Before we start, let's debunk a few reasons why not to start writing that you probably told yourself.
- I don't know what to write about. What do you enjoy doing? For me, I like to explore new front-end development technologies and patterns. While doing this, I learn a lot about specific topics. It's a great way to get started by writing up your findings and sharing them with the world.
- There is somebody (better) out there who has already written about this. Sure, but you bring your view and experience to the table. Articles by just a few writers would get dull real quick. Try writing your articles from your point of view.
- I don't have the time to write an article. This one always got me as well. I saw all these lengthy articles on medium and felt discouraged to write my own. The thing is, articles can be whatever length you want. If you don't have the time or want to write lengthy articles try splitting it into multiple parts. Next to that, I have written a bunch of short articles called QuickBits. In these QuickBits I focus on something small I learned and want to share with the world. Usually, I can knock these out in about 20 minutes.
- I can't write. For me, this consists of two parts. Firstly, there is storytelling. I usually try to write as if I was explaining the subject to a co-worker or friend. Writing like this feels, in my opinion, most natural. Secondly, I used to make quite a few grammar mistakes. Lately, I've been using Grammarly to check this before publishing. The cool thing is that Grammarly not just corrects, but also explains why it was wrong. This way, you won't make the same mistake next time.
Share your findingsThe cool thing about (front-end) development is that you never stop learning. Whether it is a new framework, a different way of doing things or else, you continuously learn new things. Chances are that you have co-workers and friends who would find that interesting as well. Writing articles is a great way to share your findings and views with them.
More times than I can count I've had conversations with peers and was able to share one of my articles with them to give them more information on a subject and my view on this. The response has always been great and it's what motivates me to keep writing on a wide variety of subjects.
Showcase your work
One of the most heard quotes during job interviews is "I can't share that code because it's a client project". Unless you have quite a few side-projects that perfectly reflect your work, it's hard to give somebody good insights on what you work on as a developer, what you find important and how you work. Although an article may not give as much insight into your hard skills as an actual codebase, you can paint a fairly good picture. If you look through my articles you probably notice that I do quite a bit of work with Next.js and the engineering side of front-end development. If I didn't write all those separate articles, you might've just had to take my word on it.
What I usually do when I want to share something I worked on at a client project is to create a standalone demo "project". This could be as small as a Codepen with the isolated problem and how you fixed it. This way you can share how you tackled the problem without having to share company code.
Learn to convey a message
The hard thing about writing articles is that you have a good picture of who your target audience is but you don't know how well known they are with the subject. I've had this struggle in the past as well while giving guest lectures. You have to try to convey your message, make it easy to follow and keep it interesting for all. By writing articles, you can practice this skill. You can then use it while communicating on your project with your peers or during public speaking.
The final thing I love about writing is getting discovered. I always share my articles on LinkedIn with the world. Recently, I have been found someone and invited to give a talk at their company about what I write about. This is a perfect example of how something that started as a simple article can turn into an awesome speaking opportunity. This is, of course, if that sounds like something you'd want to do.
So, get started!
I can keep naming reasons why you should start writing, but I think you get the point. Try to start small and maybe just write a short article on a problem you encountered and how you fixed it. You'll see that it's incredibly fun to do!