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How Do You Learn?

Typically one of the first questions that I ask people during an interview for our designer position at thoughtbot is how do they learn. It reveals to me what they know about themselves and how they will approach growing as a Designer at thoughtbot.

I’ve repeatedly had a goal to become a better writer. To be able to communicate my thoughts, ideas, and concerns in a clear and constructive way. I’ve tried and failed many times for a handful of reasons. The biggest is because I wasn’t following how I learn each and every time.

I, like many designers, learn through doing. But more than that I learn from the feedback and iteration after that work. For the longest time, I would write and edit myself but not get a critique on what I was doing right and what I could do better. There was no loop to iterate on. I was practicing, but I didn’t have any intent behind it. With design, I was lucky for the most part to be surrounded by designers that were happy to give their thoughts. I also have an excellent internal critique that helped me refine my skillset. I don’t have the same things with writing. I’m embarrassed by my writing most of the time and am afraid of facing the feedback that I would get. When I have gotten feedback on blog posts that I’ve written for thoughtbot or having others look over my writing, I don’t ask why they are suggesting changes I just accept them and move on because of that embarrassment.

Over the next few months, I’m going to be working with someone to get that feedback. I’ll be writing from prompts for students on the New York Times and working with them to understand what changes should be made and more importantly why they should be made. I’ll be posting the results here from time to time as a way to document my progress. I’m looking forward to growing along the way.