A website by Patrick White

Write the Obvious: Blogging and Beginner's Mind

In a recent tweet, that I can’t seem to locate, by the great patio11 he said something about how the world needs more people that are on the second day of doing something writing about it for people that are still on their first day. Something along those lines, but, you know, actually well written.

The point he is getting at is that as soon as you start doing something, you quickly forget what it’s like to be a beginner. And since most of the people writing about a topic are experts, there’s a real paucity of material that addresses the true concerns of beginnings.

I encountered a corollary of this when I started the Nonprofit Novice, the blog I was going to do on nonprofits and online fundraising, and gave up and switched to this blog. Namely, that it is really easy to come up with blog posts when you’re a beginner.

Why is that? Well, take my experience with Nonprofit Novice as an example: I’d read a few articles about nonprofit fundraising, think “yeah, that makes sense”, and synthesize them into a blog post. The post was probably completely obvious to anyone with any experience with nonprofit fundraising. But, it wasn’t obvious to me, so the post seemed good, and I published it.

Whereas when I’ve tried to come up with posts for this blog (which, in theory, is meant to target software devs), I can’t think of anything. I don’t have beginner’s mind and can’t write the obvious. I know too much and see too much nuance, so I struggle.

The solution? Write the obvious. Don’t be afraid to write for those people that are on their first day. They could use the help and there’s lots of them.