Today is my blog’s one year birthday, hooray! March 26, 2016 was when I published my first post. One of the earliest (and best) pieces of advice I got when I started my transition into UX was to start writing. I opened a blog on WordPress to test how consistent I could be and within six months, I migrated to my own domain here. I’m extremely proud of myself for how far I’ve come but it wasn’t easy. Let me share the biggest lessons from spending my first year publicly writing my thoughts.
1. Perfectionism is the ultimate enemy
I’m guilty of being a perfectionist, both as a designer and a writer. Inconsistencies drive me nuts. Errors make me feel insecure. I hate sharing work that is anything less than my best. This prevented me from blogging for a long time but I needed to discard my perfectionist tendencies and go for it. Looking back, I would never have gotten better if I held myself back from publishing pieces that were only 70% satisfactory. But more than eighty blog posts later, I’ve made magnanimous strides in my writing.
2. It makes you feel vulnerable
Writing is a beautiful activity to express who you are. But that comes at a price. Writing publicly will make you feel vulnerable. As confident as I am, I still get scared when I publish articles knowing that people could take advantage of my vulnerability. I’m open and share my thoughts sincerely but it’s never permissible to respond with anything less than respect. Those situations are inevitable but as a benefit, my skin got much thicker. It will only get harder but now, I’m not afraid of being vulnerable.
3. The process isn’t straightforward
The process of writing, editing and publishing articles is not as straightforward (and glamorous) as it seems. It takes a lot of work and brainpower to get from my scrappy notes to publishing. The biggest misconception is that simple and concise writing is easy. The truth is, it’s anything but. Most of my shorter articles actually started out at four times the word count. And while getting each article published has been a bumpy road, I wouldn’t change anything about it because I love the challenge.
4. Sometimes, it’s not fun
I write because I love to. But sometimes it’s not fun. Even if I’m writing about a topic that I’m passionate about, I’ve found ways to avoid it because I struggled with my creativity. My life condition in any given moment is the biggest dictator of how I feel when it comes to writing. But if I write only when life is great, I wouldn’t grow. If I write only when I am comfortable, I wouldn’t learn how to innovate. While I may not find every moment fun, I find every moment rewarding.
5. People will criticize you
I’m selfish and only write for myself. That will never change (as long as I’m writing on my own domain). Despite that, people have had the nerve to give me unsolicited and unneeded advice on being concise, using better grammar and expanding my topics. It’s annoying when people criticize my work, especially if they’re not writers themselves. But the benefit of dealing with unwanted feedback is that I’ve developed the confidence and conviction to firmly stand behind my work.
6. People will compliment you
Among the criticism, I get a lot compliments too. Even one compliment makes all the difference in the world. Friends have binge-read my blog. Strangers have found my blog through social media and said that my writing inspired them to pursue what they love. Stories like that warm my heart. I’ve also opened doors to opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise if I didn’t blog and write actively. I’m absolutely confident in my work but getting constant validation through compliments is the best.
7. Writing challenged my opinions
If I’m particularly passionate about certain topics, I spend time writing about them. Blogging has definitely challenged some of my opinions on what I care about, both in a good and a bad way. I may not care as much about certain things as I thought but on the flip side, I realized the things that truly gets me going. Writing forces me to be articulate about expressing my opinions. Writing keeps me accountable during those moments I spew my opinions without being properly informed.
8. It made me a valuable designer
I started blogging because I was making a career transition into UX design and wanted to have a voice throughout the process. In the beginning, I was terrified. I was scared that “real” UX designers would judge a humble, humanities graduate like myself trying to break into the tech industry. But now in 2017, everyone is talking about writing as a designer’s unicorn skill. I’ve considered myself a writer for my entire life and am ecstatic about the fact that interaction designers are finally catching onto it!
Here’s to a great year of writing! I’m looking forward to exploring new topics and being more open about who I am. My writing will always be the best expression of who I am and I’d love to keep challenging myself to improve my craft. Thank you for being loyal readers up to this point and I hope that you’ll continue to follow my journey as I grow.