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Hey there 👋. Hashnode hosted a boot camp from 1 May 2023 to 3 May 2023, with the goal of assisting developers in improving their writing skills. If you're a student who wants to document your development journey or a developer who is looking to get into technical writing, you can revisit this boot camp by going through -
Here is a summary and my learnings of Day 3 of the #HashnodeBootcamp 😊 -
Day 3: Monetizing Your Expertise and Exploring Opportunities
One session was held on Day 3 and the whole event was moderated by Daniela Passos.
- Session 1 - Freelance Writing Opportunities for Developers - by James Q Quick
Session 1 - Freelance Writing Opportunities for Developers
James Q Quick - developer, speaker, teacher and content creator.
The session started with James sharing a bit about his journey and then switched to a Question-Answer session. Attendees were allowed to ask any questions they had collected throughout the three days of the boot camp. Here is a list of questions that were asked and the respective answers James gave -
Q1 - How do you choose your niche?
Choose things that excite you, something that really invokes your interest in it.
Then find niches that are currently trending.
Try finding common ground between the both.
This way you post in a niche that is active, hence has more content consumers.
You subconsciously want to invest more time and effort as it is something you want to learn.
E.g. Typescript - If you learn and write in this niche, people would love to associate with you and follow you along your journey of learning.
Q2 - How can writers market themselves effectively to attract new clients?
Have your own blog.
Write! Have a good series of articles written by you in your niche.
This serves as your resume, which you can forward to clients/companies as proof of work.
Get your articles reviewed by other people.
- Review it for grammatical and technical corrections.
Interact with the community.
More interaction = Better exposure
Better exposure = More people from diverse backgrounds finding you.
e.g. -> Take the live example of Hashnode Bootcamp. As you interact with the community, you find more like-minded people.
Q3 - What are some resources or tools that freelancer writers use to improve their productivity and efficiency?
James lists the following tools and advice -
FrontMatter CMS extension in VSCODE - Content Management
AI tools - Hashnode AI, ChatGPT, etc. - Ideation
Video Tap It - Converting videos into blogs
P.S. - There are other tools that he mentions as well. You can find the list of all tools at the end of this summary.
Q4 - As content creators, can you advise us on the correct and incorrect way to work with AI?
Incorrect Way - Posting plain auto-generated blogs without any editing.
Correct Way -
Leverage AI as an ideation, suggestion, and content-creation tool.
Then customize the output you get. Tweak it. Fact-check it. And then post it.
He also mentions the use of the tool - Daily[dot]dev
Q5 - What do recruiters see in a candidate when hiring for a technical writer? Are there any positions in technical writing (like - junior, mid-level or senior writer)?
Yes, jobs like technical writing, with multiple hierarchies do exist. He gave the example of the following -
Developer Advocate Groups - engage in
Seminars and conferences
Content Writing Team -
Both these positions are important as it helps build content that instills the trust of the community in the company and its product. What good would be a language if its docs is different from its implementation? It would be abandoned in days.
The recruiter is searching for a person who -
can communicate technical concepts to audiences, having different levels of understanding and depth.
It means - You should be able to write your content in such a way that a beginner, as well as an intermediate, can understand the concept without losing interest.
How to do this -
The only way to do this is by writing. Write as much as you can. Increase your knowledge and expertise in technical writing →
James gave the following example -
Start by going through a product's documentation.
Understand it fully by working on it.
Then, make a PR on their documentation stating the gap you found which makes the documentation less beginner friendly.
E.g. -" I found this gap in the documentation due to which beginners were not able to follow through and the implementation. I aim to fill that gap by providing content for the same in this PR. This will create a better developer experience, which in turn will make people like your product more and hence generate a lot of revenue."
- P.S. - Just use an AI to generate a similar response for you😉
Find people already in this field -
Do some research and find people who are already in the position you want to be.
Reach out to them and engage with them like -
I would love to learn about your experience before getting into this field.
How is your work there?
What can I improve in my field?
This way not only are you optimizing for a recruiter, but you're also building you and your network up.
Q6 - Do you believe we can make a good living from blogging + youtube + paid course creation?
Yes. James explains his story and how he makes a good "full-time" living from it. Btw he earns in six figures 😎.
He instructs us to take ownership of everything we do. And one important point to remember is -
Everything becomes your responsibility. You need to learn - taxes, invoices, revenue control, etc.
It is definitely possible through consistency and hard work.
Q7 - Should we initially focus on quality or quantity to attract an audience?
Your aim should be to start first. Start getting stuff out there. Then slowly start refining your content with each iteration, bring in optimizations and stay consistent.
So all in all -> start from quantity, learn from it and shift to quality.
Q8 - How do you get back to creating content after a vacation? This is when the procrastination kicks in.
Always do things you are excited about.
Don’t look at it as a job or you'll miss out on the fun. Instead, find something that you're interested in and excited about and the procrastination will automatically run away.
Reevaluate every time you feel so, and change the domain. Always do things you're excited about.
Build up a routine and follow it.
Q9 - How do you deal with writer's block? Is it safe to run a series on a particular topic?
Whenever you have a writer's block, PIVOT. Pivot into a new domian, completely different from your current area.
There is nothing wrong with pivoting and doing something else. But you really need to pay attention to what you like and what excites you. Then only should you start.
James gives the following example -
Let's say you were writing something and now face writer's block. Shift from writing about that topic to coding.
Go and build a project. Since you'll be coding, debugging, testing and majorly doing problem-solving, it will take ease your mind.
In return, not only the writer's block will be gone, but you'll have more insight into the content.
Yes, it is alright to form a running series on a particular topic.
And it is fine to put content that already exists. James goes on to give a very important and crucial line -
"There are more consumers than there are content providers."
So put out your perspective and make it easier for people to understand.
Q10 - Should I be making content alongside learning?
Yes. The best way to create content is to share your learning journey.
James gives the example from the boot camp he conducted -
He taught around 300 people, but the most successful were those who would go beyond just the class. They would share their learning and be actively engaging in the community.
By doing this, you would
commit to a task and hence become more engaged in it
reinforce what you've learned.
practice communication (written as well as verbal).
P.S. - This in turn now helps you to easily crack interviews.
Brings brand exposure
The best way to learn is to teach.
Q11 - How do you see the role of technical writing in the future?
According to James, this is a growing role. You need to understand that companies are more conscious about the documentation they create and the way they portray their product to consumers.
Documentation - If the documentation is not right, people will not like it. Hence companies pay writers to go through their documentation and make it more user-friendly.
Copywriting - Freelancers who create content that brings attention to a product are in high demand. The same is for the tech field.
Q12 - What are some best practices for writing clear and concise technical documentation?
James gives the following advice -
Having an idea of what you want to write about. (Have a mind map of the content you're about to work on.)
Remember - People are scanning for headers and bullet points as it is easier to find and read. So avoid long paragraphs.
Try removing additional sentences that don't provide value.
Try translating a paragraph into a hierarchy of bullet points having concise content.
People just scan for headers and content.
All tools mentioned -
Hope you liked it. Cheers 😁.
Find me here - 🚀 Aryaman Singh Rana
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