My superpower is a short Time to Prose

Includes a list of examples that illustrate the benefits of this superpower, and a speculation of where it originates.

Of all the trickle-down benefits that I get from my innate desire to write blogs, the most valuable seems to be the ability to write decent prose in a short time.

Having a short thought-to-prose time, I’ve come to realise, is extremely helpful in a world where a lot of work communication takes place on Slack/MS Teams/Basecamp and email.

A few recent examples to illustrate the value of this in the workplace:

  • I can usually write in-between-decision summaries that get every stakeholder on the same page in less than 10 minutes.
  • I can subtly insert steering guidance into any message I write without appearing to be doing so, which helps me gently direct people towards outcomes that I want (or that the organisation wants me to achieve).
  • I can write clear and concise meeting / “huddle” summaries and post them in the right places in under 3 minutes from my bullet-point notes.
  • I can write a tactful feedback message to a colleague and send it off via DM in under 3 minutes, and I’d know I’ve done enough for it to land well.
  • I can write, edit, and confidently publish a whole integration guide for a new product, which I was heavily involved in implementing, in less than a week with minimal involvement of other software engineers and product/marketing managers.
  • I can conjure up analogies (especially humorous ones) in seconds, which helps diffuse tension in discussions, builds a sense of camaraderie, and provides scaffolding to help people think more clearly.
  • I can estimate the effort of producing a work of prose ahead of time reasonably accurately, allowing me to plan my time and that of my team better.

All this from roughly 8 years of casual blogging!

The revolutions I’ve made around the thought -> draft -> edit -> publish cycle have turned indigestible wheat grains into ready-to-bake, digestible flour. (See what I mean by analogies?) At this point, I feel like I’ve internalised years of lessons that people who don’t write regularly are still slowly learning, and it honestly makes me feel like I have a superpower.

Okay, good for you, Nick. What’s your point here?

Simple. I wrote this to share with you what I’ve just realised: blogging has helped me compress my time from thought to prose significantly, and that has in turn helped me to do a lot of things better at work. And I wish it upon everyone to have this superpower.

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