People keep asking me how to get started writing, ebook formatting, and copyediting, so I thought I’d do a series. I’m not actually sure how I got started, so I hope you’ll contribute with your advice, as well.
A programming friend of mine says most of the coders he meets, more than those with computer degrees, are either ex-teachers or graduates of the seminary.
I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Probably the number one skill one needs to start anything is the ability to self-educate. Teachers learn how to teach, and so they know how to teach themselves, and in seminary school, students learn how to question and investigate everything they do and don’t know.
Penelope Trunk, an eccentric blogger who’s made a career of predicting and understanding how each generation works in and impacts the workforce, says that homeschooled kids will rule the world when Gen Z hits the workplace.
Because they know how to teach themselves. They’ll be able to figure out which skill they need to learn next for their career, and then they’ll be able to direct their own education.
Question what you think you know: Better yet, pretend you know nothing. This is probably the most dangerous area to skip, and yet the area people skip the most. Most of the time when people start a sentence with “I remember learning in college,” they are wrong. Often they are correct in the information, but incorrect in the application, if that makes sense.
Search for what you don’t know: The more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. It’s why I haven’t finished my Kindle Formatting series. It was easy to start when I was a beginner, but now I’ve learned too much. I thought I could explain it all in ten or so posts, but once I got through about five, I realized that to do it thoroughly, I’d need two hundred or so posts.
Keep leveling up: I constantly ask myself what I can learn next. The invisible things you think you don’t really need to know are the things that will take you from competence to excellence.
Get an edge by linking across disciplines: When I was a piano teacher, I studied the Suzuki teaching method even though I thought it wasn’t completely right for piano. (It is for other instruments.) But no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Investigate everything.
I also aggressively studied child psychology, self-help psychology, leadership books, business books, parenting books, homeschooling books, teaching philosophy books, sports coaching books, marketing, peak performance science, language learning, and motivation science.
Know everything in your field, and then link outside of it.
How do you get started when teaching yourself something?