When to Write
Overcoming the problem of feeling unready
Maybe you get the why and you've figured out the what, but you feel like a fraud. Maybe you feel like you simply aren't ready, you're too junior, you know too little, and that you might just be acting a little too big for your britches. Let's put these fears to rest once and for all - whatever self-doubt you are feeling is normal, but you're ready. All those inadequacies that you feel are perspectives you can apply to your writing.
Writing for professional capital doesn't mean waiting until you're already successful to publish something. It means taking the time to express your ideas and share them. Ideas can have multiple perspectives - from an inexperienced eye to an experienced one. The whole spectrum can be useful. You just need to be a little creative in how you design your perspective.
For the less experienced
Here's a couple ideas for those who are less experienced than they want to be in the space they're writing about:
- Write about what you are learning about that space. You can dive into things you learned in your process and write about them in a way that simplifies or clarifies your own understanding. What you learn through your process may become interesting to another who has started in their journey to learn.
- Write from a beginner's perspective. You can offer a different perspective to experienced individuals in a field by providing the perspective of the beginner. The beginner's perspective can offer very interesting insights that can be easily overlooked by the experienced. Just look at the differences between generations who grew up with the internet and those who didn't. An internet experienced individual can navigate almost any app or site, but an older person with little experience will find the simpliest things difficult. This means that even "obvious" experiences may not be so obvious.
- Collect lessons from the experienced. Another method is to collect ideas from the experienced and to simplify their lessons and ideas for others. You may feel that you're too inexperienced to offer any ideas of value in your domain yet, but you find certain others highly valuable. Why not curate that knowledge or help them build it out through your writing?
For the less confident
Regardless of your experience level, confidence can be a hurdle when it comes to writing. You may worry that your peers will judge you or that your ideas just aren't that interesting. It's true that there is always some level of judgment when one reads another's writing. Just as if you read a book, you will develop an opinion as to whether you like it or not. Being on the receiving end of some judgment is just part and parcel of the whole creative process. As long as you create something, there will be others who will apply some level of judgment to it. You're not alone. Every creator, writer, maker goes through this no matter how experienced or successful they are.
Here's a few ideas for how to help overcome this fear:
- Write under a pseudonym first. Sometimes it helps to write under a name that's not yours. It's not ideal to building professional capital - as the whole point is have your writing associated with you, but it's better than not publishing anything. And it's just a way to start. It can help reduce some of the fear to publishing. Use it to feel more comfortable about putting stuff out there - and eventually, you can announce your identify and switch over to your real name when you're ready.
- Read a lot of writing from peers. Actively read content that's written by people you consider your peers. Take the time to see what they are doing so that you can realize that if they can do it, you can too. Sometimes, we idealize others who we look up to and think that if they can something it's because they are so much better. By specifically focusing on your peers, you can see an example of someone relatable doing what you want to do.