There’s a voice inside your head that prevents you from sharing ideas — punch it in the face.
If we have worked together or you’ve asked me for career advice, there is a high probability that I have encouraged you to write and hit the publish button often. There are so many benefits to writing that includes processing your thoughts and ideas, improving your ability to communicate, and increasing your thought leadership in the industry (presuming you write about your industry from time-to-time). The excuses — or, I’m sorry, reasons — I hear folks say they can’t write include: I’m not very good at writing (you can’t improve if you don’t write often), my website isn’t finished (classic, and also guilty so shut up), and I don’t know what to write about, there’s nothing new for me to add (oh boy).
The last challenge has always perplexed me because if you look through the archives of my writing, you’ll find a cornucopia of nonsense sprinkled with a few solid posts with well-formed thoughts. Most of my early writing was observational humor laced with misplaced road rage and a complete disregard for people living in the state of Arkansas. To some degree, it doesn’t matter what you write about as long as it is coherent. If you start a thought, finish the thought. Feel free to lead the reader through a backwood of tangents and subplots just as long as at the end you’ve come back full circle.
When I challenge the idea of topics — especially when I suggest writing about a design topic — the “I don’t know what to write about” excuse goes to level two: Someone has already written about [design topic]. And that might be true, but by Great Gutenberg’s Ghost!, if that was a hard requirement for publishing, we’d have one newspaper, a few magazines, and maybe a thousand books. Hollywood would be a ghost town because we got to the end of all of the movie tropes by 1989. We’d only have seventy-five songs with lyrics, but re-recorded in every music style and still, everyone would hate Yanni. The point is you can’t let the people who published something before you be the excuse to stop you from writing or, frankly, creating.
Now, I want to add that I am guilty of this too. There have been some lean years where I wrote lots of articles but deleted them before hitting the publish button. My friends who are prolific writers have also confessed to me that they, too, have suffered from this problem. To be a writer, to be successful at anything, we have to create like no one is watching, listening, or…