Flexing Those Writing Muscles

I'm hosting a UX Workshop at work, where we go through some basic writing principles and guidelines.

My favorite part is the interactive element, where designers and PMs get together to tackle a problem together. It could be anything from a made up scenario ("Communicate to a user that their pizza is on its way") to fixing content that already exists in the real world. It's great to see how different personalities approach the same problem.

There's a lot of truth in that old saying, practice makes perfect. But I've found that diverse practice is just as important. I wrote for a fitness/education app for nearly two years, and it wasn't hard to fall into a rut. The same terms, voice, and challenges on repeat can easily stunt growth.

When I find myself stuck on something, walking away and returning with fresh eyes is often the solution. Sometimes that separation is enough; other times, I need to work on something completely unrelated.

As I've mentioned before, once you're in the world of UX, you start seeing less-than-ideal content everywhere. Just today, a Ryan Air notification irritated me, my LinkedIn notifications were strangely organised, and a CTA on my banking app didn't lead to the screen I expected.

I've learned to channel that frustration into opportunity. Instead of just thinking I could do better, I actually try to. How would I write it? You could argue that working on a dog walking app won't add a ton of value to my work in OKRs, and I get it: the voice, vocab, and challenges are different. But flexing my writing muscles on unrelated challenges is sometimes better than repeating the same thing over and over.

I've been going to the gym consistently for the past three months, and it can be discouraging for multiple reasons. It's full of people who look straight out of a magazine, which plays more to my insecurities than inspirations; I don't see results as quickly as I'd like; my high stress level and anxiety about working out in public sometimes get in the way.

I remember looking in the mirror after the first week and thinking what's the point. I know logically that it takes time and effort, but it's tempting to want immediate results. After the first month, I noticed an improvement in mood, sleep, and energy, but I couldn't see much physical difference.

After doing some research, I switched from a full-cardio routine to a cardio/weight lifting regimen. Instead of just suffering through an hour on the treadmill or bike, my work out now targets different areas. And (surprise surprise) two things happened: I started seeing results, and I started looking forward to my gym days.

Writing is no different. I can run on the treadmill of OKRs and KPIs all day, but sometimes focusing on something unrelated (a food delivery app, a Twitter notification) gets me out of that cycle. Then, when I hop back on the treadmill, I realize it's not as difficult as it once was.

If you're feeling burned out, stuck, or just unsure about UX Writing, try stepping away. Step away from your domain. Practice within an area that personally interests you. Then come back and show off those gains 💪