I have a secret to share.
Many people write to spread their thoughts, some want to make a difference, some great ones build tribes. My intentions were neither as noble nor as chivalrous.
Instead, I was propelled by these words, “Why don’t you write? You are a good writer.” I found it uplifting that my correspondences - personal letters/emails, going back in time, cast a thought on a family member whose writing skills I hold in high regard.
Until then, I never fancied myself as a writer. The closest – I loved words.
Early Days: The Challenge
Encouraged and inspired, I wrote my first few blogs with gusto and sent it to publications like HBR (they used to have a separate blog section). My blogs were politely rejected. I was like a college student looking for the first believer who would extend him a credit card.
Late 2014, LinkedIn Pulse happened – the doors opened. I decided to start afresh with a different first question, “How to orient my blogs?”
- My mom chipped in, “Son, one advice, do not advise.” Her suggestion was to just share my experiences. (more here: Pouring my heart out: best advice I received for blogging)
- I chuckled when I first read, “If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” - ounces of truth by Ben Franklin.
All the cajoling and inspiration were great. Except, I could not make up my mind on what to write. So, I just started writing on an impulse giving my left brain a reprieve. I never imagined “a go with the flow” feel would create awesome experiences. Few below.
1) The Less Obvious: On Content
LinkedIn offered my first “publishing” credit card. Readers like you provided me something even more valuable – lively interactions in the comments section that refined my writing. In Pulse, I found a hybrid between a professional social platform and a publication. The quick feedback loop benefited me immensely in iterating what you found worth reading.
2) The Nuanced: Aha on writing style
When I started, I had implicitly assumed the same qualifier word before "writing style" and topics - professional. As I interacted with you all more, I had an aha moment - my constraint on the writing style was self- induced. You warmly embraced a first person writing style for professional topics – littered with personal experiences.
Encouraged, I looked for a guiding light for personal writing style. I found it in Wu Qiao’s words, "When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine….. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one's life span . . . wine, on the other hand…. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation."
“What happens if we merge the two? Poetry of words as prose. That thought became my aspiration.
3) The Unexpected: What blogging could mean for your career
I started to blog for purely personal reasons. G S Seda’s comment in another blog best illustrates #whyIwrite (why I started to write), “It is a given certainty that we see our own worth when it is reflected back to us in the eyes of another loving, caring person.”
Yet, blogging brought new vistas I never contemplated - interviews with firms that were not in my area of technical expertise! We hear about portable skills, writing can create the visibility to make it happen.
Steve Jobs, in his formative years, entered a calligraphy class on an impulse. Little did he know that it would become integral to the first Macintosh.
If you are on the cusp of penning your thoughts, here is my biggest aha, the dots I connected after the fact:
"What Apple is for products, a blog is to your career. Both employ a pull strategy – drawing people to what you have to offer.
A resume is a push strategy. Think different by writing."
4) The Absolute Best For Last
Family, work and commitments - life can roll by fast. As I wrote, I came to realize that the blogs can do something that I often wait for a better day - share a heartfelt thanks with context. That provided me the drive to write regularly.
Beyond my family, blogs became my conduit to share my deep-seated regard for my teachers, friends, fellow bloggers, colleagues, well wishers, “sheepdogs” who rally when trolls surface and many more.
It is often said, “A tribute is a high form of gratitude.” I share this blog as a tribute to worldwide LinkedIn readers – for every single comment, for every single share, for every single like.
Your time has made a world of difference to me, personally and professionally,
More about blogging on LinkedIn: One for right brain and one for left brain
How LinkedIn Can Change Your (Professional) Life: A village experience
Want to have a Pulse? What data tells you about blogging on LinkedIn Pulse