While writing has always been a mission critical component of my job, in the past it was only for business purposes. As the head of marketing departments, my responsibilities would be centered on positioning, messaging, developing collateral, website copy, white-papers and all things meant to move business forward. However, becoming part of #LatinaGeeks has given me the opportunity to expand my writing practice and cover topics I want to explore or that I am curious or passionate about. Still, even though I have so many topics I want to cover for you ladies such as how to get into cryptocurrency or technologies that will impact our future of work, the truth is it’s hard to crank out these posts and do it in a manner that adheres to my personal standards of excellence. But as hard as it is, there are so many benefits to reap from getting into a regular habit of writing.
Here’s some thoughts on what writing can do for you and some practical ideas for getting into a regular writing habit. I hope this article serves as your impetus to to start sharing your own words far and wide.
1. Continue to Learn
These days, we need to always be on a path of continuous learning. Technology is changing at a rapid rate so you must adapt! Writing about topics you want to learn about helps strengthen your own knowledge on the topic.
2. Advance your Career
Writing (and publishing) is one of the best ways outside of public speaking to be seen as a thought leader. It will propel you into the spotlight and increase your visibility to others who are looking to educate themselves on the topic, as well as differentiate you from other candidates. Furthermore, it demonstrates curiosity, initiative and courage – skills your employer will value and which will be more sought out as AI increasingly takes on lower level functions and automates tasks, making some jobs obsolete.
3. Overcome Fear and Self doubt
Okay this is a big one for us ladies, there is no better way to quash that inner critical voice than to get knowledgeable on a topic and share that knowledge with others. When you see how your articles or posts are resonating with your peers, you will feel a boost of self confidence and pride knowing you helped someone grasp a topic. And hopefully get inspired to share more!
4. View it as a Networking Opportunity
You may not be surprised at this, but much of my content and articles are crowdsourced from my network. I am often asking questions on Facebook or LinkedIn, that could be leveraged as sources or inspiration to my articles. Regardless of whether you are just starting out in your career or an established vet, there is treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration that we all can tap into and people in your networks want to share with their insights with you!
5. Share the Love
If you put an ask out to your community (Facebook, LinkedIn, other) and receive great insights that you incorporate into your writing, you can give those wonderful helpers a shout out and thank you. It feels good to be acknowledged, so use it as an opportunity to share the love with those that educate and inspire you.
6. Clear your Mental Clutter
Ever feel like your brain is filled with too many things.. that mental checklist, the conversation that could’ve gone better, what’s for dinner, etc.? Having a daily writing practice will allow you to get all those thoughts out of your head so you can allow a space for creativity. (thank you Berto Alvaro for that nugget). Now that I’ve shared all of the reasons why I feel writing is so important, here’s some tips for how to amp up your writing game, regardless of whether you do it for just you or decide to take it public.
7. Choose a Platform
Your platform could be your physical journal, a voice recording app or an online publishing platform. No one said you have to publish your work, but if you do decide to take it public – Medium is a wonderful platform, as is LinkedIn. There are also many outlets and networks that are hungry for content especially diverse voices such as ours, reach out and try to be a guest blogger, leveraging an established platform will allow your content to be seen by even more people.
8. Make an Outline
You outline the structure and what you want to cover in each area…a beginning, middle and end or simply list out the subtopics you want to cover and then determine the structure as you fill in with content. This will help you layout your content and tackle one small piece at a time, which is another way to approach your writing in a digestible way rather than be overwhelmed.
9. Fear and Time Pressure
This site will keep you writing in the most dangerous way possible, with the threat of losing all that you have written if you stop writing for 5 minutes. It forces you to write and tap into that stream of consciousness with the added pressure of having to continue or risk losing it all.
10. Blindfold Yourself
Okay not literally but several people have suggested closing eyes or shutting off the monitor to type and write without actually seeing the words on the screen. Another way to figuratively “blindfold’ yourself is to shut down all of your notifications and social media. Give yourself an timeframe like 20 minutes where you just focus on your writing.
11. Don’t Let Perfect be the Enemy of Good
Give yourself a break, the first draft won’t be perfect but don’t let that get in the way of your progress. Start the process even if you’re not feeling it. Enlist a personal support network of editors who will read your work and help take you across the finish line.
12. Just Write
And lastly, perhaps the most important tip – just start, get the thoughts out of your head and commit to a regular writing habit, whether it is in the am or other time of day. Give yourself a goal of 200-300 words a day and stick to it. Just write and keep writing, it can be stream of consciousness, you never know what will come out and the process will improve over time.
Stamina is utterly important. And stamina is only possible if it’s managed well.
~ Hugh MacLeod, Ignore Everybody
Thanks to my amazing network (Dave Brooks, Hugh MacLeod, David Berkowitz, Huey Kwik, John Koetsier , Michelle Fitzgerald, Kristian Kabuay, Joshua Zucker, Gregarious Narain, Rafe Needleman, Berto Alvaro, Neil Cohen, Brandy Shapiro-Babin, Chris DeNoia, Courtenay Davis, JD Lasica, Amy Rassmussen) for the inspiration on this post and the incredible ideas they shared with me for how to get into a regular writing practice.