22 October 2018

I’m taking a break

Today was my 100th newsletter - an accomplishment that I’m quite proud of. However, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of this newsletter and my website lately. What role does it fill in my life? Is blogging part of where I want to take my career? Where DO I want to take my career? Big questions. Honestly, I’ve been unable to point my finger at what is really bothering me.

When I started blogging 3 years ago, I was unaware that it would lead to more than 200 blog posts, two books, and nearly 1000 subscribers (I started my list with 14 friends who I signed up without them knowing - sorry). My posts have been shared by publications I admire like uxdesign.cc, UX Booth, Adobe, Invision, Prototypr.io, UXDesign Weekly as well as by people who influence me like Brad Frost and Josh Clark. That was incredibly validating.

Maybe I’m losing steam…?

Lately, these blog posts haven’t come to me spontaneously. It turns into something a bit exhausting. I’ve felt pressured to write clever things and I guess I haven’t been feeling all that clever. Last night, I read a couple of lines by Cait Flanders that instantly spoke to me:

Now, it feels like every platform(blogs, social, etc.) is a place for people to shout and be heard. We have been told we need to build, grow, make money and have all the answers. We need to be experts.

I don’t want to be an expert. I just want to be a human. Why I’m retiring from personal blogging

The downside of having success - if you can call posts being shared all over the Internet a success-is that when you write posts that aren’t shared, you consider them to be poorly written or without a worthy subject. You are constantly wondering if success was a fluke. I started to feel increasingly out of control with how posts would perform - an added pressure.

So I’ve considered some options:

Should I remove all analytics from my website? That way I’d be ignorant whether a post is read by tens of thousands of people or by ten? Not to mention, it’d be for a better Internet as a whole. That wouldn’t work because I really enjoy knowing who reads my stuff. I think one of the great things about the Internet is that it allows all of us to connect and analytics area way for me to connect with who ever spent time on my site.

Should I stop writing and just share these bite-sized posts that require far less thinking? I could, but I KNOW that I’ve become a better designer through writing these posts. I think all designers should write. Hell, I think EVERYONE would benefit from writing more. Especially to those who think, “I don’t know how to write.” Just write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be great. It doesn’t have to be even mildly good. It just has to be you! Share it with everyone or keep it to yourself - you decide. You WILL see the benefit and will grow from it.

So what’s going to happen?

Truth be told, I don’t really know. I’m sometimes thinking of a new book on some of the topics I’m currently finding most interesting(Future of AI, Ethics in design). I enjoyed the process of writing the last two books and would love to do it again, but it has to have an audience that would appreciate it. Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested insee me do.Yes, your opinion matters!

So if you’re reading this on my blog, expect fewer(I guess?) long-form posts in the coming weeks. If you’re reading this through my newsletter, expect a different format in a few weeks. I have some ideas, but it’s likely going to vary from time to time in the coming weeks and, again, your input is highly appreciated.

A couple of personal reflections to end with:

  • I’m currently working on a very large project with IKEA as a UX Specialist. It’s a very new type of role for me and I’ve been spending a lot of time in Excel and Powerpoint lately. Who would have thought? It’s extremely frustrating at times but it’s also allowing me to experience a completely new side of UX design which is scary and fascinating.
  • Finding great people for projects is really hard. I’ve interviewed a lot of people lately.
  • This is the first year since the iPhone 5S that I won’t upgrade.
  • I’m still unsure if I prefer Spotify over Apple Music or not.
  • I’m currently reading “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work”. I’m really liking it.

These are my most shared posts (in case you missed one):

AI Ethics - A New Skill for UX-Designers
The future of the UX-Designer
Why Designers Need to Write
A Redesign
Designer Ethics & The Moral Implications of our Apps
Be the Butcher not the Supermarket
Chasing Growth
UX Design Explained
New Tools Don’t Always Equal Productivity
The Fundamentals of Good UX

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