Writing more

I want to improve my writing, so I need to do more of it.

Improving means that I can communicate effectively, efficiently and engagingly. It means you can understand me, that I'm not wasting your time, and that I can hold your attention long enough to impart what I wanted you to know.

Part of my job as a software engineer is to express ideas in a way that is understandable by machines. More importantly, those ideas can be understood by other engineers who work with me now and in the future, whether I'm present or not. That is what good code means to me.

When I write for a machine I'm able to get feedback near instantly. Frequently that feedback is unambiguous. I was either successful in communicating my intent, or I was not. Code reviews help ensure I'm successfully communicating with other engineers too.

Much of my work is useful to people who shouldn't need to understand the details of it’s construction to find it helpful. I should be able to describe it in a way that respects their time and attention. Documentation matters.

Career progression requires I am able to communicate ideas in a way that places them in a wider context to demonstrate their value. I distill the ideas of multiple people and in doing so am representing them as well as myself.

I need to write to justify advancements, to mediate conflict, to convince others to invest their resources, to give candid feedback kindly, to explain failure, and to celebrate success.

I need to be able to do all of that in a timely manner that leaves room for all the other things to be done. Improving also means writing more quickly when that's necessary.

Success will be hard to measure here. Improvement needs feedback as well as practice. That's why I'm writing this publicly.

The most uncomfortable part is convincing myself that this is good enough, when I know that it could be better. If the only outcome is that getting easier, then this will be worthwhile.