A question that I get asked frequently is “How do you write so much?”… and “Do you have any advice for folks wanting to write their first article (or blog post, or book, or…)?”
Well, if you want to be a writer the first thing that you have to do is make the time to write every day. Even if it is only for a half hour or so, sit down at the computer or pull up a lawn chair outside with a tablet and pen and just write what you are thinking about. It could be personal or technical; funny or serious. The bottom line is this: if you are serious about writing, you need to set aside time to do it.
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect as you write down your ideas. You can always edit it later. Capture your immediate thoughts as they come to you. Then take that beginning essence of an idea and flesh it out over time.
As far as writing your first article goes, it is as simple as this: write what you know. Write about the last project you worked on, the current database you are designing, or that particularly thorny performance problem your team just helped you solve. If you write about your experiences you have a better chance of succeeding than if you decide to write about a topic you must research because you know nothing or little about it.
Once it is written, don’t be shy about submitting it to your favorite publications. Most technical journals and web-based publications are interested in publishing first-hand experiences about solving problems with technology. And it is unlikely that an editor will beat down your door for material – especially if you have never written before. Choose the publication wisely – make sure your article is a good fit by reading the magazine before submitting your article. More articles are rejected because they are not good fits for the publication than any other reason. For example, Computer World is unlikely to publish your manifesto on migrating from one set of DB2 utilities to another… but a more technical publication might… and that is an excellent first blog post for that new blog you’ve been thinking about starting up!