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6 Things I Learnt About Myself While Learning How To Write

By Anandi Ellis Nov 13, 2015

Each person in our team has a learning project. We can choose something we struggle with, or something that interests us. I’ve only spent a few weeks learning how to write, but I’ve already learnt some unexpected lessons.

Writing is something I’ve always struggled with. Tasks like emails and quick updates take more time than the actual work I’m doing. That’s one of the main reasons I chose to learn how to write.

1. I need a supportive environment

FireWorks is a team of 6, and we’ve worked together for 2 years. We’ve seen how each team member has grown as we tackle new projects and struggle with things that are new to us all.

Each person spends 5 minutes every second week to show the team their progress. It’s a fun way to share what you’ve learnt, and get some input from the team.

To get better at something means spending a lot of extra hours working on it. Allocating that time to writing isn’t always fun, but knowing that the rest of the team is doing the same has certainly motivated me.

2. Daily relevance keeps me motivated

At the beginning of the year I wanted to learn how to code - I wanted to be the best unicorn there is. As soon as my work increased, I found myself moving it down my priority list. Half a year passed, and I had barely done anything that I set out to do.

A few weeks ago I changed my learning project to writing. This time, I chose something I struggle with and affects my day-to-day life. Improving my writing immediately started saving me time and effort.

3. Getting a cheerleader helped me

FireWorks got an awesome tutor to help me – Nadine.We have a Skype session once a week in which we work through lessons about things I struggle with. This gives me direction and forces me to think hard about what I need help with.

Sometimes I’m nervous to share work I’ve done. Working with Nadine gives me a space where I don’t feel uncomfortable and it gives us the opportunity to go through what I have done and improve it.

4. Organising my thoughts is useful in all situations

My first lesson was about writing emails. It can be a trivial task, but I sometimes find myself proofreading an email 10 times before I send it.

We started with a simple exercise. Identify the who, what, when, where and why of the email. Having those answers ready before you start writing an email makes your message clear and to the point.

This exercise has proven to be one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in this process. If I’m going to a meeting, making a presentation, planning my week or writing a blog post - it can be applied in almost every situation.

5. Start with something small

I can say with absolute certainty that writing isn’t a skill you can learn in a few weeks, but there are tools and tricks you can use to make it easier. As I mentioned before, we started with writing an email. It was a small enough task for me to remain comfortable and quickly learn my way around it.

Writing this blog post is as far out of my comfort zone as it can get. By breaking it up into small chunks and working through it step by step, I was amazed at how quickly I made progress. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain

6. Sharing is caring

The company has invested time and resources into each of us, and helped us grow to where we are today. Because of that, we’re more invested in the company, where we’re headed, and how we’d like to get there.

When crunch time hits, we work the hours necessary to produce products that we are all proud of. We have sleepless nights about making our products win, and we obsess about the small things.

They say the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. That is exactly how I feel about this project. I would’ve saved myself so much time and effort if I’ve started this project earlier. If you’ve considered starting a learning project, there isn’t a better time than right now.

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