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  • Writer's pictureKelly Adams

Want to Improve Specific Skills? Produce Consistently

Updated: Oct 15, 2021


Imperial 3 200 typewriter with a blank page fed through on top of a wooden table, there's an open notebook and pen to the right

Up until a few months ago I never thought of myself as a good writer. In fact, for a while I thought I was a terrible one. My grammar was atrocious, I used too many run-on sentences, and my vocabulary was basic. In college I did fine but it was focused on academic papers rather than content drive writing, like you see in blog posts, scripts for videos and podcasts. A few months ago I was fed up with my lack of confidence in my writing ability and decided I was going to improve it.

My solution? I created a blog, I knew that writing on a consistent schedule was the best way to improve my writing and to keep me accountable I committed to posting a blog article every week on my website. It's been enjoyable thinking of new topics to share with other, it's given me room to be creative.


Overall, I am proud of most of my articles, and I've been consistently producing mostly quality content. But there have been a few articles that I haven't particularly liked. I doubted myself, I thought, "wow, maybe I haven't actually improved and I'm the same terrible writer I started out as". I was quite hard on myself for a while.


But then I realized: It's not possible to produce "perfect" work every time.


Some articles are going to be a hit and miss, others are going to (hopefully) blow it out of the park. But you don't know which ones are going to do that.


In Seth Godin's interview on November 2020 with Marie Forleo on her Podcast Marie TV, How to Show up & Do the Work (Even When You Don't Feel Like It), he talks about showing up and doing the work even if you don't feel like it. Because "creativity is an action, not a feeling". He says "the best way to do the work we want to do is to have a practice and to show up and do the work regardless of how the world around us and, and we are feeling". And he even brings up this idea with writing:


In fact, if you write, you’re a writer and if you wait for perfect, you’re hiding. One more way to stay off the hook. On the other hand, if you say, I have a practice on the regular and you can measure it any way you want, you’re taking the negotiation away. You’re lightening the cognitive load. So tomorrow, there’s going to be a blog post on my blog. Not because it’s the best one I ever wrote, but because it’s tomorrow.

And this idea of posting on a consistent schedule has not only helped with my writing skills but my confidence as well. As Seth Godin put it, I post every Friday not because it's the best one I ever wrote, but because it's Friday. And while a lot of these articles might be "okay" or some of them might not even be my best work, there will be some great articles produced because of this weekly habit.

I felt reassured because if a large creator like Seth Godin, admits he has days where he feels his writing is mediocre then I shouldn't hold myself to impossible standards of perfection. I post regardless of how I feel about my article, I'm trying to push past the barriers of endless perfectionism and constant self-doubt. This practice has not only improved my writing ability but my confidence about my skills, each time I post my fear of judgement decreases a little bit.

Then it occurred to me that I shouldn't limit this idea of producing content weekly to my blog.

As you may know I want to become a data analyst. And I figure the best way for me tot do his is to practice specific skills data analyst use by working on similar projects they do. With consistent practice I hope to gain confidence in my abilities and build upon my knowledge. Below are the specific skills I would like to improve on:

  • SQL

  • Tableau

  • R

  • Python

My Current Plan:

After I finish up with the capstone project for the Google Data Analytics Course , I will be working on various types of projects that focuses on the skills listed above. I'm not going to wait to publish my "perfect" project, there isn't one. The basic outline for these projects will be:

  1. looking at a data set to answer a business question then;

  2. clean, process, and analyze the data using SQL, R, or Python;

  3. while also documenting my process using R Markdown; and

  4. finally sharing key findings and business suggestions using Tableau or creating a report.

I'll be posting these projects on a consistent schedule (maybe once a month, that might be too ambitious, so this is still to be determined) on my portfolio page with an accompanying article on my blog about what I've learned. This commitment to a monthly publishing schedule (at least until I get a data analytics job), will force me to "show up and do the work". I won't skip out on honing my skills because I don't feel like it. I'm excited to see how much I grow in my skillset.

For my fellow aspiring data analysts if you need project ideas or general career advice I suggest following Alex the Analyst over on his Youtube Channel and How to Get An Analytics Job.


We shouldn't expect all of our work to be perfect, especially when we are just starting out. If we are constantly striving for perfect we are setting ourselves for disappointment.


Takeaway:

If you want to become a writer, write. If you want to become a programmer then program. If there's a type of work you want to do then figure out the skills you need. Then commit to producing consistent work (however that may look) and forget about perfection. It's worked for me and it might for you too.


Don't focus on being perfect when you're starting out, focus on being consistent.

See you next week!

 

If you would like to stay updated with my projects or blog articles consider subscribing to my newsletter. And if you're a data analyst and have any project ideas or data sets I should be looking at please let me know by emailing me at kelly@kellyjadams.com. Or connect with me over on LinkedIn.


1 Comment


janetinrdg
janetinrdg
Sep 04, 2021

Love your writing!

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