I had someone on LinkedIn ask me:
How do you come up with ideas for writing?
It’s taken me years of practice to build a writing itch that I enjoy scratching. I started this blog in 2013, that year I wrote 2 pieces 😬.
This post is a reflection on how I get and maintain inspiration for writing.
Table of Contents
Write about the basics
You could browse the forums for basic questions to answer, e.g. what is software testing? Why bother with software testing?
Here are some forums you could browse for ideas:
It doesn’t matter if you re-write these basics either. I’ve written 4 versions of a basic “what/why software testing?” and each time I write it, I get a bit better at explaining it to myself and others.
Seeing how my content has improved over time is uplifting:
- What makes a good tester? (2014)
- What is software testing? (2018)
- Why bother software testing? (2018)
- Why do we test? (2021)
One of the benefits of writing is clearing up your own ideas. I write for me, to help me understand my own thoughts. You, the audience are a side benefit to this process.
Answer interview questions
You could practice answering job interview questions. This will help you prepare for that next role and is a great way to practice some communication skills.
What are some of these questions? Read this post to dive into technical tester interviews.
Did you read something thought provoking? Why not write a reply article? See Re: the dark side of being a test automation engineer for an example reply blog post.
Write about your experiences
Your adventure through life is unique. No one else has ever done or experienced the exact same things in the exact same order you have. Your experiences are a unique story you can share with the world.
I have lots of job hunting blog posts because it’s something I’ve done a lot of. You can also write about the conferences you’ve attended, courses you’ve attended or the books you’ve read.
It might feel trivial and something that everyone knows. But trust me, someone will enjoy reading your insights.
Writing think pieces
These type of posts take a long time to research, write, review and publish. This isn’t my main style of blog post but they can be engaging to write. They can feel a bit more like “homework” though. Here are some examples if this form:
- Michael Bolton’s 12 part series on “breaking the test case addiction“
- Testing for accessibility
- A Mobile app test strategy
When inspirations hits, let it flow
I have 52 draft blog posts, I’ve never come back to them. When inspiration for a blog hits me I try to let it exist in that moment. If I don’t, the chances of it not being finished increase.
Don’t worry about length or perfection
Something short and sweet can have just as much impact as something long and thought provoking. There’s no magic number for the perfect blog post.
Also don’t get caught up on perfection, you’ll never publish anything if you do and you can always edit and tweak content once it is live.
Don’t worry about how often
You don’t need to publish stuff every week, consistency can help but you should only write when you have the energy to do so. If life is a bit too hard right now don’t beat yourself up over it.
Nearly every year I go through a period of not writing anything for a month or two and that’s ok. Some months I write 10 pieces.
Is there something you’ve wanted to write about but never found the time?