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James Serra's Blog

James is a big data and data warehousing technology specialist at Microsoft. He is a thought leader in the use and application of Big Data technologies, including MPP solutions involving hybrid technologies of relational data, Hadoop, and private and public cloud. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 30 years of IT experience. James is a popular blogger ( and speaker, having presented at dozens of PASS events including the PASS Business Analytics conference and the PASS Summit. He is the author of the book “Reporting with Microsoft SQL Server 2012”. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

What to blog about?

As I mentioned in my first post, I thought it would be real difficult to think of things to blog about.  Turns out to be real easy.  It’s just a matter of always having a “blog mindset”.  In other words, when at work, anytime a problem comes along that you solve, think “hey, this is something I can blog about”.  When chatting with someone about a prior work experience, when using a day-to-day tool that makes you more efficient, when finding a cool feature, when remembering something you did to help your career…those are all things to blog about.

I usually have a notebook with me that I will use to write down a blog idea.  Or I will pull up Microsoft OneNote and jot it down.  If neither of those are available, I will type it into my Notes app on my iPhone (which is ALWAYS with me).  I’m now approaching a hundred blog topics.

I’m using WordPress for my blog, which is one awesome tool.  One cool feature is that you can save drafts of your posts, and once finished, you can schedule when to publish them.  So, I will create a draft of a new blog post when the mood hits me, and usually re-visit it a few times to edit it.  When completed, I will schedule it to be published.  I usually have 2-5 posts in the draft stage, and 2-5 scheduled to be published (publishing each one at least two days apart).  If I have a few free hours and feel creative, I will write a bunch of posts and schedule them to be published over the next few weeks.  Or if during my work day I solve a tricky problem, I will quickly create a draft post with some of the details while the problem is “fresh” in my mind, then go back later to clean and enhance the post.

Bottom line is to find what works best for you so you can keep your blog updated.  I see too many excellent bloggers who have not posted anything for months.  Maybe these ideas will prevent the same thing from happening to you.


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