Learning to write using the same approach as learning product design

I tried to start sharing my thoughts here so many times. Usually, I have some idea I want to share. I open the editor and immediately get stuck. All of a sudden, my mind goes blank. I seem to no longer be passionate about anything. I can’t think of anything to say on the subject.

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

The words just don’t appear. I stare at the blank page and hours go by. I’m telling myself: let there be words! Any words. Just write something, anything! But no words seem to appear. In the end I close the editor and do something else.

What can I do to actually start writing about the things I’m interested in?

When I first started learning about UX and product design, my approach was to read about it and make lots of notes. I prefer to make bullet point lists with multiple levels of indentation. This allows me to focus both on the general idea and on the details. Indentation helps me to go deeper into each item; I ask, research and answer questions.

For example, when I started my journey into UX, I wanted to know what the entire process looks like. I googled, read about it and made a list of steps that are usually taken by people who are already doing this. Then I asked a lot of questions about each step. What is the input? What do I do here to translate the input into the output of this step? What are the deliverables in this step? What tools are used in this step? Which skills are required to achieve this? What can I do to learn more about this?

After a while I had a solid understanding of the basics of the process and could move to applying it to my own project. I never felt so stuck as to not be able to come up with anything and push it forward. And if I didn’t know something, I just repeated the learning process while focusing on the part that needed more of my attention. I slowly filled the gaps and could move on.

I think that the same approach will work with writing. Read a bit about the process. Learn what is to be done. Get an overview. Then drill down the details. Make notes. And then use the notes to guide my writing.

Written by

Future dad, 9to5: tech support agent. I write about the User Experience of learning programming.

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