Writing is a journey of discovery because until you start, you never know what will happen, and you can be surprised by what you do, expect the unexpected!
Have you ever gotten stuck with blogging your ideas or thoughts? Have you ever felt that you wanted to write, but don't know what to write?
Let me give you some relief, you are not the only one... I felt the same when I started writing a few years back. Later, I learned that "if it hurts, do it more often," and that's the way to become better at any skill, isn't it?
In this post, we will explore how to find inspiration for writing and three incredibly easy steps to make your writing experience more joyful.
Step 1: Finding Your Writing Purpose. Start With WHY
Why do you want to blog or share your thoughts? Does writing make you happy? Do you believe that sharing is joy? Do you learn by sharing your learnings and experiences more? Do you think blogging is a great way of validating your knowledge and experience?
Exploring the burning desire for writing helps to ignite your inspiration and creativity for writing. Let me give you my example: I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others by all possible means — by teaching, mentoring, pairing, coaching, and so on. I have found that writing blogs is a great way of sharing what I know and getting my knowledge validated via discussions, comments, likes, etc. I believe that "the more I share what I know, the more I will learn." So, I believe exploring your purpose is the first step in your writing journey.
Step 2: Begin With the End (and the Audience) in Mind
Once you've discovered your purpose for writing, the second step is to envision how this particular blog or article is going to look like. Who is the target audience I am writing for? Are they software developers? Or anybody in the IT industry?
Understanding the target audience helps you deliver the most value out of your blogs. For instance, my approach is different while sharing "tips for Scrum Masters to create more enagagement in teams" compared to Product Owners for the "pitfalls of product ownership." So, knowing who will be reading your articles helps you frame the blog better.
Once you are clear on your target audience, the next step is easier: Figure out what you want to write. You can find inspiration for your writing in many ways. Here are a few ideas I've found useful.
Reading Books: "The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read" —Mark Twain. I've found that reading books is a constant source of energy and inspiring ideas. And when I like an idea, I explore and experiment by implementing that in my life and workplace. The second thing i do is share it with people (via discussions, talks, and blogs).
- Do some research before writing: As you narrow down your target audience, explore their major challenges. What do they struggle with? What makes them succeed? And so on. Having some research stats and facts gives more weight to your blog . For example, when I was writing about coaching people, I researched and found that, according to a recent study done by Forrester, "behavior change of people is the top most barrier for agile adoption in organizations." This helped me to drive the attention of readers toward the behavioral aspects of people.
Lessons from past experience: Sometimes, I reflect back on my past experiences — things that worked well and things that didn't. I discover tons of new knowledge and lessons that help me to get better everyday. I am sure you will also discover tons of lessons from your experience.
Success stories: Writing about case studies, research activites, or achievements and new knowledge are great ways of conveying your message to your readers.
Ask questions: Sometimes, I don't have any ideas, but I have lots of questions. Asking questions and driving discussions about a topic is a great way of engaging your readers.
Step 3: Read, Review, Edit, and Rewrite
Once you have chalked down all your ideas:
Read: It is time to read your own blog by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
Review: Get it peer-reviewed by a friend or a colleague. I've found this to be highly benificial. Sometimes, I get it reviewed by my wife, who is my best critic, and sometimes my friends (thanks to Narasi for helping me with a few reviews).
Edit and rewrite: Don't hesitate to edit your blog, but do not strive for perfection. The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you don't write. Finding a balance is important. Rewrite based on the initial feedback from peer review. And when you feel you are done with all your changes, just submit your post.
In summary, writing is a journey with no end to it. Don't wait, remember the Nike slogan "Just Do It." I am looking forward to hearing from you about your writing experiences. What gives you inspiration to write?
Keep Calm and start writing!