My early years

I grew up on a farm in Scotland. When I was ten years old I remember a friend of my Mum’s asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I thought about it for a minute and said I’d love to be a writer. I don’t know where this came from, it just came out.

Not sure I really knew what being a writer entailed, but something attracted me to it. I didn’t read too many books as a kid but the idea of being free making your living on your own, from wherever you wanted to be, sounded intriguing.

Changing continents and careers me 

As the years went by I wasn’t top of my class in English, and I still wasn’t reading. It wasn’t until I was an adult and moved from Scotland to Australia with my wife and two kids in 2010, that I started putting words on the page.

Up in Byron with Inty and Luna

The writing started with me emailing my Mum and two brothers in Scotland, telling them stories of our new life down under.

Then in 2014, I decided on a career change. I had run my own cleaning company in Scotland, then run a print business in Sydney. My next chapter was to become a User Experience . I completed a three-month boot camp and wangled my way into a job.

It was a strange new world. I was forty years old starting over. It was very liberating starting afresh. I felt anxious, excited and inspired. I saw a few colleagues write articles on Medium, so I decided to jump in.

I wrote a niche article about software we use in User Experience Design. It got bugger all responses/likes/claps.

I then wrote an article about minimalism. I enjoyed writing that one. Next I wanted to be in a publication, as I knew this is where I had a better chance of getting readers. I found a list of the top publications on Medium and at that time The Mission was at the top.

I did some digging and found Chad Grills was the main man at The Mission publication. I got in touch with him, on twitter I think it was. He casually messaged me back and said ‘why not, let’s give it a shot’ and he added me as writer. A big thank you to for Chad for helping me out and giving me a crack.

I published my minimalist article in The Mission, and everything changed. A few people started liking the article and a few left comments. Strangers were encouraging, it was great. I hadn’t shot the lights out, but it was enough to inspire me to keep going.

The start of my regular writing on Medium

Next I wrote an article about how I changed career into Design with no previous experience. I was super excited at this stage and wrote an article which was too bloody long, to be honest, but I didn’t give a shit.

I pinged it to a few folk to get there feedback. I asked Simon Pan, Michael Wong and a few others. I was persistent and they all got back to me. It was enough to make me think maybe I can do this.

Over the next twelve months, I wrote fifty articles on User Experience Design.

I researched and researched. I read lots of articles and books. I commented on loads of people articles and I interacted with writers and designers. I was learning ways to write blog-style articles. Headings, images, the layout of the page and how people read articles were all factored in. I pushed my articles through people on Twitter and LinkedIn.

All bar a few of my articles have been published with Nick Babich on his publication Nick is another person I need to say a huge thank you to as he’s been such a bloody joy to write for. He creates such value in his writing about design and has been like a mentor for me and such an inspiration.

Weird to say but I felt kind of re-born. I could research a topic, put my learnings together and just let it all out on the page. I wasn’t scared to be seen, and I just kept writing.

As of today, I have 11,400 followers on Medium. A humble brag I know, but in truth, I’m surprised that it’s got this much traction.

The end bit
In summary. I bloody love writing. I love how it’s opened up my world. I love how I can be honest. I love how I can learn something new, put it together and ping it out to the world. I love how I’ve met so many people who’ve encouraged me.

I love that I can write something that might give people a laugh. I love that people find value in stuff I’ve scraped together. I’m still learning, and I struggle to like what I write, but I love the process. I love it when my brain and fingers fly across the keyboard, and everything feels in sync.

I’ve never written anything on the Medium partner program before so I thought I’d give it a crack.

I’m buggered now after all that writing, dragging it through Grammarly, then messing around getting it right(ish).

Well done getting to the end. Cheers for reading.

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