My journey might be somewhat unusual, but perhaps not.
I started writing articles on the Internet at a few different places before I started SQL Server Central. There were other authors online, and one of them was also in Colorado. We became friends, and a few years later (after SSC started), he reached out to me and asked me to come speak at the local user group, which he was running.
I accepted and then had to come up with things to say. I dug into the topic he’d requested, practiced a little (not enough), and was lucky enough that the meeting was small. About ten of us sat around a conference table and I talked about some things, no Power Point, just discussing some data topic.
It was a rather inauspicious start, and I don’t think I did a good job. I didn’t really look to speak at other places until my co-founders at SQL Server Central asked me to join them at a few talks in different places. I got a few positive reviews and then started to send in my own submissions. Things worked out well and took off from there.
The last ten years I’ve often looked for authors or fellow professionals that have good ideas, ask interesting questions, or might impress me during a casual chat. I often ask them to submit something to a user group or SQL Saturday and consider speaking. I know it’s not for everyone, but if I could give it a try, they could.