Suck at Writing

Reflections on my writing challenge

This month I celebrate my 1-year write-aversary!

One year ago I challenged myself to start writing down my thoughts on design and life twice a month and though it hasn’t always been easy, I did it! Ok, maybe I slacked a couple of times because we had a baby and crazy workloads, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty consistent.

Writing has been an activity that for years I have stubbornly avoided, maybe because I have always sucked at it. Or maybe because I simply detested my Italian teacher in school. Or maybe it’s because I just never gave a crap about writing…or a mix of all of the above.

Before I preferred to think of myself as an artist that doesn’t need the skill of writing because I can communicate and share ideas through visual design. I have avoided writing just the way I avoid eye contact with women eating bananas.

Writing it’s just not what a designer do!

Designers do beautiful things, and everyone admires the genius of their work. No words need to be written or spoken in the process. Good design speaks for itself, right? Just design something with the golden ratio, some new trendy font, a pinch of swiss design mentality, and Ta-da!! Everyone will want to hire you!

giphy-1

I wish they gave me a heads up in school that it’s almost more important for designers to be able to brilliantly pitch their ideas than design – but instead, they only taught me Photoshop, Illustrator, and 3D Studio Max. (But I’ll save writing on how broken the art & design school systems are for a different post.)

Well, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the idea of the introverted designer wearing large size headphones, cool glasses, a mac full of stickers, and preferably tattooed arms doesn’t really get you far. Being able to elaborate your thoughts in a compelling way and sell your design is a much more valuable trade to have.

“No matter how good the work is, if you can’t sell it you haven’t finished the job” Mike MonteiroDesign is a Job

So one year ago, in an effort to train myself to better structure my thoughts and ideas, I decided to write a post every other week. And what an enlightening journey it has been! Here’s what I have learned over that course of time:

  • Writing is hard! Really.
  • I can only write about things I’m passionate about, not the latest hot topics.
  • I don’t need to have a point of view on the topic right away; it will develop as I write. This was a big realization for me and saved me from “starting-anxiety”.
  • I disable spell check, forget about grammar and start with a quick rough draft. 15min countdown has started!
  • I think of a specific person and write to him or her. Don’t write to everyone.
  • I take a break before refining. I used to rush the process, to just find myself nowhere. I need to let my mind take in everything ideas before retouching.
  • It gets easier over time, but some days it’s hard like day one.
  • Openings and closings are equally hard.

I did this primarily as a personal challenge to improve myself; I don’t care about how many people read or share my nonsense. It teaches me to think better and forces me to research and expand on the topics I write about – ultimately making me a better person and designer. Win, win.

I hope some of my learnings will help you too!





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