TestBash World 2022 - Share Your Experiences Through Writing with Aaron Flynn

In this session, @flynnbops shares his own experiences from writing over the past year.

He’ll talk about his motivations, how he got started, and the benefits he’s seen so far.

We’ll use this Club thread to share resources mentioned during the session and answer any questions we don’t get to during the live session.

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About the talk :mega:

In this session, I’ll share my own experiences from writing over the past year.

I’ll talk about my motivations, how I got started, and the benefits I’ve seen so far. I’m not a regular publisher of content, unlike some people I truly admire. I am early in my writing journey, and still figuring things out. I’m certain some of you have considered writing before, and like me, have decided against it for your own reasons. I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire some of you to give it a try. You have stories worth sharing.

Takeaways

  • Reasons to write
  • How to get started
  • The short and long term benefits for you and your career

About Aaron! :female_detective: :bug: :iphone: :computer:

I’m a Senior SDET at Brightpearl, embedded in a delivery team and working with the wider SDET guild. We support our merchants with selling their goods and services, and integrate with major E-commerce companies, e.g. Amazon, Shopify, Ebay. I’ve worked across the UK and Ireland with different companies. Ranging from testing self service tills for supermarket chains, to building public services in the UK Civil service. I currently find myself drawn towards Quality Engineering and Test Coaching activities. I am passionate about communities of practice. I believe that a strong, engaged community is the best way to support and develop a practice and its members. This naturally has led me to the Ministry of Testing(MoT) community. I’ve written for MoT, and publish blogs on my personal site. Feel free to check it out for more about me and what I’ve been up to.

Social networks :globe_with_meridians: :computer:

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Here’s some links that should be helpful

The presentation slide deck

UK government design principles

Great article on being “unremarkable” by Areti Panou

MoT Bloggers Club

Notes from MoT Twitter space with Nicola Lindgren, thanks to Claire Norman

Ben Dowen post on blogs

MoT Blog feed

What is learning in public?

Getting started with Github pages

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Questions!

Live answered

  • Anonymous.- First time writer here and loved your talk. What are some of your top used tools for writing?
  • Anonymous.- How can someone get started if they think they don’t like writing? :fearful:
  • Jen Bauer.- Do you have an concerns about content ownership depending on where you publish your blog?
  • Anonymous.- First time writer here and loved your talk. What are some of your top used tools for writing?
  • Tristan Lombard.- Who is a software quality leader and writer that you look up to and why?

Not answered :frowning:

  • Rich.- How important is it to work on presentation & visual theme of your blog vs just writing content.
  • Cristiano Cunha.- Sometimes life and work gets in the way, and it is really easy to write less and less. What is your advice on creating an habit and get a steady contribution? (edited)
  • Anonymous.- What’s your tip for writer’s block?

Useful resources shared

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Hi folks!

The July Bloggers club topic is up and ready to hear your ideas for topics! We’ll see what ideas are suggested, then I’ll pick a topic for us to write about.

If you want to get involved with the group, please join in. Everyone is lovely.

  • If you don’t have a blog, you can write post in the thread.
  • Have a blog already? No worries pop a link to the post in the thread.

See you there

Aaron :green_heart:

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Great question. At this time, I don’t think it’s too important. My aim is to write with as few blockers as possible. Using github pages and jekyll, I could find a theme I liked, and that was enough.

If an image, or diagram helps get your message or personality across, then by all means do it! I’ve added mermaid.js support to my blog, so I can add diagrams more easily. Some of my posts have images and code snippets which support the content.

Interestingly, your question has touched on thoughts I’ve had recently about the current layout. Now that I have more posts, it’s not as easy to scan and find something relevant. Tags and pagination could be good additions.

Do you find the content or theme catches your attention more than the other?

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Hey @cristiano.cunha I really enjoyed your session at TestBash! Really resonated with me.

To answer your question with a question of my own. Do you have the desire to contribute regularly?
I also find it hard to make time. We all have busy lives :sweat_smile: .

The bloggers club helps me post fairly regularly. Looking back at my blog, I average about once a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Some of the gaps are when I was on vacation, doing other writing, or just taking a break.

I try to capture ideas when they come to me. Some of these things become posts, some of which I’ve published, others are sitting in drafts. That help with the ideation.

It’s OK to not be creating content every day. Just like its OK if you do.

Why not try join us in the bloggers club for a while? Its relaxed, and the “deadline” if you want to call it that, is flexible, and generous.

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  • Anonymous.- What’s your tip for writer’s block?

I try to capture ideas or topics as they come to me. Usually keeping these as notes somewhere. Not everything turns into a post.

Changing the type of post can be a good way to recharge. I’ve shared notes from a lean coffee session, week notes, a farewell letter to a community, conference talk notes, and solution to an automation issue.

Reading/watching what other people have written can be a good way to generate new ideas.

Do you struggle to create new ideas? If so what have you tried?

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Thanks @flynnbops for your talk, as I’m new to blogging I’m always searching to see how other manage to get things going.

My goal is to contribute once a month and yes I have more things half done then the ones I publish :slight_smile: and I have tried different approaches to assure that I commit to it, without being able to make it a routine. I’m still searching for my pace…

My main struggle is I never think that the new entry is interesting enough or worthwhile to share, so it take me longer to publish.

Nevertheless I may accept your invite onto the bloggers club :wink:

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It can be tricky to find a balance between setting targets and putting too much pressure on yourself.

We are crowd sourching topics for next month. Great time to get involved :wink:

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