This is going to be the last time I say it (well, at least on my blog). Last year sucked. Partly due to Covid as my wife was hit hard and still isn’t right after a year… honestly when I had it I was tired a little… not that that changed my opinion on what we needed to do to protect each other. No, or me it was more about the surgical complications that hit me hard. Mentally and physically I am still extra tired a year later (though nothing compared to my wife!) and it has really hit me in my ability to work. Less so for my day job, but more on my second jobs writing and hobby jobs talking about theme parks. Still, I count myself as blessed to have made it through to today, and tomorrow I will feel the same way.
It is, however, time to get back to something closer to full steam. This last year I worked at a couple of conferences and did a little bit of content creation. I tried to blog some, but blogging (really any writing) takes a weird sort of energy that I just haven’t had. I considered quitting writing, but I have been blogging for over 15 years and I have to admit it is in my blood. Yet, this past year, sitting down to write a blog and completing the either thought has been tough. I had to put off starting a book on graph technology in SQL Server last year as well, and I am scheduled to start on that in the next month too.
The same energy thing goes for presenting at a conference, even virtually. While I still have a lot of insecurity about my speaking abilities after 20+ years doing it, I logically know that I am better than I sometimes think I am. However, beyond my insecurities surrounding speaking, one of my biggest problems with presenting has always been time limits. Fitting the entire topics I want to talk about into 50 minutes is hard (and really dumb to attempt!) Too often when you are speaking, you realize that you are not going to finish, sometimes due to your audience being interactive and other times because you get chatty along the way. I always hate it when I feel like I short-changed the person in my session, both on the amount of stuff I could teach and when I can’t finish.
Over the past few years, I have been doing a vlog for my Disney and Dollywood content on and off with my wife (see first paragraph for why on and off ;)), and I really liked it. Other than the editing process it is pretty simple to record a presentation. Talking to the camera is a lot like doing presentations for a conference, but… without the time constraints or audience to analyze for how they are enjoying the session. I just edit out the times when I am forget what I am talking about, or have errors on my slides. Having the ability to stop, fix, and even scrap the entire chat session is really liberating.
I had at one time considered redoing all my old presentations and just go for 5 hours instead of 1 if the topic demanded it. The problem there is figuring out 3 hours in that it would have been better if this topic came before that topic… I want something that is reasonably easy to make, and reasonably easy to digest. And then you have to edit that 5 hours which takes 5 hours.. and then find people who will sit and watch for 5 hours.
So I realized, why not break down all the presentations I have made into 1 sub topic at a time? Then I could pick topics that I could cover in about 5 minute videos and just enjoy it. Only one problem arose as I started recording … time constraints again. My idea of keeping videos around 5 minutes ended up not being enough for topics that seemed small enough when I started. The times on the first 13 videos range from just under 8 minutes to 25 minutes (both normalization chats weigh in the heaviest, naturally). Is that too long? Maybe? I covet your feedback if you have any..
I hope you take some time and check out my channel, and consider subscribing. I would like to name it something better than: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRQxBhaV7x0tFJVbhXtywwg and you need 100 subscribers, which I have not hit yet 🙂
My next challenge? Doing some live shows!