My year in review...
Quite a few bloggers took the opportunity this year to do a recap when they hit their one year blogging anniversary. But since I don't hit mine until February 4th, I decided that December 31st will be it. So, here we go...
After a year's absence, I made it back to Lotusphere in January. I thought that this was going to be the year of the portal for me, but it didn't quite work out that way. I did learn some in that area, but it ended up being the year of networking. I made a ton of contacts at Lotusphere that led to a number of other cool things throughout the year.
My freelance writing "career" started taking off. I got a couple of articles published on e-Pro's website, I started an article series on Java with Joe Litton in Lotus Advisor magazine, and a couple of articles on blogging made it into DominoPower. What's nice is that I'm getting the writing bug, and I want to continue to push myself in this area. I have more articles in store for Lotus Advisor in our series, as well as a couple of articles due for print in e-Pro in the upcoming year. While I hope to pick up a few more assignments for those magazines, I'm also going to be writing some query letters to other publications outside our niche to see if I can break into other areas.
Duffbert's Random Musings (the blog you are now reading) came to life in February after Lotusphere. It started as a Blogspot template, but then I got off my "duff" and transferred over to a Domino template hosted by Connectria (Chris Miller's company). Much of what's happened in the way of personal networking can be directly attributed to this blog, and it has far surpassed my expectations. I thank you all for tolerating my random ramblings.
My *real* work life stabilized nicely when I became a full-time staff person with Marquam Group (formerly known as Boom Vang Consulting) in May. It was perfect timing, as my long-term contract with a client came to an end just about that time. It's nice to not have to worry about whether there will be enough work to get a decent paycheck each week. Conversely, now I worry about billing hours so as to keep the company profitable... :-) I also appreciate the support that MG has given me in my writing efforts.
And speaking of "efforts"... Joe Litton and I, on the advice of others, submitted an abstract to speak at Lotusphere 2004 on Java for the Domino Developer. It was accepted, and we're now "industry speakers"! This is one of those professional goals I set for myself, and it could open up a variety of other opportunities for speaking. As Rocky once said... If you get good at this, you can travel the world, experience other cultures, meet other people, and bore them!
Most of what happened this year would not have been possible had I not finally took steps to deal with my chronic low-level depression known as dysthymia. I just thought it was normal to feel that way, but I finally got to the point where I couldn't take it any longer without the possibility of going crazy. I saw my doctor, explained the problem, got an actual diagnosis (much to my surprise... I had never heard of dysthymia before), and started on some medication. If you've been reading my blog since May or so, you'll remember the sharing I've done along the way. Bottom line is... I'm enjoying life again, I am looking forward to new challenges without fearing them, and I've accomplished much more this last year than I thought possible.
Books, books, books.... Many of you will find this hard to believe, but I've read fewer books this year than any year since 1999. I "only" read 145 books this year due to not being so stressed like in prior years. For comparison, last year I read 180. And yes, I do keep a database of the books I read. I've also done a lot of reviews for tech publishers as part of their user group programs. It's nice in that it gives me the chance to write, and I get a chance to build up my tech library at no cost.
Those are the high points of the year for my techie life. All in all, I'm able to say that it was a great year professionally. And with Lotusphere 2004 less than a month away, I can also envision another great year in 2004!