How I got into technical writing

How I got into technical writing

This post talks about my journey on how I got into technical writing and also covers few points from the Bootcamp: Session 1

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Hello everyone πŸ‘‹ I'm Abhinav Rajesh and in this article, I would like to share with you all my path to become interested in technical writing. I'm writing this article as part of Bootcamp by Hashnode on The art and business of technical writing

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A little about myself πŸ€—

I'm Abhinav Rajesh, I'm a UI/UX Designer and Full Stack Developer. I'm currently pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering and am currently in junior year.

The journey

It all started when I was in the freshman year of my college, got motivated by my friends who were really good at technical writing and also the pandemic started and wanted to try out something new, so I decided to create a blog article on creating a "COVID-19 Tracker" to track the number of cases every day by fetching data from an API endpoint. This was the time when there were not many tutorials on this.

So, I started writing the blog, for every day I wrote like 2-3 paragraphs explaining in detail about the working of code with examples for around a week until one day I lost my motivation to complete the article. It was mainly because I saw few others posting an article on the same topic of creating "COVID-19 Tracker", so I felt like it was too late to publish the article and there was a lot to cover. So I decided to stop writing the article and deleted the draft!😢(I still regret not publishing the article)

As the time passed the thought of writing a blog post came to me at times but didn't really have any motivation to complete the article. Also, I hated how Medium worked. Asking to authenticate to view, advertising about their mobile app and much more annoying things for a reader and I really was looking for a platform where this wasn't a thing and which had a better user experience.

Blogging platform which I was looking for πŸ¦Έβ€β™‚οΈ

Three months ago, I was reading articles and found a few interesting ones. Most had similar UI but the thing which intrigued me the most was the reader experience for these blogs. It was an amazing reading experience, no signup required, no advertisements nothing. I thought this was some blog template on WordPress or something when I noticed "Proudly part of hashnode" and that's when I found hashnode! This blogging platform was exactly what I was looking for!

So I created my Hashnode account 3 months ago (on 17th June 2021 to be precise :P) and released my first blog on the 27th June 2021. Although I barely got any reactions for my initial few articles also views were not bad, I still kept writing hoping someday I would make it to the "Top stories from Hashnode" weekly newsletter.

During these times I participated in hackathons conducted by Hashnode and writing a blog explaining my project in detail really helped me on how to write better technical blogs. And then one day, one of my articles made it into the newsletter πŸ₯³

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I was so happy that my article made it to the top stories and this really boosted my morale to write more! This led to me finally completing my series How to Build a NextJS App using Typescript and TailwindCSS: The Complete Guide, got a good amount of reactions and the best part, hashnode promoted my article on their Twitter handle!

Hashnode played an important role in making me interested in technical writing and I'm really thankful for the things done by hashnode which really motivate me to keep writing more articles.

The art and business of technical writing: Session 1

Yesterday was the first day of Bootcamp and we had 2 amazing sessions by Sam Sycamore, Quincy Larson and Edidiong Asikpo.

Few of the points to take away from the first session by Quincy Larson

  • Do you have advice for coming up with catchy titles or banners?

    • Being explicit is better than being clever.
    • Make sure the banner matches the title, and make sure text is readable on all types of devices such as mobile where most people are reading.
    • Keeping it simple is better.
  • Recommended length to maximize success?

    Generally, as long as it needs to be, and no longer. Long-form absolutely has its place though. Deep dives on a specific topic can build up quickly, but make sure you have real content to fill that space.

  • What if I'm not gaining traction?

    • Use reverse SEO strategies to write specifically about what people are searching for.
    • Alternatively, be personality-driven like thecodercoder or Catalin Pit . Build a reputation as being someone that is generally helpful!
  • Some articles, no matter your presence, will have low engagement. Keep writing and keep practising

Few points to take away from the second session by Edidiong Asikpo

  • She gave a clear definition of technical writing

    A type of writing where the author is covering a subject that requires direction, instruction, or detailed explanation.

  • She also asked a good question, whether Writers are made or born?

    In my opinion, writers can be both made or born. Writing is a skill that can be developed over time. Where you start is not a direct indicator of where you can go!

  • Audience perception is knowing what your audience wants and who is your audience. This can be determined by answering these questions

    • As a reader what would I need?
    • Where would they be reading? Probably a mobile phone
    • When would they be reading?
    • And most importantly, why will they be reading your article?
  • Some resources to improve your technical writing skills

    • Google's writing style guide
    • Microsoft's writing style guide
    • FreeCodeCamp's style guide
  • Get your audience' perception. Would they understand what you are writing or the certain terminology you are using?

There are plenty more amazing points said during the session, but unfortunately, I won't be able to add all of those points here, but these are the main takeaway from the session!

It was fun writing about the session as a blog post, and thank you Hashnode for conducting this amazing Bootcamp.

Is there something which I would like to change from the past?

I'm really regretting my decision of deleting the draft of the "COVID-19 tracker", really wish I had completed the post and published it. Even if you feel like it's too late, or feel like it's not good enough, still do publish the post, it may help someone :)

It's not about the destination, It's about the journey

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, that's it for this article, I would love to connect with you all people for reading the complete article and bearing with me :P, below are my social links, do follow me for more! Also, give your thoughts about the article in the comment section.

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