The reason I started writing, is because I enjoyed reading blogs. However, it wasn’t because they were all good. At a certain point there was a shift from great knowledge and insights being shared, to aggregating pretty things to make a buck. It was insulting to see such little effort put into this garbage and selling it as articles that professional Web designers should read. I decided to speak up.
I wrote for a long time. Some things I was proud of, others… not so much. I learned what worked and what bombed. I found that the most successful pieces were the things that I would want to read, not just what I thought would be well-received. I carefully researched and reflected on what I wanted to say before even typing a single letter. I wrote hoping that more people would want to see content like that out there — that they would appreciate a thoughtful essay.
And, it happened.
After writing for a while I received an opportunity from an all around great guy in our community. He wanted me to edit a new section of his magazine. I had mixed feelings about it. I thought, “what the hell do I know about editing?” It has been one of the best things I’ve done.
My favorite part is meeting new writers. I honestly don’t care who they are “in the industry”: They are all fantastic. They bring article ideas that are always so insightful and valuable. They actually crave critiques and have all been very humble and gracious. I feel lucky to have a small part in the creation of the kind of blog posts that I admire.
Cennydd Bowles wrote a nice article that I think sums up some of the feelings I have about writing. In it, he says: “The best writers are inquisitive readers, just as the best designers are attentive users. We need only look at our terminology to see the parallels: “design vocabulary”, “design literacy”. So a good writer reads incessantly. Absorb different styles and approaches: quality, trash, everything.”
I have begun to fall in love with reading online again: From the welcome surge in longform essays, reflections on user experience, to thoughtful musings on technology and design. Reading pushes me to write better. Writing helps me to understand more about design and its place in the world.
Blogging, for me, is about making better things.
Note: Thanks to Chris Shiflett for the nudge to blog more. I will do my best.