The last two and half months have been intense. Nine conference talks, starting on a new role and a lot of reading have consumed a lot of time. Talks in particular take a lot of time. From thinking about a topic, building the presentation, to practicing, a lot of effort goes into making something with enough quality to be accepted at a conference. Coupled with regular blogging, it's like having a second job. So, why do I do it? And more importantly, why should most of us give it a try?
Paying it forward
Most of my career has been built on the shoulders of giants. Everything from open-source software, splendid blog posts, to videos on complex topics have helped me progress and getter better at what I do. It's only fair to contribute back and help others. While once upon a time I contributed directly to a couple of OSS projects, nowadays I feel I add more value by blogging and giving talks. I still do the occasional contribution now and then.
Helping us learn
Blogging and giving talks also help us learn. Often when I want to learn about a topic I decide on giving a talk and/or blog about it. Curiously, the fact of forcing ourselves to explain something to people helps us reason more clearly about that topic as well as understanding it more deeply.
Building a personal brand
Putting ourselves out there makes people aware of we who are and what we do. Over time we start to build a personal brand and get known by the value we provide. It can help our professional careers as well as our self-confidence.
"Impostor syndrome refers to an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be" and this one of the main reasons people don't blog or give talks. Fun fact: we don't have to be the supreme authority on a topic to deliver expertise on it; people will benefit a lot from our hard work and will thank us for it.
If you're like me you'll always get a bit nervous once a new blog post gets published or your about to deliver a talk. That said, we learn to deal with that and it becomes fun. The benefits seriously outweigh the risks. It's hard work but it's fun!
Why not give it a try?
We don't have to give a hundred talks a year or write a blog post every day. We can start small, see how it feels, see what works and what doesn't, find our niches. Over time things start to gain momentum and the whole world benefits from it.