Thursday, June 23, 2011

Here we go!

For the last few years I've been writing fiction. Short to long, silly to serious, I've been dabbling and sweating and experimenting, all with the goal of getting published.

I've had some small successes and a metric poop-ton of rejections. Failure is fantastic, because it means that I've learned from it, and now you can too! The secret to success is to take some lumps. Recently I started showing my bruises at outreach talks and writing conferences, and now I'm gonna throw them onto this blog. Yippee!

The View from Google

Since my day job is at Google, and since I come at the writing "career" with an entrepreneurial slant, I'm always gathering: new software products, new opportunities, new ideas, new data. Now I'll pop them up here for you to check out, too. I promise to tell you everything I know... so long as you're willing to do the same. (Seriously! If you're a writer who'd like to share the nitty-gritty, anonymously or otherwise, drop me a line... scott<zat>

There are a couple of best practices that I've learned at Google that I intend to follow here:

  1. Whenever possible, get the numbers
  2. Set measurable goals and grade yourself

That's right, I'm going to give you actual data. As a seeker of the fabled "truths" about the writing and publishing worlds, I've been a little frustrated with how hard it is to come by hard numbers about things that really matter to starting writers, like...
  • What are my chances of success?
  • How many drafts do other writers spin out before they're "done?"
  • How much money will I make?
  • etc.
So my first goal with this blog is to be "open kimono" and tell you my numbers, and to put these in context against reasonable goals. Your mileage can and will vary, but at least you'll know it varies.

Be a Tool Using Monkey

I also want to point other writers at tools. Tools elevate us over the animal kingdom, and great tools elevate us over the competition. They make us mighty!

Google has a huge pile of free software, for example, that's really remarkable and worth checking out. Stick with me and I'll show you how to get started with it, product by product. I'll also tell you what results to expect, based off of my real-world attempts at leveraging this stuff for myself.

Time for the Lab Coats!

So in the spirit of science, let the latest experiment (Blogger!) begin. As soon as I hit this "publish post" button, I'll be measuring. Just by reading this you're contributing valuable data to the wannabe writer community, so thanks! I hope you'll keep visiting, and I really hope you'll keep writing.



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