I always sucked at writing; I still do. I even think it limits the positive change and value I could bring to my community - it’s frustrating.
Two people in my life noticed that early on. They also understood the value of clarity in writing and thankfully tried to help me.
The first was my second eduction german teacher, a lovely lady. Probably annoyed by the confusing essays, I handed in all the time she at one point said to me: “If you can’t write you won’t make it very far.” I certainly understood what “far” meant in that context. She referred to having a career. But stupid as I was, I dismissed what she said, thinking I knew better — what a mistake. That conversation on the hallway is one of the clearest memories I have of that time.
The second person was my first mentor. He would tirelessly help me to get my points across when writing blog posts for an internal blog that I used to seed and express ideas and strategies for the company I worked at. Through him, I understood the value of clarity in a complex environment - still haven’t mastered it though. I am very sorry, Jörn.
The problem with writing is I have ideas in my head, and I find it hard to articulate them through writing, not for the lack of words but for lack of mental frame which I struggle to describe. For me, verbally explaining ideas and thoughts is way more comfortable than writing them down. I have yet to figure out why that is. For the most part, I think it has something to do with being able to observe others while I speak and adjust according. Talking over the phone, however, is extremely exhausting for me and I try to avoid it as much as possible. Though, the better the connection quality, the less tiring it gets for me. A WhatsApp call is way more enjoyable than a landline call.
However, in writing all these dynamics do not exist, which makes it hard for me to judge if what I am writing makes sense and is understood. And you only get one chance without correcting on the go. Often I read and reread what I have written, and I am bewildered by the confusion that is present in my texts. I am already curious about how this one will turn out. I can already sense that it goes haywire somewhere.
I have been writing this other article that started with an idea about how destroying software is a good thing and can help to create more value. But I witnessed it go south at some point because there is much going on in my head that I cannot translate into characters and words. When reading that article, I feel unable to understand where I went wrong what needs to be fixed. But the idea of the core message is so crisp in my head, almost like I can touch it or feel it. I read so many articles and blogs posts online and can definitively notice the difference between something that is very well written and something that is not. But I lack the skills to replicate that style, tone, and clarity. It sucks I mean it really does, and I think this is one of the biggest weakness I have, to not being able to express my thoughts on paper precisely. Talk is cheap, spoken words disappear, and only what is written will last generations.
I am writing this with Grammarly, and it gives me a 97 score, but still, I think it does not account for everything I feel and think. I have written so many things, commit message, code, documents, comments, articles, and they all lacked something I still haven’t found. I am sorry for all the people having to fight through my writing. And I am also grateful for everybody that does.
I want to especially thank the very few people that tried to help me along the way to becoming less shitty at expressing myself through text. This is for you, thank you.
P.S.: I am not a native English speaker - but I can guarantee you my native writing is even worse. I always sucked at writing; I still do. I even think it limits positive change and value I could bring to my community - it’s frustrating.