A16z board partner and Microsoft alum Steven Sinofsky continually proves that he’s one of the smartest minds in tech with Medium articles like this one, called “Writing Is Thinking.” It’s an annotated version of a tweet storm he published recently about the challenges in building a culture of writing at tech companies. This quote is particularly good:
It is really incredible the amount of pushback I see from companies, startups to big, about writing. In particular around the notion that writing is the antithesis of agile. Writing ossifies and cements decision or plans that should change, it is said. My view is that agility comes from planning. Without plans, activities are just brownian motion. And you can’t have plans, especially shared plans, without writing.
If it isn’t already obvious, the fact that I’m sharing and applauding Sinofsky’s argument here is that I feel strongly about the value of writing in design as well as technology. In a world full of talented designers, the ability to express oneself in written form is a key advantage.
However, someone asked me recently: “I know I should write, but when I actually do it I don’t know if I’m writing for myself or because I know I should write.” I’ve always said that everyone should just write but I realize that for many people it doesn’t come so easily. It can feel more like a compulsory duty than a passion, at which point it becomes pointless—unless you’re writing from your heart, your writing is unlikely to make much of an impression on anyone.
That said, there as many avenues into writing as there are ways to write; the trick is to find the the sensibility, the style that works for you. Maybe you feel more comfortable writing in short, concise bullets than at protracted, grandiose length. Or maybe you feel more at ease with sarcasm and dry wit than with sober, exhaustive argumentation. Or perhaps you prefer to knock out a solitary first draft and never look back rather than polishing and tweaking endlessly. Whatever the approach, if you can do the work to find a genuine passion for writing, what a powerful tool you’ll have.