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Krzysztof Derek
Krzysztof Derek

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5 things that stopped me from writing publicly for far too long

Oh hai! 🎉

I was trying to take a leap into creating an online presence many times in my life. Yet there was always something™ that prevented me from doing so. Recently my manager told me to write a blog post about the team I’m leading, to share the culture and team’s mission with the outside world. Shameless plug alert: you can read it here.

That piece took me two days to write (and two weeks to publish, 90-90 rule applies everywhere) and I was thrilled by the outcome. Turned out it’s not that hard, it does not bite and more importantly - it's fun! So I connected all the dots and asked myself a very important question - why haven’t I done this before, despite having dozens of topics I collected over the time?

One thing led to another and here I am. Because what would be more beneficial for me and the others than writing my first personal post describing things that always stood in my way, right? I hope you’ll find them useful, so you won’t wait that long to take the first step.

1. “It was already described X times”

#1 excuse. Can’t count how many times I told this shit to myself. The answer here is, in fact, pretty simple, quoting James Hetfield:

After all these years I realised it doesn’t mean anything. It was always tempting to write only about stuff no one else wrote before, but it's nearly impossible to achieve in the long run (unless you’re working on a super-secret military tech you probably should not speak publicly about).

My recipe now is: don’t overthink it, write it down in private, look for typos the next day or give it to your close one for feedback and finally click the damn “Publish” button. Boom! It’s time for a high five.

The thing is - there are thousands of similar articles on the Internet, and yet more and more are being created on a daily basis by people like me and you. So share your unique journey with your own words and use that as an advantage by adding that additional ingredient to all your publications.

2. „Who am I to talk about it?”

<Quote text="So what?" />
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If you’d have to be an expert in something to explain it or write about it then we would have VERY little things to read here. But what does it even mean to be an expert? Does it require 10+ years of experience? Or do you need to have a documented 100k LOC contributed to Open Source projects? Or maybe there’s a mysterious exam provided by a mysterious expert committee that gives you the expert badge when you pass it? I achieved none of them and yet you’re reading this.

The ultimate mindset you should have here is that you are primarily doing it for yourself and the others benefiting from it will be just a great side effect. In fact - the earlier you start the better, because you’ll have a chance to learn in public, by sharing what you have done with others. And that will benefit both sides - yours, because you’ll solidify your learnings and will have a chance to get some feedback and others, because they will have a chance to read things explained simply, by someone like them.

3. „It’s not the right time”

This one is tricky but bear with me here. There are times doing anything productive in general will be nearly impossible. You can have a bad day at work, or a tough time in your life - everyone has those, and that’s totally fine. Take your time, get yourself up and recover.

I’m not talking about these kinds of situations, I’m targeting the “I’ll start going to the gym by tomorrow” kind of one. Don’t fall for that. I fooled myself that I'll start something next Monday, next month or ultimately on January 1st (because that always works 👌) and it was never successful in the long term. So don’t bother yourself with any mental scheduling, just write something down for yourself and go public whenever you feel your piece of text is finished.

4. „What if no one finds it useful?”

The Internet is a very large place. Over 4.5 bln people use it (according to this page). People used to warn their children about putting stuff here because “everything you put on the Internet stays there forever”. And while it’s not entirely true (just find any old forum and try to open some images hosted on https://imageshack.us) I guarantee you that if you put your work on any of those big blogging platforms there will be someone willing to read your work.

Will it be thousands view right from the start? Unlikely. That’s why the “I’m doing it for myself” is so important as there’s a solid chance you’ll be the only person who will read all of your posts. But it is reasonable to expect things to get better over time, some articles will hit the front page, some will go viral and even if not - your writing portfolio will be a great proof of your skills while applying for the next job.

5. „But what if I ran out of topics?”

Oh no, you won’t. I came up with at least 5 ideas since I published my first blog post 2 weeks ago. It just comes naturally. Look at your codebase, your current or past projects and you’ll definitely find inspiration.

And for y’all shy senior+ developers out there - your experience matters and it’s definitely worth sharing. There’s a particular added value between sharing how you spent 10 hours fixing a nasty bug in useWhatever hook, rescuing your prod environment and sharing stories on how one learnt useState while making a Todo App. Use that to your advantage.

And even if you will ran out of topics at some point in the future... so what? Be proud of what you've done.

End note

Took me about two hours to write that down, I’m happy now. My shitposting is just about to begin ヽ(´▽`)/

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