I was 10 years old when I wrote my first book. It was a “choose your own adventure” where the hero encounters a pack of gorillas and a crocodile, and weird stuff ensues. My brother was my co-author and we wrote it in my Hello Kitty diary, keeping our precious words under lock and key because we knew this story was going to be our ticket to show business.
The book went off the rails quickly. We’d put our hero in danger, and then for some reason we kept giving our hero the option to “do nothing.” I’m not really sure why we did this. But it made for an oddly existential, what-is-the-meaning-of-life adventure rather than an action-packed story. We seriously had full pages where the characters would devolve into questioning their purpose and obsessing over their every action. It was weird. Especially considering that most of our characters were animals.
My brother and I soon abandoned the project, but I think back on it sometimes, and realize that what we really needed was an editor. A hero battling a pack of animals is a golden idea, but a philosophical crocodile going through some kind of mid-life crisis…actually, now that I’m writing that, I still think that is a good idea…
SEE? THIS IS WHY YOU NEED AN EDITOR
Editors help writers focus on their stories, eliminate clutter, and let their unique voice shine through. And as Editor-in-chief of Trailhead, I get to help writers do their best work.
If you haven’t discovered it yet, Trailhead is the fun way to learn Salesforce. It’s online, gamified, self-guided learning, designed to help people build their Salesforce careers and skill up. And it’s free.
I’m lucky because I work with the best tech writers in the business. These writers know how to take complex technical concepts and make them simple. They use storytelling, inventing characters like “Rob Burgle”, the sneaky salesperson who steals his company’s leads when he quits (see the Event Monitoring module). They revel in the unexpected, like explaining our APIs in the context of pirates. And they take thoughtful risks, like embedding easter eggs in code snippets, where bears chase down our executive team.
In my role, I get a lot of questions about Trailhead. People are curious about how we do what we do, and they always want to know more about the people writing our content. That’s why I’m delighted to launch this blog series featuring stories from the writers and visual designers of Trailhead.
Over the next few weeks, Trailhead content creators will post on The Trailblazer publication on medium, sharing how they use storytelling, create characters, make good images, write for developers, and more.
You’ll get to hear from some of my favorite all-time writers and content creators, including Michael Alderete, Justine Heritage, Gavin Austin, Mersedeh Jorjani, Paul Dreyfus, Chalon Emmons, Fiona Moriarty, Michelle Sharron, and Spencer McCall.
Follow us on The Trailblazer publication to read the entire series and learn how you can make your content rad.
Interested in learning more?
Come to our session at Dreamforce and learn how to write the Trailhead way.
How to Write the Trailhead Way
Tuesday, October 4; 2:30-2:50pm PT
Moscone West, Admin Meadow Theater
Can’t make it in-person? The session won’t be streamed, but we’ll be posting the materials afterward on the Success Community in the Trailhead group.