcamp program), and they'd like to hear my perspective as it's more relatable. So try to keep that in mind when you're blogging - there are so many different paths to tech, everyone has an audience.

The Positive Side

Yes, of course - there is a positive side through the fear of publishing a blog post! I can only speak for myself, but the main benefits I get include:

  1. Learning something new: Be open to comments and the feedback people share! A lot of times I'll learn something new from what someone has shared with me. Usually others will share additional resources, and I'll gain a new perspective.
  2. Connecting with other devs: Just like Twitter, you can build relationships with other devs through blogging. If you share your blog post on other platforms as well, you'll be surprised how much reach it can get and how many people you can meet because of it.
  3. Opportunities: I've written a posts on my job hunt (Junior dev on the job hunt) and shared it on Twitter and I was surprised to see that it was retweeted over 100 times! This resulting in few recruiters reaching out to me, and others willing to help. So really, you never know what opportunities will come from writing a simple blog post. 😄

How to Make the Process Less Terrifying

Now that I've discussed why blog posts suck (but not really, just the fear of writing them is what sucks lol 😆). I wanted to quickly share how to make the process less terrifying. Mindset is key! Remember, there are so many paths to tech and your perspective can (and will!) be helpful to someone. Don't compare your journey or opinions to others who are more senior or experienced. Change your mindset from feeling like your opinion doesn't matter, to knowing that your opinion is something that someone else out there wants to hear and will find helpful. Stay open-minded as well! Be open to learning from feedback you will receive, but also do not take anything personally if someone shares something negative (because this does happen sometimes). Take everything as part of your growth process, and stay positive.

To end off, when you're reading blog posts remember to be respectful! Share constructive feedback when asked, and do not reply in a way that would discourage someone. Make a positive impact in the dev community - be that person who will help others grow, not dim their light. We all start somewhere!


Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Discussion (9)

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Thomas Lombart

Writing a blog post takes a tremendous amount of work! You have to choose illustrations, appealing titles, find resources for your content, make it readable and clear, cross-post if you have your own platform and it's even harder if you write in a language that's not native to you.
However, this work is compensated by the reasons you mentioned. I would also add the good feeling you get when you know it actually helps people and they let you know 🙂

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Sarah Paz Author

Yes! That is also a great point - the good feeling when you know it actually helps people! It may be something small to us, but it can be that one blog post that someone really needed or even bookmarks to always turn to. That is definitely a great bonus to writing!

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Jim

I'm curious as to why you felt you had to be so socially involved online when you made the career switch (congrats btw). Is that something the bootcamp pushed?

I have been seeing this a lot of newer folks -- Public repos (ok, not a shock), Twitter accounts, posting to LinkedIn, submitting talks to various conferences, blogging to different sites, etc. How do you find time to code...or sleep for that matter? I'm technically a millennial so it can't be a generational thing, can it?

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Sarah Paz Author

I felt that it was important to surround myself with people who are like-minded and can be part of my support system. I didn't want code to only be part of studying and school, I felt that if I intertwined it as much as I could with more aspects of my life it would be a huge benefit, and it has been! I've met some great people on LinkedIn and Twitter, including my mentor and some friends that I've been lucky to attend different conferences with.

In terms of trying to find time, it's a struggle lol but code is a personal interest for me at this point. So when I do squeeze it into my weekend or before / after work, it doesn't feel like an added task to my day, it's enjoyable (when I'm not frustrated with a bug lol)! I think of it as just another hobby - when I have free time I like to read, run, workout, and now code is also added to the list.

Also - a course I'm doing right now called "Learning to Learn" taught me about efficient learning, so I try to code for a few hours a day, breaking up different focuses per day, and use spaced repetition as well. I find that it's easier to find time to code when I'm dedicating shorter time frames (2-3hrs a day) vs feeling like I need to stay up to til 3am. Also, learning about when you're most productive and studying / coding during that time helps.

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Moe Long

Excellent write-up! I'm a bit biased as a writer/editor by trade. One of my favorite elements of blogging is, as you aptly state, getting to learn something new. That iterative development of yourself and your skills is really apparent with blogging. Keep hammering away at the keyboard!

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Michal Dymek

Thanks for sharing this. I wanted to start blogging for a very long time and even started once but after few posts I felt that I have nothing important to tell. Now I’m trying again because I miss the joy of seeing that someone read my post and even liked it. I hope I’ll have the motivation to not throw it out this time 😅
Good luck with your blogging!

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Justin Stout

Thank you for sharing this. I struggle with writing thoughtful posts on this platform. Its easy to tweet stuff on Twitter, but I feel a need be more sophisticated with what I might post here.

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Sarah Paz Author

I felt and still do feel the same way! But just keep in mind that someone out there will find your perspective useful. Your ideas and thoughts matter! I'm sure you can whip up a blog post that I (and many others) would learn something from. I'll be keeping an eye out for your next blog post!

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Geoff

A lot of times, writing or presenting has also helped me better understand the topic. Especially if it's a challenge that I've worked on in many small chunks time, writing a summary of the work helps piece it all together and highlight any areas that I still don't have a full understanding.