The short answer is that's where my heart has been. I write because I feel compelled to write. I don't write to put my name in lights, to secure that next gig, or to blow my horn. I write because I can't see myself not writing. But that's not the complete answer because I've not explained why my heart has been about writing on non-technical matters. The longer answer is community.
Professional Association for SQL Server
One of the things I realized leading up to the PASS Summit is that while I've been a participant in the community, I feel like I can do more in helping the community grow. Unfortunately, due to life circumstances I wasn't able to make the Summit, but I had a lot of time to reflect on how encouraged I am whenever I see someone come to the forefront and do something really neat. I think about the 24 hours of PASS, for instance, and the folks who provided some great sessions for the rest of us. I think about Tom LaRock staying up and keeping a running commentary going. Stuff like this wouldn't be possible without contributions from folks like Rick Heiges.
But they can't do it alone. In the aftermath of some great discussion over the nominees for the Board of Directors, it became very apparent that quite a few of the volunteers of PASS put in a ton of effort. They are shouldering the load for this aspect of the community and they can certainly use some help from the rest of us. So I want to help the community grow. I want to encourage new faces to get involved. I benefit. They benefit. We all benefit.
Drawing Inspiration from Others
Brent Ozar is a very knowledgable guy. Not just about SQL Server, SANs, and virtualization, either. He blogs a lot about career development, setting goals, and self improvement. One of the main reasons I frequent and refer to his blog posts so much is that there is a lot of great advice and wisdom written in. It shows that he's not just a tech junkie, but that he wants to grow the community. And growing the community is more than just about data types and best practices. He's not the only one, mind you. Spend a little time looking at the blogs of the community, participating on Twitter, and you'll see there's quite a few folks passionate about helping others.
I've Been Examining Myself
Part of this is due to conversations I've had over the last year and a half with Andy Warren, Mike Walsh, Jack Corbett, and Paul Nielsen. Some where in person, some were over the phone, and some were via email/twitter. But basically they boiled down to where do I see myself, what will the cost be, is it worth it, and what are the alternatives. Paul reaching out was especially humbling. He saw something I had said on Twitter and asked to talk on the phone, to share similar experiences. Here was a guy in the community of whom I had a great deal of respect for, who I didn't know personally, taking the time to listen, encourage, and share some wisdom. And it wasn't about SQL Server, either. That example really demonstrated that if someone as busy as Paul can make the time for guys like me, then I can make the time for others, too.
Going Beyond the Technology
After real life intruded on me and my wife, it was amazing how many folks stepped up and provided support, compassion, and sympathy. I've never been afraid to respectfully share my faith, and it was very humbling to know that some of the folks I really respect took time to let me know through various means that they were praying for my family. While I could mention a lot of folks, I'll mention two specifically who checked in on me constantly in the weeks following: Steve Jones and Andy Leonard. There is a reason they are community leaders. They care about people.