Published on 6 Apr 2021 | 4 Minute Read
Five Ways to Improve Your Writing As a Developer
For a lot of developers writing blog posts and documentation isn't a native skill so here are 5 ways to improve your writing skills as a developer.
Writing high-quality technical content is a sizeable challenge on its own. But, add in the challenge of ensuring our writing is perfect and it becomes an even larger challenge. For some this is enough for them to put off publishing content all together but it shouldn't be!
In this post, I'll share five ways you can improve your writing to ensure your next article is perfect.
Grammarly is an amazing tool for checking your writing. There are two versions, a free version and a paid version.
The paid version offers features like Conciseness, Readability and Fluency. But, if all you need to do is ensure your writing is free from spelling and grammatical errors the free version is fine.
If you're interested in checking out Grammarly you can here.
The Hemingway Editor checks your writing for style errors. Its aim is to improve the writer's message and allow readers to focus on it easier. It highlights your writing in various colours, each signifying an area to improve.
The web version is completely free to use. But, there is also a desktop app you can purchase here if interested.
Forest, isn't a writing aid like Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor are.
Instead, Forest is an app and browser extensions that removes distractions and temptations.
It also works as a Pomodoro timer. If you're unfamiliar with a Pomodoro timer, it's a tool that allows you to utilise the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique is working in pre-defined blocks with a smaller period of rest in between. The idea being this helps increase your focus and get more work done.
How will this improve your writing?
I find it easy to get distracted from writing an article. By using Forest it helps me stay focused on the task at hand, in turn helping me write more and improve my writing.
Check out Forest here.
Pick up a book
One of the best ways to improve your writing isn't actually to write at all.
It's to read other people's writing.
I recommend reading as a daily activity in general but improving your writing is a great reason to pick up a book. It doesn't need to be a computer science book or even anything related to coding. It could be non-fiction or a politics book, pick something that interests you and get pulled in.
Reading other people's writing is like reading other people's code. It exposes us to new concepts, ideas and words we haven't seen before. Over time this will give us a larger vocabulary and experience to call upon when writing.
If you would like some recommendations on what to read, you can check out what I've been reading here.
Finally, one of the best ways to improve your writing is to write!
Like coding, photography and drawing; at first we're likely not going to be great. But, with time and experience, our skills will improve and so will our writing.
To get started, you could make a daily goal of writing 750 words by completing the Morning Pages project or by writing a blog post a day. At first, it doesn't matter the content, what's important is building up the habit.
Summary / How I Work.
These were five ways to improve your writing as a developer. To conclude I wanted to share my process for writing a blog post and how I use these methods in my own life.
When I write an article, I make a point of doing as little editing as possible while I write. I always separate writing and editing so that when I'm writing I can focus on getting words on the page. This means I leave things like correcting spelling mistakes to the editing stage.
While writing, I go one step further and use VSCode with no spell-checking so all my attention is on writing. I combine this with the Forest App to ensure I'm focused on the task at hand.
After I've finished writing, I'll take a break, I aim for at least one whole day before returning to the post. This isn't always possible though so the least I'll do is a few hours.
This allows me to return with a clear mind and a different mindset to when I was writing.
When editing I move the writing into the Hemingway Editor and make use of the Grammarly browser extension. I start by resolving any Grammarly issues and then look at the issues found by the Hemingway editor.
Once I've fixed all the issues, I'll give the post a read through to ensure it still flows right. This is to ensure I haven't lost the purpose of the article while editing.
After this is complete, it's a matter of creating images and publishing the post. 😃
Thank you for reading! Do you have any tips to help people improve their writing? If so, be sure to share them with me on Twitter. If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it for others to see.