So, I have completely given up on my new year starting on Jan 1 where blogging/writing/community is concerned. I love the holidays WAY too much, and I love football (of the American variety with the oblong ball, of course) WAY too much, and so, that is why this year I waited until after the Super Bowl to get to this point (this was supposed to be posted last week, but #1 on the list got in the way!).
Last year, I promised to do some things in my resolutions, and because I failed on one (1. get the book finished quickly…it took forever due to unforeseen circumstances), and overly succeeded (time wise) on another (4. I did two pre-cons last year), and both of these took a lot out of me! This year, no book riding my back (yet), but I do have several projects on the way that I will announce later in a more grand way (very exciting stuff to me for sure).
This year, my goal is to get my community involvement right! I love the community, but sometimes I feel like it is crushing me. I don't want to be one of those people who quit the community, because I do love it and with my daughter grown up now, I have a lot of time to work on it. I enjoy the community so much, and I consider the PASS Summit part of my holiday season, and the people at the Summit a bit like family. So my goals for the year are to keep involved, but to make sure it is reasonable. So I present my 10 things goals for this next year.
- Get healthy. Since I started this blog entry, I had a very minor (yet extremely painful) health issue that was a wake up call (hint, minimally I have to drink a lot more water!) I have spend far too much time writing and speaking (and worrying about writing and speaking) and not enough time working on what matters (and sleeping, need more sleeping too!) I don't want to miss these two growing up and if I have to drop out of the community to make that happen, I will.
- Do stuff that I want to do, the way I want to do it, (but better). While I have always wanted to be an entertaining and educational speaker (Tom LaRock and Karen Lopez are great examples of this kind of presenting,) my actual presenting style is far different…more straightforward teaching, heavily scripted and heavily practiced. When I get it right, it works, but I constantly try to do far too much in the time allotted, and my nerves can get the better of me when I go off script. (I used to say "as a speaker, I am a good writer," and this is why. As a writer, I can edit myself multiple times!)
- Get in a writing rhythm. Last year, I finally got my What Counts for a DBA series flowing, and this year I am adding a series on SQL Server metadata to the mix to my Simple-Talk blog. I will also try to put up a few blogs about other SQL Server/Design/Professional Development stuff here on SQLBLog too. All of this is leading up to more books in the future…so getting back into a rhythm and trying out new material is very important to the process of writing books for me.
- Stay working in the MSDN forums. I have recently gotten back and active in the Database Design Forum and I plan to keep up answering at least all of the questions I can in that forum and perhaps others.
- Always put in Database Design sessions when I submit to speak. It is what I really love to talk about, and even the SQL Server metadata series is based somewhat on the idea of being able to figure out a design that has been implemented.
- Get a good development session written/practiced. Last year I wrote a session on sequences that I think was pretty good (worst feedback was that I tried to do way too much!) but really didn't resonate with anyone yet. I also did a trigger session at PASS that I have heard was good content, but needs some organization. I am reworking that one into a session I am going to call "How to Write a DML Trigger" (in slight homage to the series of Goofy shorts where you are taught how to do something, but with less dog carnage), that will start at the beginning and work to the existence of a trigger that does some realistic task.
- Speak online more. Speaking online is actually quite comforting for some reason to me. I don't like not being able to get crowd feedback, but at the same time, not expecting feedback keeps that one frown (or two or twenty) from getting in my head and keeps me on my practiced script. I am going to finally start hosting my own practice sessions sometime this year as well. So before I debut a session, I am going to do an online practice session; and before a big conference (SQL PASS or Devlink are my two typical examples) I am going to review the material on my own livemeeting connection with an hour or two warning via twitter.
- Actually blog about devices. Yeah, I love devices and I am contemplating my first tablet purchase this year. I really need to talk about them more than just in tweets, as devices/gadgets are what allow me to have the lifestyle I have as a highly mobile telecommuter.
- Volunteer with PASS in some capacity. I feel like I need to do more for the community than I have been, as such, I am going to volunteer for one or two committees. Last year I volunteered for the selection committee, and was the #1 vote getter who lost :). I may try again, and I have volunteered for another committee too. If I don't get in either one, so be it. I do have plenty to do, but I want to get a bit more involved, perhaps to some day run for the board again, once I feel like I am ready.
- Something I am not yet ready to announce. (and if you are my employer, I am not leaving you, relax :)) But it is something exciting to me, and hopefully you too.
Most of all, on average, have fun doing what I am doing. This is my hobby, and not currently my career. If I stopped blogging/writing/speaking my life would not change tremendously except that my Lego collection wouldn't stare at me longingly as I walk to my writing chair. At the same time, I would truly miss sitting here at my TableMate II destroying the keyboard on yet another laptop, and even more I would miss the people and experience of all of the conferences I get to attend.
I won't lie, often this keyboard is a drag to look at, but just as often it is a true joy. As long as I feel like the focus of Pete Townshend's Guitar and Pen:
"When you take up a pencil and sharpen it up
When you're kicking the fence and still nothing will budge
When the words are immobile until you sit down
Never feel they're worth keeping, they're not easily found
Then you know in some strange, unexplainable way
You must really have something
Jumping, thumping, fighting, hiding away
Important to say"
I am going to keep writing and speaking… I really just have to.