Today marks the third anniversary of this blog. This blog started with the idea of sharing my experiences of freelancing. It grew beyond that to a sharing of my experiences, family, caregiving, hobbies, relationships, and random musings and interests. I consider this blog another form of relationship-building as I share with you and my guest contributors these written thoughts.
Thanks for sharing vicariously with me this past year. We talked about what it was like teaching Writing & Editing for Games. We got to try some fun recipes from people in the Game Industry through the #GamingGastronomy series of interviews. We delved into your questions in a more personal way with the Freelancer Fact Finding series. Gen Con 2017 again had my daughters helping me with the Modiphius booth but also had my wife in attendance for the entire week so we experience accessibility at a gaming convention. We also got to celebrate my Cyclopaedia blog making it to the ENnies this year. We discussed hosting multiple community game nights and learned from those experiences what things worked and didn’t so the next event could be even better. Now I am looking to rework community game nights and perhaps host them at multiple locations. I have gotten to know so many new people this year through these varied events.
But what stands out the most this past year are all the changes in my life and the ripple effect they are having on my freelancing and my gaming hobby. The new role as Director of Academic Technology/Associate CIO at Taylor University requires much more of my focus, grows me professionally each day, and has really drawn upon the relationship-building I have learned as a freelancer as I reach out to faculty and students. With my daughters now in college, I have more free time yet more responsibility as a caregiver so I have really had to evaluate my hobbies and prioritize which ones I enjoy the most and fit within my new schedule. New job, new responsibilities, new schedules, and new relationships built over this year have taken precedent over freelancing and gaming at times.
Two lessons have really come out of my experiences and writing this year.
- Family First – My daughters started at university this year, which means we do not see them as often and that I have taken on the role of sole caregiver at home. Angie has had complications in her transition to her new Multiple Sclerosis medication, which have required me to really look inward to what I should be focusing on. I now cherish so much more the times I spend with my wife and the special times I get to be with my daughters. When I knew I would have all this additional free time available with my daughters in college, I started thinking about chances for more gaming and additional freelance projects. While a little did occur, mostly my time just reoriented to focusing more on my time with my wife and as her caregiver. I do have a few more opportunities to game and work on projects, but not as much as I expected. My family comes first and the way that looks just shifted with the changes.
- Relationships Before Business – Often in this blog and during the courses I teach, I emphasize relationship-building as the best way to grow your freelancing. Little did I know that I would be taking my own lessons to heart when I accepted this new role at Taylor University. I have spent the past six months focused on building lines of communication and relationships between my team and the faculty and academic leadership. Before developing technology roadmaps or strategic plans, before making significant changes in our support or infrastructure, before doing any major business, I have been focused on building relationships. Just like I have stated for freelancing, building trust and respect in a leadership role requires open communication and relationships. This process is ongoing, but I feel in this past half a year I have built a rapport we can now build upon going forward. Keep building relationships, as they will grow your opportunities in so many parts of your life.
Your comments, emails, messages, and words of encouragement inspire me to continue writing this blog. What I am trying to say in this rambling of words is “Thank you!” for reading for another year. I am blessed to have you as readers and friends and can’t wait to see what new experiences come in the next year.