Content with the Technical: Writing— Meaningful Growth and Habits

(Photograph courtesy of Ryan Snaadt via Unsplash)

Talking, learning, and thinking about writing are important steps in the process, especially as a new writer, these actions can be quite motivating, but they are no substitute for the hours and hours of actual writing it takes to grow. 

And eventually master the craft of writing. 

Let’s take a look at a few practices and try to identify some habits we can implement into our daily routines.

Project Focused

Free writing or automatic writing offers a wide range of benefits… from countering writer’s block to fleshing out larger ideas, but that’s not the style of writing we are concerned with today… we’ll cover that topic in more detail, later.

For now, we want to identify larger projects. This can be nearly anything, such as a technical document outlining the nature of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)— a great entry for our professional portfolios, to new sales copy for an Amazon product list, and even creative projects like full-length poetry collections or prose. 

This type of project can’t be completed (with much success, anyway) in a single session. It will require us to engage in a lot of the tools we’ve discussed here already like effective research, outlining, and the dreaded (and seemingly endless) rounds of editing. 

More, this strategy will allow us to really set goals (completing projects) and mark our progress to identify growth. Accomplishments like these will motivate, so make sure to take a moment to identify these situations as well. Community makes this part easier, consider joining one (the interwebs are full of them). We can talk more about that one later, too! 

Daily Habit

Virtually every professional writer (especially the ones who are household names) adhere to a strict daily writing habit. We touched upon consistency in last week’s post— how reading habits will help us grow as writers, and our writing habits are equally important. 

We need to set a time and commit to a practice that is followed everyday. Our professional priorities in life are dictated by our actions, so this will only be as challenging as we allow it to be. 

Some recommend setting word count goals, adhering to a daily time frame, or completing individual project sections in each writing-session. This will vary by writer, so the correct approach will come as a product of trial and error. However, discovering what works will dramatically increase our capacity as writers. Don’t get discouraged by a few failed attempts.

A change in schedule may be necessary, especially for busy students and professionals trying to move up in their company. Consider waking up an hour early, and starting out the day with our newly developed (or still developing) writing routine. Of course, the timeframe will depend on the individual writer, and there is no “wrong time” to write… just make sure to do it everyday.

Ready to Publish – Editing

We can’t spend all of our time creating new content, part of our writing habit needs to account for time to edit. Check out this past post for a quick refresher!

Some can adhere to a strict standard, where editing time begins directly after writing time, and everything is quite formalized. Others prefer to begin a writing session by editing the previous day’s prose. And more still will argue for other methods, but what remains important is producing polished content. Closing the loop on rough drafts to final deliverables is a large learning curve, with countless pitfalls depending on the medium and genre, but like everything else… the more we practice, the easier it will become.

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Published by Jeffrey Graessley

Jeffrey Graessley is an R&D technical writer, poet and blogger (right here) @ Content with the Technical! Subscribe for weekly updates every Sunday morning!

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