Hello! It's me, Heberto Moreno. I'm one of the editors of the blog, along with Jesús Lizárraga. We hope you're having a great time reading all the stuff our friends and co-workers (almost always, both) come up with! We're very proud of the fact that we offer a wide array of topics, ranging from in-deep tech tutorials, to advice on how to live your life. Each one of these entries has been lovingly written by someone who took time out of their very busy day to bless us with their knowledge of React Native, or to tell us all about a recent event that shook their lives. It's a veritable cornucopia of self-expression. Anyway, I'm not trying to imitate the "Obama giving himself a medal" meme here. The blog is cool. We know. Moving on!
So, you're sitting on your desk, or on your sofa, or whatever, and you think to yourself "I should write something." Maybe you've had an idea for a really dense science fiction novel for years, or you wanna jot down your thoughts about the current government of your country, or you're really good at ping pong and want to tell people how they can get better. Maybe you're just trying to write a post-it note to your wife about getting more of the brand of tea you really like. "But," you think, "I know nothing about writing. I'll just be wasting everyone's time." Ah, well, stop thinking that.
1. Do you know how to speak? Good, then you know how to write anything.
Writing is nothing more than speaking that has been frozen in time. Every time you're having a conversation with someone, you're writing a book. Entire novels have been written about considerably less interesting topics than what you and your significant other talked about over dinner last night. Remember that time at that party when you explained the entire plot and significance of Mad Max: Fury Road to that girl that was not at all interested in you and what you had to say? No? That was me? No, wait, yeah that was me. Anyway that was a book, for sure.
Too much attention is paid to whether something is worth writing about or not, which is really not the point at all. Anything is worth writing about. A rainy day is worth writing about. A sunny afternoon spent thinking about your dearly departed cat is worth writing about. A thoughtful piece about writing php code, with insights to what you've learned in the time you've spent with it, is worth writing about. It's not for others. It's for you, so let us read it! Which takes me to my next point.
2. The only way to write something is to sit down and write it.
This sounds obvious, but think about it. I had the idea for this blog post two days ago. For two days, it was just a cloud of "what ifs." It germinated around in my brain, releasing occasional rays of insight and self-doubt. It could be anything. It could be terribly long, or disappointingly short. It could be about anything and have as many paragraphs as there are stars in the sky (like Infinite Jest). It's not until you actually sit down and start writing that it all takes shape.
There are few things more intimidating than a blank page, so here's a piece of advice from yours truly. Write something; anything. Once you write something, you don't need to start anymore. You've already started, you just need to continue. I usually start by writing the phrase "Look, dude, here's the thing." And from there I just keep on chaining sentences. This is what we do when we explain things. It's what we do when we give someone directions to the nearest Oxxo. It's what we do when we're talking about our day. We do it because we're human. Of course, you might not create the next Lord Of The Rings the first time you write, but that's ok! Because:
3. You'll get better at writing by writing a lot.
Look, dude, here's the thing: No one is good at anything from birth. This is a fact. They have to spank us just so we'll get better at breathing. That's how bad we are at everything. We suck at walking for months, and years later we still fall. I know for a fact that I seemed to forget how to drink water at one of our company parties, and I'm twenty-nine years old. No one gets good at something without practice.
Also, let me tell you this: it's very hard for someone to not get good at something they do frequently. Anytime you do an activity, your brain is thinking about how to do it better, faster and stronger. The first time you write will not be the same as the second time you write, or the third time you write, or the last time you write. I assure you, if you write and keep writing, you'll get better. You have my permission to come beat me up if you do not. However! Don't try to write something about theoretical physics and then come to me saying "Heberto, I couldn't write anything so I'm here to beat you up." Because I will beat you up!! Here's my final piece of advice:
4. Write what you know
Particularly at the beginning, you should write about something that you're familiar with. You'll find the whole process gets easier that way. Even if you do have to do a bit of research to write something compelling, you will know how and where to look for that information. This is very important. Ernest Hemingway wrote a book about the war because he was in the war. Chuck Palahniuk wrote Fight Club because he got a bruise while camping and people kept asking him if he'd been in a fight. E.L. James wrote Fifty Shades of Grey because she wanted the people in Twilight to do it.
If you want to write about something you don't know that much about, you'll find it is considerably harder to put your thoughts down. This doesn't mean that you can't; it just means it takes longer. The main job of the big fiction writers is often not writing, but researching. Every novel about a crime scene had to involve looking up data for murders, how to commit them, how to get away with it, and how to look good while doing it.
Whatever you write, be honest. It is way more satisfying to read something heartfelt and well thought-out, than it is to read something pretentious. People can tell when you're not feeling it, so feel it. Let yourself write whatever you want. Feel the words come out of you and into a perpetual medium, in which they can exist forever. You can then go and read it to your boyfriend, or your grandma, or your dog. You'll be surprised with how many people really want to hear you read what you have written.
Also, whatever you write, please let me read it. I love reading anything and everything. I'll read your stuff and I'll tell you which of your commas should be periods, and I'll tell you you've gotten better so that you do not beat me up. You can find me on twitter and instagram as @NikolasMurdock, where I'm always writing weird stuff and posting pictures of the sky.
I look forward to getting a first row seat to see whatever you become, you beautiful person, you.
Have a great day!