Thanks for attending my talk! Below you’ll find some resources on how to get started with writing yourself, as well as my slides and the checklist I mentioned in my talk. If you have any questions on how to get started, feel free to contact me on Twitter. I’m happy to help. Happy writing!
See the full video of my AltConf 2016 talk here.
The easiest way to get started with journals is to create a private one online. This allows you to have access to it no matter what device you’re on, as well as keep a backup online. Here are a couple of resources on how to create private blogs on Tumblr and WordPress.com, but feel free to use any site that you’re comfortable with (and allows you to set privacy permissions).
Creating a private Tumblr
Adjusting privacy settings on WordPress.com
If you would prefer to keep your journal offline, I recommend the Day One app. You can keep it on just one device, or it also syncs across all of your devices. This is great for when the mood to write strikes you, no matter where you are.
Day One app
Of course, you can also use other writing platforms like Evernote, Word or a simple text editor. Choose what works for you best.
Question and Answer Forums
Developer question and answer forums are a great way to start writing in bite-sized chunks. The only tricky thing about these forums is the community rules. Make sure to read these getting started pages and just lurk around a bit. Reading other people’s answers is the fastest way to understand what the right style of communication is on these communities.
Getting started with Stack Overflow
Getting started on Quora
There are many different blogging platforms out there and it can be daunting trying to figure out which one is best. I personally blog using WordPress on my own self-hosted site, but if you’re not ready to take the plunge and purchase your own domain and web hosting, Medium is a great alternative. It’s more of an online community/social network of blogs and it’s linked to your Twitter or Facebook account. You can choose to follow other bloggers as well.
Getting started with Medium
If you still need some convincing, here’s a great article on why software engineers should start blogging.
Here’s why Software Engineers should start blogging
Keeping your blog up-to-date will be challenging at times. Check out this resource on how to keep up with blogging, online life and other necessities.
How do I keep up with it all: blogging, online life & more
Tutorials will take the most work, but are the most rewarding writing channel. There are multiple steps to get started writing tutorials. Here’s the general flow that I use:
- Decide on a topic
- Remember, this doesn’t have to be an all-encompassing tutorial. Post about something small at first and build your way up. Remember, this can just be a small snippet from a larger project – you do NOT have to write about something from the very start to the very end.
- If you need an idea for a topic to write about, I’d recommend checking out the latest questions on Stack Overflow. You can see what other people are struggling with and write a tutorial to help them.
- Create working project/write working code samples
- Make sure your idea works before posting it online. People will want to know how you did it and how they can reproduce it.
- Create step-by-step tutorial based on the project/code samples
- Here’s a resource on how to write a programming tutorial
- You can look at the very first tutorial I wrote as a reference too.
- Screenshots and copy & paste code snippets are really helpful here.
- You can also start users off with a starter code download (empty project with some code already written for them)
- Upload project to Github
- Github has some great guides on understanding the Github flow, how to create your first repo and other necessities. Note: Know that all free Github accounts have public repositories. Don’t upload any projects you don’t want the world to see.
- Upload tutorial to website
- Have a friend be a guinea pig and try out your tutorial first to make sure there are no kinks in it.
- Advertise on Twitter/other social media
- Try to tweet at newsletter accounts and influential people who can pass your tutorial to their followers. Figure out any hashtags that relate to your development community and tag your post with it. For example, iOS developers sometimes post on #iosdev. You can even get more specific – iOS developers looking for Apple Watch related development can also look under #watchkit or #watchOS too.
Mashable has a great list of tools to help budding writers. These range from in-browser grammar correctors to reverse dictionaries. I definitely recommend Grammarly and use it all the time.