10 Writing Tips for Designers & Developers (or Anyone Who Hates Writing)
Writing was never one of my strongest skills while in school. I was a Math and Science nerd, with a love for IT.
I never enjoyed writing, in fact, I absolutely hated it and really to this day, I’m still not a big fan of it, but when I do have to write (every IMPACT employee writes at least once a month), I get to talk about what I enjoy doing every day -- and it’s not half bad.
(Ok, I still fuss when the time comes, but I still get it done!)
Even if it’s not a necessary job skill (like as a designer or developer), writing is extremely useful for building your personal brand; For sharing your unique expertise or point of voice and being seen as a thought leader. So, give it your best effort.
With that in mind, here are a handful tips I keep in my back pocket when I am picking out my topic, as well as while I am writing my article.
1. Write Things You’re Passionate About.
It’s really hard to write an article about something you aren’t that passionate or knowledgeable about.
It can create major writer’s block, and you can spend many hours just staring at an empty document, or trying to avoid writing in all cases. Then, you realize that your article is due just a couple days away and you need to get it to your content manager so it can be published and you don’t know what to do -- I’ve been there.
To help avoid this, take the time to find a topic that you can truly put a lot of heart and a good amount of existing knowledge into This not only makes the content just “flow,” but it makes it a lot more fun to write.
Plus, if you are writing about something you aren’t passionate about, it shows in your writing.
2. Write About Your Own Experiences
Believe it or not, everyone can learn from your experiences whether they are good or bad, successes or failures. In fact, they’ve likely faced many of the same ones.
Telling the world about these experiences tells others that everyone has their struggles; that you understand their point of view that and there are ways to turn things around.
Writing about pain points or past challenges is a surefire way to resonate with readers and build trust with them. Plus, once again, writing about something that’s actually happened to you is far easier than writing about something you’ve never heard of.
A perfect example of someone writing about their professional experiences, is our CEO, Bob Ruffolo, talking about becoming 2017 HubSpot’s Partner of the year and the struggles IMPACT had overcome to achieve this great honor.
On top of that, our COO Chris Duprey, shared how our “failure” of transparency turned into a win.
Similar effects can be said for sharing life experiences.
For instance, a few months ago, IMPACT Principal Strategist, Angela Myrtetus, talked about the 4 things that she learned about growing her marketing career. Anyone could read this and relate or even take this in to consideration when they are looking to start their career.\
3. Focus on Educating
You will hear “you learn something new everyday” thrown around the office a lot and with good reason. Learning is a way of life here.
If you’re the same way, why not take that learning experience and write about it?
You never know, there may be a group of people who are trying to figure out exactly what you just figured out.
Are you finding new efficiencies in the way you do your work? Share those with the world. It’s highly unlikely that your processes are the same as everyone else out there. Use writing as your opportunity to share your unique insights and tips.
4. Write Like You Speak
Writing can be intimidating, I know. You probably feel like you have to sound extra professional or academic, but you don’t.
Write like you are having a conversation with someone. This way it’ll sound natural and actually set a realistic expectation of what it would be like to talk directly to you. Depending on your audience, this more human, casual tone will also likely better reach your audience.
Try speaking out loud, writing down what you are saying, refine after you have put all your thoughts out (but don’t edit just yet).
5. Don’t Edit While You Write (Or Expect Perfection on the First Go).
Don’t try and edit your article as you are writing.
If the words and thoughts are flowing, get everything out that is on the tip of your tongue. Stopping to perfect or review what you’ve already written, only interrupts you. You may even forget what you wanted to say by stopping and then it will never make your article.
So just keep writing and refine later.
6. Get Everything Out of Your Head
As mentioned above, just get everything out of your head.
Whether it comes out in bullet points or incomplete sentences, let it happen. Once you are sure you have everything you want to touch upon written down, then you can reorganize and make it into a more formal, finished article. .
7. Find the Time That Works For You
For certain people, it is first thing in the morning or at the end of the day.
For me, it is when I have the least amount of distractions which is usually towards the end of the day when most people are done working for the day. With that I can put on my headphones and just lock myself away and brain dump everything that is in my head.
If you find it difficult to write during the work day or after work at home, try a different time or even place. Your writer’s block could just be a matter of bad timing!
8. Drown Everything Out!
If you polled the IMPACT office, you would get a lot of different answers to what helps people concentrate.
Some people like listening to rain, fan noises, or music; others have to have absolute silence.
For me, I like listening to TV shows that I have watched before or even listen to sports games (just like I am now, GO PENS!). If I am listening to music, I tend to sing, where as with TV shows or sports, I don’t need to watch it to know what is going on I can just listen to what is happening.
Just find what you need to help you focus and use that to drown out other distractions.
9. Read Your Article Out Loud
Now, this is a tip for even those who think they’re good writers.
When you are done writing and you have edited your article, read it out loud to make sure it truly does make sense.
If you can’t read without stumbling or if sentences run on, there is still some work to be done to get it right.
10. Use a Structure as a Guide
Every time I write, I can hear my 6th grade English teacher saying, “Don’t forget Bing, Bang, and Bongo.”
Bing being the introduction that will catch the reader’s eye, and what the article is going to be about, Bang being the middle of the article, supporting what you said you were going to talk about, and last, but not least, Bongo being the conclusion, which includes a brief summary of what was talked about and if necessary any actions items that you think the reader should take.
This always helps me make sure I remember, all the essential parts of my article, and also helps me stayed organized.
When I review over my article, I have this structure in the back of my head and go, “okay here my intro, here is my body, and here is my conclusion.” If I have all three of these parts covered, I know I’m on the right track.
If I can do it, you can do it as well. It may take a couple of rounds to not completely hate writing, and get through those roadblocks, but once you do it enough I promise it should come easier.
I hope these 10 tips will help you non-writers (especially designers and developers) be more open-minded about writing and perhaps even enjoy it a bit. Your contributions to the company’s content will be invaluable -- trust me!
About Melissa Smith
Melissa is a Senior Web Developer at IMPACT and has been in love with everything computers since she could walk. She has been building websites for about 10 years and enjoys working with the internal creative team to help create unique web experiences for our clients. Outside of work you can find Melissa at the bowling alley, taking photos of her brother's baseball team, or watching/listening to any Pittsburgh sports.