Economics to Crypto & Everything in Between: Lessons from My Writing Journey

I love asking questions.

As a journalist, it is a prerequisite. You are either getting information out of people or striking an intelligent conversation. I’ve found the same to be true when writing content in marketing. You ask a client about their business, goals, target audience, etc, to make sure your content strategy aligns.

One element where both areas diverge is purpose.

You do not write news, interviews, or op-eds with the goal of selling. You write and let the readers perceive it in whatever way they like. There is no bias; only an attempt to hook the readers on a quality read — which often translates into longer sentences and fancy words.

When writing content and copy, you either educate, entertain or convince in an attempt to gain and retain buyers. Writers make use of clear market insights and research. You keep the content simple and easy-digest. The content is tailored to draw in buyers and take them on a journey.

I grew up aspiring to captivate readers with my words. 8th grade Sarah knew nothing about the real world or what it means to be a writer. I read books like “The Little Women” and looked up to characters like Jo. I used to write essays and short stories. I knew I had a voice and I would like it to be heard. I was a massive introvert so, striking up a conversation or continuing one required real effort.

Writing seemed like only the way.

I knew I wanted to be a journalist but I also had an interest in Economics. If any South Asian is reading this, you know which way this went. Of course, I was convinced by my peers to choose numbers over words. Now, I won’t say I hated Econ but I definitely had no clue what career path to choose after graduating. I did the most cliche thing and went for my post-grad.

I was interested in research. My post-grad helped me dig further in that direction. It was a real pain. Numbers make my head spin but I love quantifying outcomes (not always the best approach). I completed my post-grad in Applied Economics. I am proud of it. It wasn’t a waste altogether. I attribute my analytical skills to my education and rightfully so.

I enjoyed research but was drained by the end of my thesis. I did well academically as an economics student but my heart was not in it. I had a hard look at where I stand.

I was passionate about writing.

Finally, I landed a role at an entertainment publication. It was a start-up but a perfect beginning of my journalism career. I worked full-time as an entertainment journalist for the following two years.

Then, COVID happened. The publication decided to shut down its website. I kept exploring and joined two publications as a paid contributor. I am still on their roster.

During this time, I was freelancing as a content writer as well. I liked the extra cash and it gave me a chance to pursue my passion for writing. I never thought of converting this into a full-time gig until late 2020. I got back into the freelancing game with a fresh perspective.

Among the first few clients was Matthew Weeks (check out his posts if you are a software engineer). He runs a podcast “Work in Programming”. I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration. He knew I had no background in tech but kept working with me. Working with him made me realize that I have the potential to write on tech. I haven’t looked back.

So, a big shout out to him!

He also had nice things to say about me (cue shameless self-promo 😜)

I also decided to transition back into marketing. I didn’t land a role as a technical writer. Instead, I found a home at a digital agency where I was asked to write for an automotive client. I had no clue gears are also called transmission — can you imagine! 😮

But you know what, I had grit.

Considering the employment situation during 2020, I went ahead and took it. I kept pursuing my passion for technical writing on the side (it was slow but I kept at it).

Meanwhile, I learned, read blogs, had discussions with my team, and asked my manager a truckload of questions about cars. Three months in, I was more confident about my write-ups. 10 months in, I was reviewing and editing my team’s work.

I believe you can learn new skills and gain knowledge if you put in the effort. This experience was certainly a testament to my belief.

One year and three months in, I entered an unchartered territory yet again. Enter year 2022, I started my journey as a blockchain and crypto writer 🎊

Many share inspiring stories about how they got started in the space. I wouldn’t call my story inspiring but I did manifest this change for well over 8–9 months. Then, a promising opportunity came knocking.

Now, 6 months in, I am still learning but feeling more confident by the day. I feel I have an unfair advantage here being an economist and all 😉

I am also consistently writing. I recommend anyone wanting to start in the space to document their learnings. Share in public if you like otherwise do it as a learning exercise. Trust me, it helps retain knowledge.

I am picking fascinating stuff but my imposter syndrome often gets the best of me. I am going to try and start sharing my learnings here. After all, I am writing and getting published in the space.

Bitcoin has been around since 2009, but the space as a whole is still in its infancy. Blockchain and crypto have caught mainstream attention in the past two years. It has the potential to disrupt several sectors. We are just getting started.

The community in crypto is huge. It can be a bit awkward to put yourself out there. But try to engage. I am grateful for the people I have met in the crypto and blockchain community. I hope to meet some more gems soon. As a newbie, finding a starting point is tough. This is where the people come in. They are usually really supportive and happy to see your interest.

Join in the conversation, consume the resources they recommend, and write about it.

I am going to leave you with the biggest takeaway from my writing journey up until now; if you want to achieve something, it doesn’t matter whether you start big or small — start somewhere!

Here is to humble beginnings.

If you made it this far, thank you. Let me re-introduce myself.

Hello, I am Sarah. I have a degree in applied economics and professional background in content writing and journalism. During the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege to learn, write, train, lead and manage content teams. I crave effective communication, constructive feedback, and a positive working environment. When I am not working, I like to travel, write poetry and content around personal development and wellness.

Welcome to my little corner.

Introduce yourself. :)

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Sarah Shaukat

Sarah Shaukat

17 Followers

An economist, journalist & writer. I focus on tech, blockchain, crypto & healthcare. I love giving writing tips and narrate stories from my everyday life.