I’ve been slacking. I know.
I have not published any new pages to the Execution Plan Reference since September. The last release of new content for the Execution Plan Video Training is even longer back, that was in May. No other blog posts, except from a few promotional posts. And until last Monday, nothing added to my YouTube channel either.
Okay, I did still speak at various conferences. I answered the odd question at the #sqlhelp Twitter channel. I think I responded to all mails I received (but if not … my apologies and feel free to re-send!).
So you may have wondered …
Why has my productivity dropped this much? Why didn’t I publish more stuff in the last months?
And the answer is simple. I felt a bit worn out, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I used to.
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of time it takes to do some of the things we do. Yes, we. I’m not just talking about myself. There are dozens of community heroes who keep giving and giving to the SQL Server community. Most of them far more than I have ever done. And I do want you, my reader, to be aware that each and every one of them likely puts in more time than you might imagine. And in most cases, that’s unpaid spare time. Helping the community is not our job!
Whether you are reading a blog or article, watching a recorded conference session, getting an answer on twitter, or in any other way receiving community help, be aware of the investment someone has made. A blog post that you read in five minutes might have taken an hour to write, or more, and that hour of writing may then even have been preceded by hours or even days of research. A one-hour conference session typically takes dozens to hundreds of hours of preparation. That short video you find on YouTube might have taken the presenter ten or more takes before they got it right, in addition to the time to prepare it, the time to edit the video, and so on.
I am not writing this to whine. I am not writing this to try and squeeze more gratitude out of the recipients of the help that so many people offer freely. I am writing this to help explain why I’ve been silent for so long.
Knowing how much time and effort it takes us to help people in the community, you may wonder why we even do it. And the answer is: because it’s fun!
“Fun?” you may wonder, “That’s your idea of fun?”
Yes. Yes it is. I know your idea of fun is different. That’s okay. We all have our weird hobbies and our strange secret delights. This is mine. For me, it is fun to write a good explanation of an execution plan operator and know that some people will get better at their jobs after reading it. For me, it is fun to see he lights go in the faces of a conference audience when I explain a difficult concept. (Or to imagine that happening when I present virtually and cannot actually see my audience).
But hobbies are not a constant. Fun is not a constant. Sometimes, things that normally give us joy start to get boring, repetitive. At such times, other things suddenly seem to become much more interesting and fun.
If knitting is your job, then you will knit every day. If knitting is your hobby, then if one day you feel you are not in the mood you’ll put the needles away and do something else. That same thing happened to me. I found no fun anymore in the things I used to enjoy. So I put them aside and picked up other hobbies.
Could I have forced myself to do this? Sure, I could have. But this is a hobby. Not a job. I don’t get paid enough for this to justify doing it when it doesn’t give me fun or satisfaction.
The reason I write this today is that I noticed that lately I have been finding more joy in doing these things. I’ve started to do some recording for YouTube. I have finally finished another video for the execution plan video training, and started work on the next one. No new blog posts yet, but I expect that that, too, will come.
Is this a temporary situation? Will I spike for a short time, then fall back again? Or will I soon be churning out stuff the same way and the same pace I did a year ago? Honestly, I do not know. Only the future will tell.
Sorry for the long absence. I know some of you have been waiting patiently, or impatiently, for more of my content. I won’t make any promises, but I will say that I have not forgotten you.
And also sorry for the personal and entirely non-technical rant. I will return to more technical content soon. I hope.