Well, it has been over a year since my last insanely optimistic blog about the next year, but this year it is going to be (actually) different (not like the last time I said it would be different)
Usually, like pretty much everyone on earth, I overestimate just how much I can get done in the following twelve months by some impressive amount. Writing, speaking, blogging, exercising, etc etc. Not this year. I am specifically going the other direction, saying I am doing less. Specifically more writing and less of everything else, particularly things with oppressive deadlines that preclude personal activities like exercising, eating right, going to Disney World, seeing the kid and her kids, and perhaps most importantly, sleeping!
(Ironically it is 12:35 am as I write this. Yeah, I will start tomorrow…ish)
I am not giving up speaking entirely, as I do love the challenge and teaching people. As such, I do expect to put in sessions for Devlink, Atlanta, Richmond, Louisville, for sure, plus probably PASS. But my goal is to not do what I did last year, which was to put in a bunch of new sessions that get chosen which I then have to write (the fun part), and then practice to death until I am ready to present in front of 5-100 people (the not fun part) and then travel to the conference and speak (the less fun than writing but more fun than sitting at home wishing I was at the conference part.) Of course, I may just pop down to a conference or two and just attend and learn. That might be fun too.
The biggest thing I plan to write more steadily again. This blog should see more life, and I try to maintain a healthy stream of articles on my What Counts for a DBA Simple-Talk blog. The What Counts blog is fun because I have to really stretch myself to fill in a topic in a way that is both interesting and informative. Sometimes it works great, and sometimes the editor smacks me in the mouth and makes me start again. In contrast, this blog is great because I do what I want with no editor but myself, though I am annoying to write for at times. With an editor, I can trust someone has looked over the blog that isn't making a bunch of in jokes to himself.
Along the lines of writing, another challenge I love is technical editing. A great way to sharpen your knowledge of a subject is to tech edit a book/article/presentation. It is very much like writing a book, without the need for so much creativity. Just like when you write you have to fill in the blanks that you don't know/haven't done before, you have to do the same in tech editing. Everything you don't know, you need to look up and validate with other authorities, leading you to learn more and more. And even when you do know everything in the material, for those hours you spend, you take on a role that is incredibly important to the author. Make sure that the material is correct, and help fill in the blanks. I know I have learned a lot from my tech editors over the year, because some pre-conceived notions you have are possibly wrong.
Writing is what I really like to do, because it can be done at my pace. I have 20+ ideas in my OneNote list just to the right of where I am writing, and I just have to fill in the blanks (notably the area between the title and the end of the blog, but that is just work. I have another 50 ideas for the What Counts blog, and possibly a book idea that I will be working on this year.
I am definitely getting ready to wind back up the Why We Write series, something I paused around PASS time last year before I had family and health stuff going on that precluded me keeping on. I got 9 entries in last year, (plus one where I interviewed myself), and I would like to get more this year.
Lastly, I do intend to get back to my roots in the SQL Server Forums, something I keep promising I will do and keep getting drug away from.. I really miss the interactive nature of the process of solving immediate problems. Yet, the biggest issue there is that my interest lies in problem prevention by proper design, and it is very hard to do. Even in my day job, too often the situation dictates that things are done subpar for time constraints, or code constraints, or tool constraints (ironically, often this leads to a lack of constraints and a surplus of data issues :))