Last month, Cole Henley wrote a brief thought on The Pastry Box Project.
I know we’ve only just met but in 2013 I want you to promise me something. Write more, help others more, be confident that you know more than you think because I guarantee there will be people who can learn from your experiences and knowledge.
I bet you know more than you think.
That simple thought really resonated with me. In particular, I found the same phrase bouncing around in my head.
Write more, help others more.
As members of the WordPress community, this is our mantra. And yet, sometimes it feels a little idealistic, if not outright immodest. It can sometimes come to reflect the community we wish we could be, not the loose network of individuals that we sometimes are.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you. When Matt first started WordPress, he envisioned an open and free facilitation of ideas. And that dream remains true to this day. But every once in a while, it’s worth it to pull our heads out of the clouds and come up with some concrete and realistic goals for ourselves.
That’s what I’ve been working on.
I started writing for WP Daily a few months ago after an e-mail from Tom inspired me to stop talking about getting myself out there, and just start doing it. I am still learning. A lot. But even as my skills grow, there is plenty I can share with you all.
My initial hesitancy in writing at all was because of my inexperience. There are many developers out there that are far more advanced then me, and in my opinion, have far more to offer. But since I started writing for WP Daily, I have learned so much more.
I try to write something every other week, and I’ve been pretty good at sticking to that. Writing forces me to keep a regular regiment of learning and exploration, and to seek to understand wholly the problems that I face, instead of just copying and pasting a solution.
I know not everybody is a writer. That’s okay. If you come across a problem, post somewhere how you solved it. Anywhere. Start your own blog, or post a question and answer to Stack Overflow for people to see. Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, submit your pitch to John and write for WP Daily.
Most importantly, set a schedule and stick to it. If you put yourself out there, even just to a small group, you will find that you benefit yourself as much as you do the community. And that’s part of what WordPress is all about.
Another big step for me was finally getting involved in WordPress itself. For me, the first point of entry was to get involved in the WP Support team, but you can get involved in several different ways.
Find which one suits you best, join their chat on IRC and see how you can get involved. This is wide open to developers, content strategists, designers and just about anything you can think of.
The trick is not to wait until you feel fully prepared. Jump on in and take an assignment, there will be plenty of help around if you need it. That was the hardest step for me.
Eventually, I threw caution to the wind and took an assignment. Now I have the confidence to keep on going.
And don’t forget the forums. I know I do. There are hundreds of people seeking help every day on the web’s biggest platform, and chances are you can help answer a question or two. I’m pretty good at HTML/CSS, and I know my way around PHP.
Even with that limited knowledge, I’ve helped dozens of people Apart from the warm feeling you get when someone thanks you, you’ll find yourself exploring WordPress even more, understanding how it works.
So every week, set aside a couple of hours and just answer some questions. You have no idea how much that helps.
Here are a few simple, but concrete, steps for you to follow:
- Set a writing schedule and stick to it. It doens’t have to be exhaustive, but one every week or two. This can be on your own personal blog, on a WP site like WP Daily or WP Realm, or a Q and A style post on Stack Overflow.
- Join up with one of WordPress’ many Make groups. Join the IRC chats and keep up with the posts. Reach out to the community rep if you have any questions.
- Spend a couple of hours (or more) on the WordPress forums, just helping people out however you can.
And don’t forget write more, help others more. You will not be sorry.