How writing has turned walls into windows

Those who have read my blog know that I am not a professional writer.  I’m a novice at best, blissfully blurting mediocre sentence structure in cyber space.  These words have never really been for anyone other than myself, so who cares if I’m overly generous with commas, or underwhelmingly inept with word diversity?  I mean, no one will ever be as critical as I am to myself.  This hasn’t stopped me.  In fact, I continue to write despite barriers and walls, for this has opened my mind far beyond what I could have imagined.  It’s all about the content.

I’d like to take a quick look way back at 2014.  Squint real hard and I think you can see it there in the wee shadows of 2015.  This was the year that I put all of my focus on finally obtaining my CCIE.  I openly announced to friends and family that I’d be unavailable for the next 12 months.  Don’t invite me to events, don’t ask me if I watched the last episode of Walking Dead, don’t ask me how my weekend was.  My response will always be, “studying.”

Now the tricky part: how best to study.  I consulted with a co-worker and friend of mine, Steve Occhiogrosso, and he encouraged me to write.  He said, “look you’re smart, you know your stuff.  Just write about it online and it will undoubtedly pay off.”  Bashfully I said, “You think I’m smart?  Bahahaha!”

I heeded his advice and started putting my notes online, public for all to read.  Since anyone can read this I paid far more attention to detail, forcibly studying harder as to not publicly admit my ignorance about a topic.  Through writing I became an expert on the topic I was writing about.  I published new blogs every other week or so, tweeted them out to my modicum of followers.  Low and behold, I started obtaining more followers, both on Twitter and WordPress!

After I completed my CCIE in Data Center, I took a brief break to “find myself” again.  It’s almost like you forget about reality for a bit, and have to ween yourself back into normality.  My writing became less focused on CCIE and more on general day-to-day tid-bits.

I’m all about keeping a good thing going, so when I started receiving invites to write about topics, I jumped on it.  I’m glad I did, too, because writing has provided opportunity hand-over-fist these past 2 years.  I’ve made new “digital” friends, developed partnerships and have attended events with the sole purpose of writing about it.  How awesome?! Some highlights:

If you’re wondering why my blog hasn’t seen as much love recently, it’s because of the above.  I’m no longer purely writing technical how-to’s.  I’m also writing about potential, opportunity, innovation and products.  Much like the evolution of the Cisco certification program bolting on “evolving technologies” to their test, I’m trying to stay on top of this through investigative optimism in the industry as a whole.

Time flies.  We’re endlessly fighting entropy in a technological world evolving almost too quickly to keep up. It’s easy to get intimidated.  It’s easy to walk away.  Don’t fret.  Stay engaged, stay relevant, meet smart people, share insights, connect and pursue opportunity that fits within your lifestyle.

I started 2016 with a simple mantra:

Do it
Say yes

I encourage you to adopt this mantra, or create one tailored for yourself.  It’s important to support yourself, produce, and be a part of a community.  Writing has been this outlet I never knew existed.  If you’re reading this ’till then end, thank you for validating the importance of community, thank you for supporting creativity in a cold, machine-run world, and thank you for your committed readership.  Stay intrepid.

David Varnum


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