Engineering manager learns to write
I do work in software engineering the whole life — the majority of it as an engineer. And the writing was never my strong side. Today I'm on the path of learning it, and I want to share some tips with you, which help me.
What works for me. Tips
Here I want to share what helps me to improve writing.
Writing is like a muscle. I get better by using it. Every time I wish I could be better at writing, I shift my energy to write.
Reading books helps a lot. When I read, I deep dive in the topics, hold my attention span for longer. And I cannot watch anything longer than 45 min!
Read about writing
Recently I started reading my first book about writing. Currently, I've read eight chapters. And omg. I'm not sure if I get so much value because it is an excellent book or it is my first book about writing.
My biggest learnings from the book so far:
- Use simple words over complicated ones. I always thought the opposite. Easy words make the text more readable.
- I'm using way too many cluster words. The words which do not bring any value
- When I'm not sure who is the audience write for future yourself
- Relax and say what you want.
- The clear mind produces excellent texts.
- The writer treats the reader well with guide and support.
I often make assumptions and skip writing key pieces. And those may be essential for understanding the text.
The author recommends the book The Elements of Style.
Let's see how it goes. And I'm only 13% through. Can't wait to continue reading it.
My writing process today
- First, I understand the point I want to make with the post and write it down.
- Then write it in a flow. I aim to write as if I would be telling to future me.
- Then, I read it several times looking for mistakes and thought jumps.
Later, I use my technical tools, which analyse my text:
Without it, my learning curve would be much slower. It helps to set the tone, fix all the errors, remove repeating words.
I use it to improve sentence structure.
End of my writing
The Last step is proofreading. I like to do it day after. With a fresh mind, I can notice things better.
My next experiments
I want to record audio of the story and then type it. It may save me some time and simplify typing. The idea behind it is to use the skill of talking to improve writing. I do speak way more often than I write, so in theory, it may work.
Also, I want to try is to share for proofreading with somebody before publishing sounds good.
Writing text is hard. It is not the coding when compiler throughs errors immediately. Now with tools like Grammarly, I have some instant feedback about the text quality. It improves my writing, but actual feedback comes only from the reader.
People are smart. They can understand written complex texts. But today in short attention span times, the reader will abandon those.
More complicated topics will decide if the text is fine. Ease of reading, making a clear point, text structure, balancing vocabulary, text length.
It is harder than to write the code. At least for me as the technical person.
What do you think about it? Do you have tips for me? Share your story.