I’d like to take this opportunity to share a little more about me, my experience and how writing fits into my life in general.
I have invested an enormous amount of time in truly understanding myself. I have spent (and still do) countless days, weeks and years just examining my background and pondering about my unique experiences over the years.
That process has helped me accept that I can’t write about everything. It has shaped my style of writing. And more importantly, it has helped me develop an efficient process of writing. And these are the things I want to share with you today.
My work experience
I’ve had a very unique career for sure and I’m grateful for everything I’ve been able to experience and learn. To me at least seems interesting, and I promised myself that one day I’m going to write a book about that journey. I feel like a lot of people could benefit from my informal and unconventional ways of building a career. But we’ll leave that for a different time.
The easiest way to break down my experience and provide an overview is through a list. From the early start in my career all the way until now. Let’s take a look;
- Fast food industry (teenage years)
- Laborer (late teenage years)
- Skilled Trade (manufacturing industry)
- Drafting & Design / AutoCad Technician / CAD/CAM
- Management / Production / IT
- Self Employed / Web & Graphic Design / Branding
- Leadership / Operations / Marketing
- Entrepreneur / Marketing
As you can see it would be extremely difficult to elaborate on each of the areas and fields I’ve worked in. But one important factor that helped shape my writing was practice. An incredible amount of practice. Especially later in my career.
I must have written a few hundred documents. Everything from training manuals, to standard operating procedures, proposals, agreements, formal letters, thousands of emails, and of course website content. So yeah, eventually you start to develop your own style of writing.
So the way you start a sentence, an email, a story, and how you bring ideas together using words, and how you organize words to describe what you are trying to communicate; all just starts coming together naturally in your mind. For me, after so much practice, it became easier and easier to write. I’m not convinced my writing is great, but I do love the process and I love doing it.
An important takeaway is that improving my writing was a deliberate process. It takes years to get better. I’m still learning and getting better today. Actually if you think about it, by writing this page I’m practicing, sharpening and hopefully improving my writing skills.
I knew that improving my skills in writing would increase my contribution to the companies I worked for. It would also increase my personal value as an employee allowing me to earn more. So be patient, it really just takes time. If you enjoy it you will continue to improve no doubt.
What I like to write about
The bulk of my experience lies around technology, digital marketing, management & leadership and web & graphic design, and entrepreneurship. There’s actually one other category which is music, my true (unrealized) passion. I wish I had more time to create music, but my current priorities and focus will not allow it. Occasionally I grab my guitar and jam.
So to be more specific there are five broad areas I truly enjoy writing about:
This is the area I enjoy writing about the most. I love digital marketing and is where I have invested most of my time in the last 10+ years. I currently own a small Digital Marketing Agency in Maryland where we specialize in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Brand Building & Online Reputation Management, and Paid Advertising. I absolutely love this industry.
I’m obsessed with great leadership. In my years as first a supervisor, then a manager and later evolving into a leader (someone who can effectively inspire others to do great things), I was lucky to have had this experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity employees gave me to not only work alongside them, but to also learn from them and their skills. I enjoyed inspiring them to continually improve everything we did, as a team. They were a great inspiration for me as well. There’s no better feeling than putting together an effective team of people who can get things done.
Another one of my passions is design. I love anything to do with visual design, aesthetics, animation, photoshop, 3D graphics, drawing, computer aided drafting, home design & modeling, photography, vector graphics, 3D software, layouts, geometries, shapes, colors etc. I still spend a lot of time creating graphics and different kinds of designs for my projects. Whether I’m creating an image for a blog post, deciding on the layout for a website or creating promotional flyers, I love spending my time in this area.
This area is very close to my heart. For me, it started back in 1995 when my best friend exposed me to Windows 3.1 and a dial-up modem. It changed my life! So much so, that a few years later I met my wife through America Online, in a chat room! True story. Later, I started to use AutoCad, MIDI, design websites, coding and eventually building my own computers and servers. Today, I love spending time playing around with any kind of (new) technology I can get my hands on.
Finally, business is something I spend a lot of my time learning about. In fact, almost all of the books I read every year somehow tie back to this topic. I read anything that helps me improve my sales skills, relationship building, leadership, creating better processes & systems, motivational, developing the right habits, working on discipline, marketing etc. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in business, therefore writing about this topic and sharing it with other entrepreneurs is something I really enjoy.
Learning the hard way
Unfortunately I’ve made the mistake many times of committing to write on a topic I either don’t like or know anything about. This is a big mistake, don’t do it.
I cannot tell you how much frustration, time, stress and energy I’ve had to endure because of this.
Not long ago I committed to writing an article for a client on a subject I wasn’t familiar with, but felt with a little research I could do a good job. It took me 27 hours to write the article. TWENTY SEVEN! It turned well and ended up being 2,995 words, but it was extremely painful for me. I broke the project into 3 or 4 hour chunks, and took about 10 days. Although I learned a lot about the subject, I don’t believe it was helpful because its just not my thing and I will never write on that subject again.
Don’t do it. Go where your passion and genuine interests are.
Becoming more productive at writing
This is still a hard one for me. I’m still developing my process in an effort to make it more efficient. Every time I sit down to write, I allocate 2 hours max, but almost always exceed it. I want to do a good job and I want the blog post to read well and ultimately be useful to the reader, and that takes time.
And yes, I absolutely track how long it takes me to write. Actually I track almost everything I do. I’ll talk more about this in the future, but I use a simple stopwatch extension that I downloaded for Google Chrome. Simply search ‘stopwatch’ and you’ll get tons of results.
This habit of tracking tasks actually comes from my background in manufacturing. I spent many years learning, practicing and implementing LEAN Methodology, and gathering data (tracking) for each process was crucial to understanding and revealing improvements we could make.
One thing that helps me is a two-part system if you will. First I create a very quick outline of what I want to write about. And second, I just start writing! As I continue to write, I find that more and more ideas just flow right out! Then I just continue to improve the initial outline to a point where I have the main idea I want to communicate. Unfortunately this post has gotten too long for me to explain this process, but I promise to do so in the future.
Wow! Thanks for sticking around this long. Not sure how many words I have here, but I do hope it was at least interesting for you to read, and thank you for doing so.
Here are the main takeaways from my writing experience. I look forward to seeing you back soon and don’t forget to reach out.
- Write about things you truly like and enjoy (not necessarily know about).
- Sit down and start writing. Just start. Ideas will eventually flow.
- Study yourself, your background and unique experiences. What are things you genuinely care about. Incorporate these into your writing.
- Accept that you won’t be great at writing about everything. Find your focus, passion, a niche.
- Accept that it can take years to develop efficiency. Practice regularly.
- Ask for feedback. Learn to receive feedback, it comes in many forms.
- Read. Read a lot. Only read materials you truly enjoy.