First off, why in the world would you even consider this? What gives you the impulse? Do you think you’re better than everyone else or something? Do you think you know everything?
You shouldn’t write, you should just be another drudge. Be a cog. Sit down and keep pushing pixels all day. Don’t let anyone know that you’re real. Don’t let anyone into your emotions and feelings. Don’t reveal your thoughts and opinions. Just be another design machine, like the rest of us. Don’t be human.
“Seriously- get back to work.”
I’ll put the sarcasm aside for now because the truth is, writing has been super beneficial to me, and so I want to encourage others to be more than just a curated persona on the internet. We spend a lot of time online, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I don’t like the idea of diluting down our personalities just so we don’t disturb the rest of the internet or so that we can come off as something far from our honest selves.
I’ve kept to myself for most of my life. I enjoy my time alone, and so I often find myself passing up opportunities to socialise with others, and in return, leave my socializing for when I’m online. The issue has been, before I started writing, everyone was left to make assumptions of me. The things I designed, links I share, and posts I liked all contributed to how other people perceived me.
I never realized what I was doing—what I was missing out on—until I began reading other people’s writing. Before that, I mindlessly scrolled through feeds of images and never considered who these designers were. I place emphasis on the word ‘designers’ because up until I began reading what other designers were writing about, they were nothing more than just designers to me.
This isn’t to say, if you don’t write then you’re not a person, but rather it’s increasingly more difficult to connect with someone on a human level when you don’t know what they’re interested in outside of design or what their views and opinions are.
“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen—really seen.” —Brené Brown
In 2014, I attended my first design conference at Creative South which gave me even more perspective. Reading helped me recognize that these designers have a voice and are actual people, but then being able to meet them in person gave their work more life. I could appreciate the work these people did on a deeper level because I was able to connect with them on a deeper level.
Until you meet someone in person and hear their stories, thoughts, and opinions, it’s impossible to tell just how interesting and smart they are. When I left Creative South, I was in an entirely new mindset—I no longer wanted to just be another voiceless designer on the internet. I started writing because that’s the closest way for others to hear my stories, thoughts, and opinions without having to make their own assumptions.
Most of all, writing has helped me better understand myself. It serves as an outlet for me to overcome my struggles.
Unfortunately, some people point and laugh at those who write and discourage them from doing so, as if you should solely focus on working and becoming some sort of design mogul. It comes from a mindset of, “Work. Work. Work. Let your work speak for you.” If your only aspiration is to become some design machine, sure go for it, but if you want to actually embody your honest self in all realms of your life including the internet—if you want to be human—then write. Talk. Share your ideas. Share your opinions. Share your thoughts.
Writing will put you at risk of others looking down on you, but it will more importantly help you find yourself and connect you with the people who actually care and matter. Be more than just a 48px avatar. Let people know that you’re a person.