2015 milestones, 2016 ambitions

2015This time last year I was just scheming. Now I’m rolling. Thanks to all of you, I’m on my way to something new. Here’s a recap of what happened in 2015 and what I expect in 2016.

2015 milestones

March 2: Escape. I leave Forrester Research after 19 years 10 months. I’ve reveal my scheme to create “Writing Without Bullshit” to two people that I trust. Both stare at me as if I’m delusional.

March 27: Launch. My WordPress blog Without Bullshit goes live. I incorporate in Massachusetts. On a whim, I decide to see if I can publish a substantive post every weekday. March posts average 700 views per day, but that drops off to 300 in April. I must be nuts.

May 4: Viral Surge. After some prodding from Jeremiah Owyang, I publish “10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them.” It ramps up to 50,000 views in a few days, fueled by Facebook sharing. I have a talk with my Web host, and we develop a plan to deal with the surge. The post goes on to accumulate 600,000 views. I may not be deluded after all.

September 8: Inbound15. I bike to HubSpot’s Inbound Conference and meet face to face with old friends like Laura Fitton (who invited me), Mitch Joel, Frank Eliason, Klaus Holzapfel, Ann Handley, and Charlene Li. Everybody seems to know what I’ve been doing — thanks, Facebook. They’re all encouraging.

October 7: Proposal/book deal. My agent sends book proposals for Writing Without Bullshit to 19 publishers, capping many weeks of work. We get multiple offers, and I meet with publishers in New York and by phone. On October 26, I accept an offer from Hollis Heimbouch at HarperBusiness, the same woman who was supervising editor at Harvard Business Press when they bought my first book Groundswell. Now I just have to write it. This, I know I can do.

October 22: Webinar. My Webinar with WriterAccess attracts more than 1,000 people, a record for them. People like to hear me being a smartass with PowerPoint slides.

November 28: Requiem for a nerd. My old and closest friend Josh Friedman dies. He was 57, just like me. My post about him does us all a lot of good — his friends and family at the funeral are grateful for what I wrote, and many other people who never know him get a chance to see what a sweet guy and good friend he was.

December 9: Training Day. Louis Biggie of Johns Hopkins has invited me to give an all-day course on clear writing to his training department. This is a big deal because it means I have to develop a day’s worth of new material, which is a lot. I survive a full day in front a live audience of actual writers. They mostly like it, but gently help me to see that I should talk a little less.

December 31: A good year. I end the year with 300 blog posts, 970,000 views, 1,000 blog comments, 2,000 blog subscribers, and a book mostly written. After working on so many books over the years, I can tell when it’s going well. This is going to be a fun, useful, and popular book, and I am enjoying writing it. You’re going to like it.

2016 Ambitions

If 2015 was about building up the me and new content, 2016 is about getting it out there. Here’s what I’ve got planned.

February 1: Complete manuscript. I send a draft to my publisher for review. If you hear “hmm” and some giggling in lower Manhattan, that’s a good sign.

February 15: Consulting and training offerings go live. I’ll become available to train your people in Writing Without Bullshit. This is the beginning of my secret plan to rid the world of bullshit, one department at a time. More details coming.

May 19: Keynote. My first speech and public workshop on Writing Without Bullshit at the Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas, the first of what I hope will be many speeches. I get to marry my long-term goals to be a respected writer and standup comedian.

September: Publication. My publisher and I have timed this so that I can use the election to promote it. As Ted Cruz faces off against Hillary Clinton, I expect to have a lot to say. (If it’s Trump vs. Sanders, even better, from a book promotion perspective.) And yes, I am available to do the Daily Show.

The key to this success is to connect you, my readers, with content you like and want to share. That means I’ll be creating lots of useful goodies, reaching out people who like them, and becoming very visible. I look forward to exciting a bunch of you, and pissing off a few of you, in the new year.

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  1. Wow, what refreshing “here’s what I just did” post, Josh, in the midst of all the “here’s what I’m gonna do” posts on New Year’s Day today. Truly inspiring stuff from a “not a Millennial,” which is part of your enduring charm!

  2. It’s very nice of you to call my bragging “refreshing.”

    I had a good year. If I’m not going to bullshit, I’ll talk about it.

    As for next year, I have many plans, but who know what will happen.


  3. “As Ted Cruz faces off against Hillary Clinton, I expect to have a lot to say. (If it’s Trump vs. Sanders, even better, from a book promotion perspective.)” – Is this your way of predicting the outcome of the Republican Primary, or at least how you see the field narrowing? What happened to Rubio? Is he the odd man out with Cruz or Trump the more likely winners — with the Republican Voters being the losers (no editorial or political preference intended or implied).

  4. I want to say well done (and mean it) but a small part of me says I hate you. I don’t actually hate you, I’m just jealous of all the great things you’ve done and all the success you’ve had.
    You took a risk and it seems to be paying off. Well done you.
    I’d also like to say that as an Australian the political posts leave me cold. Half the time I don’t know who or what you are talking about and the rest of the time, I don’t care. As for the writing advice – awesome. Keep it coming. I enjoy reading your blog.

    1. I don’t normally post about just my accomplishments but once a year I figure it’s ok.

      I hope it will inspire people to take their own risks and succeed. I waited a long time . . . probably too long.

      And I’m jealous of you for being able to ignore American politics — we can’t afford to!