It’s a common trope that writing is an under-loved aspect of a developer’s role, but it doesn’t have to be this way! With a little skill building and some top resources at your fingertips, you’ll be penning prose like a pro in no time.
The topic of writing has come up frequently during one-to-ones within my team, so I thought it was about time we shared the resources and tips we use to overcome writing reticence at Human Made. Credit to Gergely Orosz’s fantastic post on writing well for some of these resources.
Posts on writing well
Sometimes, knowing why we’re doing something can be a motivator in itself. These posts are focused around looking at how we think and value our writing skills, and why exactly they’re so important.
- Undervalued Software Engineering Skills: Writing Well by Gergely Orosz
- It’s time to start writing by Alex Nixon
- Writing is Thinking: Learning to Write with Confidence by Steph Smith
- Writing is Thinking by Andrew Bosworth (A follow up of the previous link)
You might be someone who learns best by ‘doing’, and if so, this category is for you. These courses allow you to work at your own pace in a way that’s comfortable for you.
- Blogging for Devs – an email writing course for developers – a tool for PDP and writing practise.
- The Writing Handbook by Julian Shapiro – an online book you can flick through.
- Technical writing courses – Google’s suite of resources for improving documentation skills.
- How to write better – course enrollment is currently closed, but there’s a free ebook and podcast available while you wait.
Books on writing
Our team had a lot of suggestions under the ‘books’ category, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to the very best, along with some shelf candy for the bookworms out there! 📚
- The sense of style, the thinking person’s guide to writing in the 21st century by Steven Pinker
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
- The Story of English in 100 Words by David Crystal
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White
- The Complete Plain Words by Sir Ernest Gowers (freely available in full)
- Strictly English by Simon Heffer
And finally, no post on writing skills would be complete without mentioning George Orwell’s timeless list of the six rules of writing. Developers and documentation leads should pay particular attention to point number 5 – simple language is always preferable!
What resources have you found most helpful on your journey to becoming a better writer? Let us know on Twitter.