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Relicans Summer Camp Week 3: Writing

Pachi πŸͺ (she/her/ela)
πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ I am your friendly developer relations personπŸ¦• #DevRel @newrelic; MoΓ§a de DevRel e co-fundadora da @feminis_tech πŸ’Œ Streamer, writer, EN && pt-BR🌟
Originally published at therelicans.com ・Updated on ・5 min read

| πŸ• Challenge: Explain something new you learned recently. This doesn't have to be technical.

πŸ’‘ Need an idea? If you've been participating in #RelicansSummerCamp, write a post about your video or open source PR and what you learned!

Illustrated gif of a feminine person with long brown hair typing at a computer as day turns to night

Why should you write?

Out of all content formats, writing has the lowest barrier to entry. Like video, you don't need any gadgets, just your computer or phone and internet to post it. For many, writing feels less vulnerable than video or audio, and you can always go back and edit your post later to update or clarify something.

From an audience's point of view, blogs are a great resource. People can read right when it's published or bookmark it for later use. Blogs are accessible to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection. Plus, blogs have a long life on the internet, largely thanks to search engines (but that topic is several blog posts in itself!).

If you want to start creating content and aren't sure how or where to begin, writing is a great place to get started!

The value of your voice

At this point, you may be thinking that there are articles about everything already, so why write another one? Or, maybe you feel like you're not the most qualified person to write about a specific topic. Lots of would-be writers have stopped themselves because they doubted the value of their work.

In reality, your voice, your personal experiences, and the way you see and do things is unique! You never know when your way is exactly what someone needs to finally understand a tricky concept, or be inspired to try something new. Your voice is valuable because it is yours and nobody else's.

Simply put, if you have the desire to write, you absolutely should.

What to write about?

A lot of new writers suffer from "blank page syndrome" β€” where you're overwhelmed by the thought of beginning from nothing. Luckily, there are infinite topics to write about, and we can help you brainstorm some good ideas!

First, we recommend writing a list. Answer the questions below and write down everything that comes to mind β€” whether it's technical or not.

  • What do you already know?
  • What have you learned recently?
  • What's something you wish you knew when you got started (with a specific project, tool, tech in general, etc.)?
  • What do you want to learn more about? Why?
  • What problems have you solved? How did you do it?
  • What questions do you have?
  • Do you have any content you can reuse, like a video or stream?
    • Hint, if you joined the video or the open source challenge, you can reuse that!

You may find you have ideas that overlap or would be lengthy for a single blog post β€” that's great! That means you can make a series of posts about it, or expand into other mediums like streaming or video.

Refer to this list whenever you feel like you don't have anything to write about β€” you have more ideas than you realize!

Screenshot of a Notion page that reads "Content: Lightning Talk Ideas, CFPs, Blog Posts, Stream Ideas, YouTube Videos"

Mia organizes their content ideas and finished content in Notion

The writing process

Now that you know why to write and have some ideas of what to write about, let’s get started.

1. Choose a topic from your list

Pick something that feels exciting to you right now. That will make it easier to keep the words flowing!

2. Start with a basic outline

With that topic in mind, write some bullet points breaking down the things you want to share. These will become the headings of your post.

For example, in their article #100DaysOfCode: Learning in Public, Mia broke it down to:

  • My Background in Tech
  • #100DaysOfCode
  • My Challenge Modifications
  • Learning in Public
  • What are you going to learn in public?

It's a good idea to start with an introduction that answers why you are writing about this, followed by a what. From there, think about what big points you want to cover. This can change later, but writing a basic outline will help you organize your thoughts.

It is also important to pay attention to how you end the post. What are you hoping your audience will do after reading? Try thinking about what next steps you would recommend the reader to take β€” that will help you find your conclusion.

3. Write!

Now, work to fill in the gaps in your outline you created. This is the fun part! Turn on Lofi Girl, make sure you have water nearby, and dive in.

If you get stuck, remember you can skip around β€” you don't have to write the post in order. Plus, you can always edit and rewrite things later. It's a lot easier to edit than to write something in the first place, so focus on getting that first draft done.

4. Add finishing touches

After you finish your first draft, it is always good to run it through a grammar check like Grammarly or Hemingway. If possible, step away from the post for 24 hours before reading it again. This will help make sure you're explaining things clearly. You can also ask a friend, coworker, or peer for feedback β€” or post here on TheRelicans.com!

If you haven't thought about adding images or graphics, now's the time. Images help break up your post visually and emphasize your main points. A header image is the most important because it will be the first thing readers see, especially on social media.

Don't forget to make the images accessible with alt text!

Depending on what platform you are using, there may be specific things you need to do (like formatting your post or adding tags).

5. Publish and share

Congratulations, you're ready to hit publish! You wrote a blog post from start to finish! πŸŽ‰

After the hard work of writing your post, be sure to let others know it exists! Post to your social media and share in any relevant communities.

The new blog checklist below in image form

New Blog Checklist

In short, here's your checklist for writing a new blog post:

  1. Get an idea from your list of topics
  2. Outline the post, writing each heading you want to talk about
  3. Start writing the post with the headings as guidelines
  4. After you are done writing, take a break and come back to read it with fresh eyes on the next day
  5. Use Hemingway or Grammarly to check spelling/grammar/clarity
  6. Add images, formatting, and any other final touches
  7. Publish!

Conclusion

There are a lot of other optimizations you can do for blogging if you want to dive in deeper, but this post covers the writing process itself.

Share your work on therelicans.com by the end of July.
We want to see what you create! Be sure to include the #RelicansSummerCamp tag on your post so we can find it easily and award you your camp badge!

  • The Relicans.com is a community to help each other improve and build welcoming, inclusive communities that share our mission: Let’s teach the world to code! *

This post was sponsored by New Relic❀

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