Science and technology

How writing can change your profession for the higher, even for those who do not establish as a author

Have you learn Marie Kondo’s ebook The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Or did you, like me, purchase it and skim a bit bit after which add it to the pile of muddle subsequent to your mattress?

Early within the ebook, Kondo talks about holding possessions that “spark joy.” In this text, I will study methods writing about what we and different individuals are doing within the open supply world can “spark joy,” or a minimum of how writing can enhance your profession in sudden methods.

Because I am a group supervisor and editor on, you is perhaps considering, “She simply desires us to write for” And that’s true. But every little thing I’ll let you know about why it’s best to write is true, even for those who by no means ship a narrative in to Writing can change your profession for the higher, even for those who do not establish as a author. Let me clarify.

How I began writing

Early within the first decade of my profession, I transitioned from a buyer service-related position at a tech publishing firm into an enhancing position on Sys Admin Magazine. I used to be plugging alongside, fortunately laying low in my profession, after which that each one modified once I began writing about open supply applied sciences and communities, and the individuals in them. But I did not begin writing voluntarily. The tl;dr: of it’s that my colleagues at Linux New Media finally talked me into launching our first weblog on the Linux Pro Magazine website. And because it seems, it was among the finest profession choices I’ve ever made. I’d not be engaged on at the moment had I not began writing about what different individuals in open supply had been doing all these years in the past.

When I first began writing, my purpose was to boost consciousness of the corporate I labored for and our publications, whereas additionally serving to elevate the visibility of girls in tech. But quickly after I began writing, I started seeing sudden outcomes.

My community began rising

When I wrote about an individual, a company, or a mission, I bought their consideration. Suddenly the individuals I wrote about knew who I used to be. And as a result of I used to be sharing information—that’s to say, I wasn’t being a critic—I would usually turn into an ally, and in lots of circumstances, a pal. I had a platform and an viewers, and I used to be sharing them with different individuals in open supply.

I used to be studying

In addition to selling our web site and journal and rising my community, the analysis and fact-checking I did when writing articles helped me turn into extra educated in my subject and enhance my tech chops.

I began assembly extra individuals IRL

When I went to conferences, I discovered that my weblog posts helped me meet individuals. I launched myself to individuals I would written about or discovered about throughout my analysis, and I met new individuals to interview. People began realizing who I used to be as a result of they’d learn my articles. Sometimes individuals had been even excited to satisfy me as a result of I would highlighted them, their tasks, or somebody or one thing they had been all in favour of. I had no thought writing could possibly be so thrilling and attention-grabbing away from the keyboard.

My convention talks improved

I began talking at occasions a couple of 12 months after launching my weblog. A number of years later, I began writing articles based mostly on my talks previous to talking at occasions. The strategy of writing the articles helps me set up my talks and slides, and it was an effective way to offer “notes” for convention attendees, whereas sharing the subject with a bigger worldwide viewers that wasn’t on the occasion in individual.

What do you have to write about?

Maybe you are all in favour of writing, however you battle with what to put in writing about. You ought to write about two issues: what , and what you do not know.

Write about what

Writing about what could be comparatively simple. For instance, a script you wrote to assist automate a part of your each day duties is perhaps one thing you do not give any thought to, however it may make for a extremely thrilling article for somebody who hates doing that very same job daily. That could possibly be a comparatively fast, brief, and simple article so that you can write, and also you won’t even take into consideration writing it. But it could possibly be an awesome contribution to the open supply group.

Write about what you do not know

Writing about what you do not know could be a lot more durable and extra time consuming, but additionally rather more fulfilling and assist your profession. I’ve discovered that writing about what I do not know helps me study, as a result of I’ve to analysis it and perceive it nicely sufficient to clarify it.

“When I write about a technical topic, I usually learn a lot more about it. I want to make sure my article is as good as it can be. So even if I’m writing about something I know well, I’ll research the topic a bit more so I can make sure to get everything right.” ~Jim Hall, FreeDOS mission chief

For instance, I needed to find out about machine studying, and I believed narrowing down the subject would assist me get began. My staff mate Jason Baker instructed that I write an article on the Top 3 machine learning libraries for Python, which gave me a spotlight for analysis.

The strategy of researching that article impressed one other article, 3 cool machine learning projects using TensorFlow and the Raspberry Pi. That article was additionally one in all our hottest final 12 months. I am not an knowledgeable on machine studying now, however researching the subject with writing an article in thoughts allowed me to present myself a crash course within the matter.

Why individuals in tech write

Now let’s take a look at just a few advantages of writing that different individuals in tech have discovered. I emailed the writers’ checklist and requested, and here is what writers instructed me.

Grow your community or your mission group

Xavier Ho wrote for us for the primary time final 12 months (“A programmer’s cleaning guide for messy sensor data“). He says: “I’ve been getting Twitter mentions from all over the world, including Spain, US, Australia, Indonesia, the UK, and other European countries. It shows the article is making some impact… This is the kind of reach I normally don’t have. Hope it’s really helping someone doing similar work!”

Help individuals

Writing about what different individuals are engaged on is an effective way to assist your fellow group members. Antoine Thomas, who wrote “Linux helped me grow as a musician“, says, “I began to use open source years ago, by reading tutorials and documentation. That’s why now I share my tips and tricks, experience or knowledge. It helped me to get started, so I feel that it’s my turn to help others to get started too.”

