I’m dropping the book project – No, I did not! (Updated)



I almost gave this up, but I’m glad I din’t.

SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Blueprints has been published!


This book project got its second life. I am now collaborating with another author to bring this book to completion. :-)


I was super excited when I received an invitation to write a book on SSRS 2012. Writing a book has been in my bucket list for as long as I can remember. It’s probably on top 10 or higher.

When I finally received the formal contract, I signed it immediately without giving it second thoughts.

I was zoomed in to the fact that I finally have the opportunity to fulfill one of my dreams – that I now have the opportunity to shine. A great milestone for my career, I thought.

But then I forgot I have other priorities that I’ve already committed to even prior to when the book offer came. I didn’t realize saying Yes to a dream means saying No to other commitments. Saying Yes I wanted to affix my signature to the contract meant more sacrifice than I bargained for.

And so life happens.

I’ve come to a point where I need to make decisions. Something’s got to give. I’m almost certain that dropping the book has negative repercussions. But that’s the trade off.

I now mark my first attempt at writing a book a failure. But this is not a story about failing a dream. It’s a failure at recognizing real priorities. It’s a failure at sticking with commitments and goals.

If I learned one thing in all this it’s the fact that abandoning current goals just so a dream can be fulfilled is not the way to go, specially when that dream does not necessarily conform with those goals.

What do I do now?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s what I am doing and what I have to get back on track with my goals – goals that are geared toward a SQL Server DBA career:

1. More Time means flexibility and that I can use most of that time to focus on SQL Server. And that also means more training and more opportunities for learning critical skills.

2. I do have a Pluralsight Subscription. The SQL Skills folks have posted training videos on SQL Server which will definitely help me improve my SQL Server skills.

3. My TechNet Subscription ensure that I have access to critical enterprise software that I can use to apply what I’m learning. I can recreate close-to-real-world environment so I can simulate real-world scenarios on a SQL Server system for example.

4. The most important tool that I have is my ThinkPad W530 equipped with a Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM. A SSD upgrade would make this machine even better. Hyper-V allows me to build virtualized SQL Server environments on the fly. You say Failover Clustering? Check! You say Replication? It is! You say AlwaysOn Availability Groups? I’m in!

5. I’m under the Friend of Red Gate program. Using their SQL Toolbelt on a regular basis, albeit on test environments, make me comfortable in using third-party tools. Plus, of course, there are those free tools from other vendors.

6. The SQL Family (#sqlfamily / #sqlpass on Twitter) has seen all my up’s and down’s. They’ve witnessed everything that I’m going through, career-wise. They are my greatest asset.

And yet I’ve just spelled another failure. I’ve failed a lot. And I’ll fail more. This could only mean one thing.

Success is near.

Author: Marlon Ribunal

I'm passionate about SQL Server. But I feel like I haven't reached my full potential yet. So, this is my mission: My purpose is to help people in their pursuit of growth and development; and, thereby, help myself realize my full potential as a professional, husband, father, christian, and human being.


  1. This blog post should get another update. Congrats, Marlon!

  2. Pingback: My First Book: SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services Blueprints - SQL Server - SQL Server - Toad World

  3. Remember that there will be other opportunities to write on a book, if you want to do so. I had to stop on my first for-print book, which would have been on SQL Server security. I had just transitioned to an infrastructure architect role and I was about to lead my organization into a migration to Active Directory. Needless to say, there was no time for a book. However, later opportunities did open up and I have credits against three print books today. So if this is still a goal of yours, revisit it when life is better for it.

    • If I’d be presented with another opportunity in a better time, I would grab it. I’d like to do some changes in my career without affecting much of my family life. I have to go lean but not sacrifice my relationship with my family. It is more complicated than I anticipated but, with God’s Grace, everything will work out for the better. I will pursue some of my career goals this year (SQL consulting, WFH, etc); hence, this move on the book project is inevitable.

  4. I had to step back from Pass and any involvement with the local users group and SQLSaturday as it had a negative impact on my family. I worked for a company that had me flying from place to place which took me away from my family. When I switched jobs and became a DBA I was able to work exclusively from home. Then I developed specific goals to be a SQL presenter, local Pass chapter leader and a SQL Server MVP.

    Despite the fact I was physically home I was still absent from my family mentally. When rock bottom hit I decided to fight for my family and to never neglect them again. They have taken a lesser priority for far too long and I let my goals and ambition overshadow them.

    I still strive to be one of the SQL greats so I haven’t abandoned it. I do however, fit in study time only when time presents itself. My day-to-day work gives me real-world experience but I still want the certifications and to be able to teach and present one day.

    • It’s always about hitting the right balance. When it comes to work-life balance, it doesn’t have to be on scale of 50-50. If I ask my family to compromise, I have to give up on something also.

      I’ll remain active in the SQL Server Community. I am looking to make my involvement better this year and onward.

      But, as a family, we have to make a lot of compromise. I told my wife I want to focus on improving my career this year – this will be the year! And, she’s more than willing to help me in any way possible to make it happen.

      For example, this weekend I will be driving up north to attend SQL Saturday #177 in Silicon Valley. But the weekends are the only times we come together as a family (my wife usually works on holidays because she works at LAX Airport). I’d want to be with them by the end of the day on Saturday. So, we decided we’d visit a friend in Tracy, CA – 60mi away from Mountain View where SQLSat177 will be held. I don’t mind the extra 1-hour drive just to get to the event. I’d be happy knowing that the family will just be an hour away,

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