5 Reasons Why I Blog Daily (And You Should, Too)

The college essay ruined writing for me. Having only ever been asked to deliver the formal five-paragraph essay in school, I came to dread the written word. I procrastinated assignments to the bitter end. Determined to revisit writing and heal academic wounds, I committed to blogging daily in March. I could never have imagined how fruitful this journey would become. Today marks my 250th post and over 50,000 words since I started blogging eight months ago. Now, I am in love with writing. I encourage everyone to blog for the following five reasons:

  1. Output – Through a commitment to generating content daily, you condition yourself to build a large personal volume. Little by little, you end up with a novel’s worth in literature. Many authors, including Tim Ferris and Tucker Max, have expanded their blogs into best-selling books. With tact, you can leverage your authored library into strong returns. Output is more than half the battle; a daily commitment can bring it all home. Will I publish a book? Not planning on it, but maybe someday!
  1. Craft – By blogging every day, you hone your skills as a writer. You learn to develop ideas faster, structure arguments more strategically, and define your authorial voice. I lost practice writing after college and blogging brought most of it back.
  1. Experimentation – A blog and its community can be great places to test ideas, develop concepts, start conversations, and collect feedback. Theories can evolve over time through posts, comments, impressions, and personal conversations. If you want to test the validity or integrity of your ideas, throw them to the wolves online.
  1. Memorialization – I blog to preserve ideas, concepts, discoveries, and lessons. I found myself learning a lot, offering advice to friends, and teaching so many lessons that otherwise disappeared into the wind. It felt like a total waste to keep everything in the back of my mind. By publishing, I save thoughts and expand the public reach of potentially useful ideas.
  1. Connectivity – Blogging connects me to readers in ways I never thought possible. Through exchanges in comments, email, and conversation, I continue to develop intellectual relationships with professionals, estranged friendships, acquaintances, and people I’ve never met at all. I learn so much from you. Thank you all for reading! It has been an absolute pleasure. Cheers to many more!

Organizing Your Music Library

In the digital age, we are saturated with music. It’s amazing to me that people aren’t more overwhelmed by it. I have 12,297 songs (nearly 700 hours of music, 56.2 GB) in my library, 82% of which I haven’t listened to yet. That does not include some 1,200 tracks that haven’t been added to my library yet. Almost all of my music comes from recommendations and shares by friends. Without some sense of order, I may never be able to listen to it all. But I’m going to try.

To keep things straight, I use the 5-star rating system integrated into the major audio players (I use both Windows Media Player and iTunes to manage my library). Inspired in part by the way friend Greg Stanwood rates movies, I assign each star a qualitative value. To get a 5-star rating, a track must:

Star 1:  Demonstrate strong musical talent
Star 2:  Be recorded and mixed well
Star 3:  Have a captivating arc and appropriate duration
Star 4:  Survive repeat listening
Star 5:  Evoke a notable emotional reaction

Conveniently enough, the result of awarding these stars to tracks informs me how to handle them in the future (I delete tracks that get zero stars):

1 Star:  Never again!
2 Stars:  Not terrible, but no thanks.
3 Stars:  Average, sweet enough to keep at hand.
4 Stars:  Listen again!
5 Stars:  Love and keep forever.

Only tracks that get four or five stars (636 and 265 tracks respectively so far) make it to my iPod or car stereo. With this level of organization, you can bet I have a pretty awesome party mix.

In hopes of discovering new music, I am methodically working my way down the entire library song list to listen to everything I own. Over time, I will share some of my data and ratings with you. Pulling the metadata into excel, I have already discovered my favorite music year so far was apparently 2003!