Give again to the group

Jim Hall, who began the FreeDOS project, says, “I like to write … because I like to support the open source community by sharing something neat. I don’t have time to be a program maintainer anymore, but I still like to do interesting stuff. So when something cool comes along, I like to write about it and share it.”

Highlight your group

Emilio Velis wrote an article, “Open hardware groups spread across the globe“, about tasks in Central and South America. He explains, “I like writing about specific aspects of the open culture that are usually enclosed in my region (Latin America). I feel as if smaller communities and their ideas are hidden from the mainstream, so I think that creating this sense of broadness in participation is what makes some other cultures as valuable.”

Gain confidence

Don Watkins is one in all our common writers and a community moderator. He says, “When I first started writing I thought I was an impostor, later I realized that many people feel that way. Writing and contributing to has been therapeutic, too, as it contributed to my self esteem and helped me to overcome feelings of inadequacy. … Writing has given me a renewed sense of purpose and empowered me to help others to write and/or see the valuable contributions that they too can make if they’re willing to look at themselves in a different light. Writing has kept me younger and more open to new ideas.”

Get suggestions

One of our writers described writing as a suggestions loop. He stated that he began writing as a approach to give again to the group, however what he discovered was that group responses give again to him.

Another author, Stuart Keroff says, “Writing for about the program I run at school gave me valuable feedback, encouragement, and support that I would not have had otherwise. Thousands upon thousands of people heard about the Asian Penguins because of the articles I wrote for the website.”

Exhibit experience

Writing may also help you present that you have experience in a topic, and having writing samples on well-known web sites may also help you progress towards higher pay at your present job, get a brand new position at a distinct group, or begin bringing in writing earnings.

Jeff Macharyas explains, “There are several ways I’ve benefitted from writing for One, is the credibility I can add to my social media sites, resumes, bios, etc., just by saying ‘I am a contributing writer to’ … I am hoping that I will be able to line up some freelance writing assignments, using my articles as examples, in the future.”

Where do you have to publish your articles?

That relies upon. Why are you writing?

You can all the time publish in your private weblog, however for those who do not have already got plenty of readers, your article may get misplaced within the noise on-line.

Your mission or firm weblog is an effective choice—once more, you may have to consider who will discover it. How huge is your organization’s attain? Or will you solely get the eye of people that already provide you with their consideration?

Are you making an attempt to achieve a brand new viewers? An even bigger viewers? That’s the place websites like may also help. We entice greater than one million web page views a month, and greater than 700,000 distinctive guests. Plus you may work with editors who will polish and assist promote your article.

We aren’t the one website all in favour of your story. What are your favourite websites to learn? They may wish to assist you to share your story, and it is alright to pitch to a number of publications. Just be clear about whether or not your article has been shared on different websites when working with editors. Occasionally, editors may even assist you to modify articles so that you could publish variations on a number of websites.

Do you wish to get wealthy by writing? (Don’t rely on it.)

If your purpose is to earn cash by writing, pitch your article to publications which have writer budgets. There aren’t lots of them, the budgets do not are typically big, and you’ll be competing with skilled skilled tech journalists who write seven days per week, 365 days a 12 months, with giant social media followings and networks. I am not saying it will probably’t be performed—I’ve performed it—however I’m saying do not anticipate it to be simple or profitable. It’s not. (And frankly, I’ve discovered that nothing kills my need to put in writing very similar to having to put in writing if I wish to eat…)

A few individuals have requested me whether or not pays for content material, or whether or not I am asking somebody to put in writing “for exposure.” doesn’t have an writer finances, however I will not let you know to put in writing “for exposure,” both. You ought to write as a result of it meets a necessity.

If you have already got a platform that meets your wants, and you do not want enhancing or social media and syndication assist: Congratulations! You are privileged.

Spark pleasure!

Most individuals do not know they’ve a narrative to inform, so I am right here to let you know that you simply in all probability do, and my staff may also help, for those who simply submit a proposal.

Most individuals—myself included—may use assist from different individuals. Sites like provide one approach to get enhancing and social media companies for gratis to the author, which could be massively priceless to somebody beginning out of their profession, somebody who is not a local English speaker, somebody who desires assist with their mission or group, and so forth.

If you do not already write, I hope this text helps encourage you to get began. Or, possibly you already write. In that case, I hope this text makes you consider mates, colleagues, or individuals in your community who’ve nice tales and experiences to share. I would love that will help you assist them get began.

I will conclude with suggestions I bought from a current author, Mario Corchero, a Senior Software Developer at Bloomberg. He says, “I wrote for Opensource because you told me to :)” (For the document, I “invited” him to put in writing for our PyCon speaker series final 12 months.) He added, “And I am extremely happy about it—not only did it help me at my workplace by gaining visibility, but I absolutely loved it! The article appeared in multiple email chains about Python and was really well received, so I am now looking to publish the second :)” Then he wrote for us once more.

I hope you discover writing to be as fulfilling as we do.

You can join with editors, group moderators, and writers in our Freenode IRC channel, and you’ll attain me and the staff by e-mail at

Thanks to VM (Vicky) Brasseur, Deb Nicholson, and SeaGL for uplifting this text.

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