I found symmetry in the kick-off and closure of the Information Architecture (IA) Summit 2009. I asked Indi Young, author of Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, for advice for UX Designers tending their careers. Young suggested:
- Be a strong persuader
- Be able to form and articulate opinions quickly, and believe in those opinions
On the final afternoon of the conference, Young’s encouragement to nurture confidence was echoed by Whitney Hess’ inspirational presentation, Evangelizing All of Us: You Can’t Change the World if No One Knows Your Name. Hess challenged the non-bloggers in the room to talk with her about why they are not publishing their writing.
I imagined that discussion, and realized that it’s not that I don’t have anything new and useful to say, but rather that I’m out of the habit of critical thought. How dismal. I put a premium on completing tasks, including reading a great deal, but not on taking time to develop my responses to the things I encounter.
Kick-in-the-Pants Plan for Re-engagement in the World of Thought
- Read more. I read blogs across many topics, but not enough books and newspapers these days.
- Write daily. Identify a regular time to think through the things I’m reading and formulate responses, creating a habit of deep critical thought. Such habitual response will result in more frequent publishing but also strengthen my ability to formulate and articulate opinions quickly and to be able to explain and stand by those opinions. My often difficult-to-populate list of potential blog topics would probably fill itself if I did these two things. Which will require viewing of fewer tv crime dramas, but that would support local beautification efforts in my house.
- Quiet the knee-jerk elimination of ideas that are not completely new. (I’ve almost ditched this post three times already.)
Hess generously promised that everyone in the room has talent, and given that, the differentiator between being a no-name and being a super-star is practice. She assured, “You have something that no one else knows and it’s deep inside of you.” This resonated. It’s time to mine the deep, apply art to element, and add useful thoughts to the conversations I care about.
So what keeps you from blogging?