If you don’t read this entire post, or if you take nothing else away from it, then just remember these points:

  • When you learn something, write about it, and don’t do it just to make money off it.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
  • Teaching others will help you learn.
  • Encourage collaboration by allowing a free flow of constructive comments.
  • If you make a mistake, fix it.

I think this is a winning strategy for all those who are involved in design or development blogging, as well as tutorial writing.

Publish What You Learn by Louis Lazaris on Smashing Magazine.

My first reaction was „duh!“. But then I thought again and asked myself if I really do write about the things I learn. Obviously, I dont.

Since it’s so obvious to me, the question is „why not?“

It seems to boil down to a couple of reasons:

First, I’m lazy. Blogging is a lot of work and I don’t always have the energy, or patience, to sit down after work and write. I also have other interests, so the lack of time doesn’t really help either.

Then, I tend to over-think it. Writing a blog appears to be a major undertaking: I hardly ever manage to think of a blog as a relatively limited task, even if I don’t plan to write a comprehensive project report. Which is a bit silly because I am happily using Twitter and Posterous to capture all my not so very brilliant thoughts and comments. I could as well use it for other things.

I also constantly battle my inner critic* that keeps telling me that everything has been said about a topic already, and most likely by more qualified or experienced people than me. Chances are, they are better writers, too. Of course, I know it’s stupid, it still sets the bar for myself too high to even get started.

Finally, and that is the most interesting part, I don’t necessarily see the things I have learned. How could I publish them? I am constantly learning. If I should make a list of the top 5 things I have learnt during the last week, for example, I would be at a loss. Fine, I learnt some useful tricks in spreadsheets but that is probably not very exciting.

Speaking of it, the actual insight I took away from this week was probably that they cannot be avoided for certain tasks, no matter how hard you try. In this particular case, I was — and still am — working on a content inventory of qt.nokia.com, and after trying to squeeze it all into a mind map I carved in, and put all the pages into a spreadsheet.

The bigger thing I learnt however, was how to compile a content inventory that actually makes sense. To blog about this would surely be a major undertaking, and I am certain someone has written extensively about it already…

*) Wonderful article by Denise Jacobs on the topic: Banishing Your Inner Critic on A List Apart.

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