As I was writing first paragraphs on a new design doc today, I realized that I used to suffer really badly from the blank page problem, the one where you agonize over a few first words or sentences of a new text for way longer than it's worth. And these rays I rarely experience it anymore - at work at least.

I think this comes down to two simple things:

  • We have document templates for most stuff we write: designs, proposals, incident comms, etc. The template is not a blank page, it has a list of things you should consider writing, you don't need to spend mental effort figuring out your own structure every time.
  • You are allowed to write the doc in any order: I often start with the design itself and come back to background/motivation parts later. You are also allowed to edit the template: it's just a prompt, not a law.

I think I learned with a surprise: a good, catchy title is really important for a design doc or proposal success. Even though it doesn't necessarily improve its chances of getting approved in the short-term, it makes it easy to remember, find and reference in future. Which means your ideas may have (hopefully positive) impact beyond your own projects.