A lot of testers are eager to write about their work in personal blogs or simply for the sake of it. But, if you are of a technical mindset simple letters may prove to be much more challenging than arm-wrestling a gorilla while balancing on a one legged chair. But writing is not hard at all as you are not into something as large as a bestselling novel with a fancy name (like 72 Nipples of Purple or something) and a horrible movie franchise, right? Your primary goal is sharing knowledge and gaining more soft skills you will be using in your daily life if you are to write about something as sophisticated as Software testing.
There are several ideas I came across one day when I was facing the same issue and was looking on an empty sheet (ok, an empty MS. Word file) with despair spiced with a good load of depression. That is the point where this story begins…
How to get all those ideas from my head and into text?
So, after a second mug of coffee (it was more of a pure caffeine thing rather than a hot drink, by the way) I got irritated with just sitting around in one position and thinking my deep and dark thoughts.
That is when my eyes caught a small red ball I use to toss around to get relaxed a bit more (or The Ball of Destiny as I am calling it now). So I started bouncing it against the wall without hesitation and that is where the magic happened. Small note I need to make: I have lots of books. The ones that are old-fashioned and made of good old ink, dust and paper rather than plastic and pixels. I don’t know why, it’s just I love such books more and I am quite passionate about reading so I have a lot of them in some of most unexpected places.
So all that noted we are back at that red balls flight that has made in The Ball of Destiny. As you all have probably figured out it hit something and that something was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings on the very top of my closet that has landed on the floor rising a cloud of dust that is the second closes to a nuclear explosion thing I have ever seen (the firs closest thing does require a separate post and is not related to testing so I will kindly skip that blood chilling thriller).
Looking through that book brought one thought up to me. If there are people capable of writing something as magnificent and cared throughout generations surely everybody else has what it takes to at least write a decent blog post about Software Testing. It just requires determination and needs to be thought through! So what were the steps I took next?
My general guideline through out writing
Sure I have already gone through many tutorials about proper post structure, word order and many other things before I even began thinking about writing but those were just words to me and some of those tutorials still are. So I will be giving personal advice that were not approved by teams of marketers and researchers as, in my opinion, when writing may be a science, good writing is always pure and comes from the heart. So the first thing you are to master is…
- Determination! Practice makes perfect, as they say and this can’t be possibly more true when writing is considered. The first post I have written was as ugly as hell (or, by all means even worse as my laptop refused with allowing me to save it on its hard drive) but those were actual words made of real letters that were forming something resembling a text about some functional testing. And that was progress. With time my writing got better and is, at least readable by human beings as for now (or this is my way of lying to myself) so please, never get discouraged. You haven’t learned how to test software right from the first day, right?
- Always be yourself or, in other words don’t try to seem cooler than you are in usual life. Don’t be an expert in fields that are new to you as your readers will figure out such things in a couple of seconds. Make references to sources you have your information from to prove your point and people will understand that your writing is of value to them.
- Write about things you love and care about or, you are interested with at the very least. I don’t know how this one works, perhaps it’s the words you are using or some cosmic energy or whatever, but your readers will feel you and will be more into what you have to offer if you are writing about something of value to yourself. There are some underwater stones here as not all will agree with what you have to say and perhaps it’s they who will end up right (that one hurts the most), but is still better than writing just some dry text that has no soul. Nobody wants that. Ever.
- If you are writing a post be sure to write your own thoughts and ideas rather than repeating clichés that are already posted on every corner. Even if you are writing about something well known and well spread as, lets say, TDD or usability issues you are to make sure you are writing your own personal thoughts in your work that are coming from experience. That is how your work will be of more value.
- Read what you have already written to make sure you have made yourself clear and the post is offering what you had to say exactly. And the best thing here will be doing so in a couple of days after the post was finished. Thus you will have a clear view over all (as much as possible if it’s your writing considered).
I truly hope this post will answer some questions of beginning authors and assist them with their goals. All the luck to you and, oh!.. Keep up the good work!