In September 2021, I had the pleasure of hosting the fourth Hashnode Writing Bootcamp—the biggest event of its kind that we've put on thus far.
We invited seven of our favorite people from the online tech community to come share what they know about the art and business of technical writing.
In the end, over 2,500 (!!) of you signed up, and hundreds completed the writing challenges that we assigned throughout the bootcamp (more on that below).
Real talk: hosting events like this to help writers improve their skills has been a dream of mine since the day I started working for Hashnode.
I can't thank this community enough for making the bootcamp such a resounding success. Rest assured that this won't be the last one. 🙌
If you missed out, don't sweat! This article contains everything you need to follow along and complete the work on your own time.
And I hope you will!
There is truly a wealth of knowledge contained within the presentations here.
About the Writing Bootcamp 🏕
Making money as a technical writer isn't as difficult as you might think.
But if you want to earn a steady income over time, you will need to hone both your writing skills and your soft skills: networking in the industry, marketing yourself, and finding clients to work with.
Our free two-week writing Bootcamp aims to introduce you to these key topics and more, to help flatten the learning curve of getting started so you can focus on what you do best: sharing your knowledge.
- Sam Sycamore (host), Marketing Manager at Hashnode
- Quincy Larson, Founder of FreeCodeCamp
- Edidiong Asikpo, Developer Advocate at Ambassador Labs
- Chris Bongers, Senior Software Developer at Daily.dev
- Francesco Ciulla, Developer Advocate at Daily.dev
- Shaquil Hansford, Freelance Web Developer & Technical Writer
- Adrian Twarog, Tech YouTuber & Creator of EnhanceUI
- Katherine Peterson, Software Engineer at GitHub
Session Recordings 🎙
Keynote with Quincy Larson
hosted by Sam Sycamore on Sep 13, 2021
Getting Started with Technical Writing
by Edidiong Asikpo on Sep 13, 2021
How to Come Up With Ideas for Articles and Stay Consistent
by Chris Bongers on Sep 15, 2021
How to Build a Personal Brand Effectively
by Francesco Ciulla on Sep 17, 2021
How to Make Money as a Technical Writer
by Shaquil Hansford on Sep 22, 2021
The Importance of Storytelling in Technical Writing
by Adrian Twarog on Sep 24, 2021
Use Social Media to Grow Your Professional Network
by Katherine Peterson on Sep 27, 2021
Writing Prompts ✍️
To coincide with each presentation, we issued writing challenges to encourage participants to work on their skills and reflect on what they'd learned.
Those who completed at least four of these prompts before the deadline earned a lovely certificate that looks like this:
If you weren't able to attend live, I hate to break it to you, but it's too late to earn one of these beauties now. 😭
That said, it's definitely still worth your time to work through the writing prompts.
And when you do, be sure to use the #HashnodeBootcamp tag so others can find your articles!
1. Share your path to becoming a writer/becoming interested in writing.
- How did you get started?
- What motivates you keep going?
- What are your goals as a writer?
2. Select a topic for a Series and write your first entry.
- Can you write two or more articles on this topic?
- Will your Series be linear (i.e. you need to read part 1 before moving on to part 2)?
- Or will it be a loose collection of articles around a theme? (This is what I would recommend if you're unsure which to choose.)
3. What is the niche you want to be known for as a writer? Write an article that shows off your knowledge of this topic.
- Can you narrow down the niche to just a few key words?
- Your niche can change over time, so don't worry if you're not 100% sure right now.
- The more specific, the better, but it's ok to start with an open-ended idea and get more specific over time.
4. What is a tech company you'd be excited to work for? Write an article that's relevant to what that company does.
- Does the company have a blog? What kinds of content do they publish?
- Is their documentation lacking or outdated in some way? Perhaps you could update it, or create supplemental learning resources.
- Check out WhoPaysTechnicalWriters.com to get ideas for some real companies you could target.
5. Imagine you're looking for a paid gig as a technical writer, but you need more articles in your portfolio to show off the full range of your skills. Write a piece that's different from what you typically write about.
- Do you mostly write tutorials / how-to guides? Try writing a more conceptual piece instead.
- Do you usually write about beginner-friendly topics? Try writing something for a more advanced audience.
- Do you typically write about your own personal experiences? Try interviewing someone else about their knowledge.
- Do most of your articles involve topics you know well? Try writing about something you have no prior experience with.
6. How might you incorporate storytelling into your technical writing? Try writing a tutorial or guide that tells a story along the way.
- What was your own journey of discovery through the topic? See if you can find ways to share your process.
- Consider your target reader. What will their journey through this topic be like? Try to narrate a linear path for them for them to follow.
- Having trouble inserting a story into a technical piece? Consider it from this perspective: try writing a compelling piece that tells the story of how you solved a coding problem.
- What was going through your mind?
- Where did you encounter hurdles and/or dead-ends?
- Were there any "a-ha!" lightbulb moments along the way?
See You Again Soon 👋
Stay tuned for updates on upcoming events like this one! We had a ton of fun, and we know you did, too.
Let us know in the comments:
- What are your top highlights from the bootcamp?
- What was your favorite article that you wrote during the bootcamp?
Share below! 👇