✍️ Reflexions on writing - Why, when, how, and more...

— 5 minute read

Yesterday I had my 20th article published on Smashing Magazine. This fact fills me with pride!

Oh yeah, I'm so proud!
Oh yeah, I'm so proud!

To celebrate this personal milestone, starting from today I'll publish a series of blog posts sharing my experience, as to encourage everyone to also dare try (I don't necessarily mean to write articles for some prestigious online magazine, but for your own personal blog too, as I'm doing right now).

My topic for today is: Why? Why would you want to publish your writings?

There are many many compelling reasons, but the main ones, at least for me, are the following ones.

Getting publicity permalink

If you are like me, most likely than not, you have something that could benefit from being publicized within your community. For instance, if you are a freelance designer or developer, showing your work and line of thinking will help you get new clients. If your agency builds websites, demonstrating that fancy-looking layout that you designed will portray your agency as being stylish and playful, or explaining how to write coherent copytext will establish your agency as a reliable provider of corporate solutions. If you sell services that tackle a need by the community, and you teach the ingredients that make your services work, you may get new customers. If you have an open source project, and you elucidate how it deals with a specific problem that someone in the community is experiencing, you may get contributors for your project. And so on and on.

(In my case, it is PoP within the web community and, more recently, GraphQL API for PoP within the API-design community... sorry for this un-invited ad, shame on me!)

Now, you can make the whatever-it-is-you-want-to-publicize the topic of your article, but you don't need to: Just by having your name out there you are already getting publicity. If your article is compelling, people will want to find out more about you, who you are and what you do. As an example concerning me, when typing "Leonardo Losoviz" in the input in Google, it suggests to autocomplete it as "leonardo losoviz pop", evidencing how people are looking for my project associated to my name.

Getting traffic permalink

In some situations, publishing an article out there is not just a nice-to-have, but it could be the deciding factor to attract the interest from the community and, ultimately, attain your goals (this is the case, for instance, for getting contributors for your open source project).

Online magazines not only host your content but attempt to make it go viral too. In their guide How to Spread The Word About Your Code, Peter Cooper and Robert Nyman recommend:

A single tweet from @smashingmag could drive thousands of visitors your way, so consider tweeting them, and other similar accounts, when you have something relevant.

Getting prestige permalink

Publishing on an online magazine, and also on your personal blog, gives you plenty of face, which increases your chances of getting a job or being accepted to speak in tech conferences.

Make some money permalink

Several online magazines (including Smashing) pay for each contributed article. However, beware! You should think twice before writing articles if you do it just for the money, because it may not be worth it. Taking into account the time required by all activities involved when writing an article (jotting down ideas, submitting a proposal, writing the article, sending it for review, editing it to incorporate feedback, replying to comments, and others), depending on your particular case, the money may not justify the expense of time.

For instance, if the article requires 7 days of work (which is a reasonable estimate when the article is comprehensive, or involves plenty of research), and if you're working as a software engineer for some Silicon Valley company for which you get paid handsomely, then the money you will make from the article will quite likely not justify the amount of time put into it.

Conclusion: Do it for the art of it, and for sharing with the community. Not for the money.

Feeling good permalink

After posting a random thought on Twitter and seeing it retweeted, or after uploading a pic of your chicken rice on Instagram and having people comment how delicious it looks, you will most likely experience that pleasurable sensation of instant gratification, originating from being acknowledged by not only friends and acquaintances but also by strangers. We are social animals, and sharing content with each other, either face-to-face or through online sites and social networks, is part of who we are. Publishing an article online produces those sensations on me (and I'm pretty sure it will on you too): A smile crops along my face and my mood for the rest of the day becomes better. It just feels good.

The sensation is more pronounced when your content is truly appreciated by the target community and you are sincerely thanked for it. For instance, an article of mine received the comment below, making my day:

A sincere "thank you" comment can make my day

Until my next blog post... See you, and thanks for reading! (No comments on my blog yet 😢 If you want to leave a comment, or simply share this blog post with your friends, please use this Twitter link.)