Learning to write is just another programming language
We worked with nearly 70 contributors over the course of five months for O’Reilly’s 97 Things Every SRE Should Know. We’re sharing with you all the writing lessons and tips we learned along the way.
Pre-order This Draft is Perfect for early access to chapters, tutorials, and resources.
Yup, Writing is Difficult
Writing well is, well, even tougher. Especially since most people learn how to write only while in school, which can’t possibly prepare you for all the writing you’re going to do in your adult life. But you know that writing persuasively brings enormous benefits.
Maybe it’s crafting a compelling cover letter for the next leap in your career.
Or, you’ve had a blog post in mind that just might shoot to the top of Hacker News.
Or, you want to apply for a conference and now have to come up with a CFP.
Or, things at work could be better if you could just get down in words explaining why your design is the one to go with. The list goes on and on.
We believe everyone can build the ability to clearly communicate the ideas and arguments in your head.
Get Advice You Can Use Now
There is no magic to writing better.
A big part of it is just writing more frequently and repeatedly. Practice does make perfect. However, how you practice also matters.
There’s no one way to write: what’s special about This Draft is Perfect is that draws from the experience of working with 68 contributors over 98 essays, about site reliability engineering, no less. That’s no small feat.
Every contributor has their own style and their own voice—informed by their writing experiences. Working with each contributor to get their pieces to the finish line gave us a great front-row seat to how effective writing actually gets done.
If you’ve ever suffered from writer’s block, we share the technique of writing down everything you know in under 10 minutes. People often don’t realize the initial drafts are really a sandbox, and they try to make it too cohesive from the get-go.
By doing an unabashed brain dump, it stops your brain from overthinking the process. It also prevents you from entering editor-mode prematurely, by trying to “make sense” of what’s being written—that’s for a later stage of writing.
The Framework We’ve Deployed Over 100 Times
Background. Problem. Solution. Benefits.
This simple four-step framework will save you a lot of time and energy. It works because it lays out the order in which people process ideas, and by following it, you’ll make it easier on yourself and your reader to understand what you’re trying to convey.
You start by providing the background information they’ll need to know. That way they will have everything they need before you dive deeper into your topic. Then, you set up the problem. Problems are always fascinating to humans, because it creates a cliffhanger.
If we have this problem, then what can we do about it? From there, you share the solution: this is what we need to do to fix the problem. Lastly, you share the benefits from your solution. After all, there could be many solutions so why this one?
Where can you see this in action? Just check out any conference, and read a few of the CFPs. Time and time again you’ll see this framework.
Even for this website, we used the framework.
The background is that we co-edited a book with 68 contributors where we learned a lot about what works to level up writing. While devs and engineers understand the value of strong writing, the problem is finding down-to-earth advice targeted to their needs. The solution is to take the lessons we learned from the book, that we saw click with a wide range of contributors, and to share them as plain-spoken as possible. The benefits are that people can write the things they want to write easier, quicker, and better so they can achieve their goals.
We’re Letting You In On Everything We Know
Like we said, writing isn’t easy, but we think it’s also tougher than it needs to be. We’ve seen how excited people get when the words fully convey their thoughts and feelings.
Emil’s seen this as the co-chair of SREcon, where people put blood, sweat, and tears into presentation applications, and he started to crack the code behind what makes applications resonate.
Jaime’s been doing this when he was in charge of engineering blogs at Riot Games, Shopify, and DigitalOcean, cheering on authors as their posts get read and shared far and wide.
Now, with 97 Things Every SRE Should Know under our belt, we’re ready to lay out everything we know so that you can be the writer you’ve wanted to be.
Curious, but need some persuading? How about downloading a free sample chapter here.
Ready to pre-order?
What's in the Digital Edition?
The book is available as a PDF, in addition to epub and mobi versions. You get them all.
How Do I Get More Value? Go for the Complete Digital Edition
First, you get the book (in all 3 formats), but then you also receive 6 video tutorials, 10 interviews with writers and editors, and 4 additional resources to cement your writing journey.
- Refining your pitch
- Nailing the first draft
- Breaking past writer's block
- Finding motivation
- Editing your own work
- Incorporating feedback
- The essential writer's reading list
- A step-by-step breakdown writing a sample essay
- A step-by-step breakdown editing a sample essay
- A 60-day plan for levelling up your writing abilities
Want Guidance As a Writer? Let's Chat with The Jumpstart Edition
You get an hour for us to talk about your writing goals, work through your process, and even tackle a piece in progress. Whatever's on your mind to get you to where you want to go as a writer. That's of course on top of the book (in all 3 formats), and the 6 video tutorials, 10 interviews with writers and editors, and 4 additional resources to cement your writing journey.
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