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Why everyone should blog

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.

Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever popular Morning Pages Journal where you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.

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“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.” — Neil GaimanClick To Tweet

I have been blogging for years (btw, I recently wrote a blog post about how to start one on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.

Luis Suarez has been blogging since 2002 and recently offered some advice about using your blog to reflect the real you.

“It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”

People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.

I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words. Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.

Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.

'Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.' — Seth GodinClick To Tweet

PS. If you’re looking to start a blog, I highly recommend doing so on WordPress. You can also choose a one-click WordPress installation using Bluehost.

 

‘A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.’

“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley in Search of America

The Bullet Journal: An analog system for a digital age

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You can count me in as one of the people that succeeds from an analog to-do list. I’ve tried countless to-do apps, and none of them push me to get stuff done like the written word.

Keep yourself honest by adopting the bullet journal system, if only to remind yourself what actually deserves attention.

Here is how it works: you take a blank notebook, any blank notebook. You can, if you wish, buy a special one, but the notebook isn’t the point – the Bullet Journal is a method, not an object. You number the pages as you go along, having set aside a few pages at the front that over time become your contents list. Then each month you handwrite a calendar called the “monthly log” followed by a “daily log” of tasks, events and notes, marked respectively by bullet points, circles and dashes. Each day you manually cross out tasks you have completed and then rewrite the undone ones for the next day.

Read How the Bullet Journal stopped me lying to myself

The art of doing nothing

Relaxation is an art, antithesis to the obsession of doing. If we could be immediately present, time would slow down. We’d be able to hear the individual ticks in the clock.

The route to super consciousness is paved with unplugging from the maelstrom of 24/7 news and unnecessary push messages. It is all the distraction that makes us less happy. Dopamine is addictive but ephemeral.

When we’re interacting in excess, we’re missing out on recharging and thinking. Always-on is benign until it isn’t.

Adventures in record collecting

The Dust & Grooves Book

Photographer

The Dust & Grooves Book3

The Dust & Grooves Book 4

Photographer and blogger Eilon Paz has put together a book Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting, which features more than 130 vinyl collectors across the world.

The images are amazing and diverse, ranging from the Italian man who owns the world’s largest collection of colored vinyl records to an owner who collects only Beatles’ White Album records.

Says Paz in an interview with Slate Magazine on capturing the vinyl enthusiasts:

It’s just me and the camera and that’s it. It’s like two friends hanging out listening to records and then I shoot some photos. It builds a very intimate moment between me and my subjects. When they talk about music they lose all their inhibitions. They just really enjoy it.

Vinyl has been having a resurgence the last few years as a reaction to the digitization of everything. As the most famous rock DJ John Peel promptly noted: “Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, ‘Listen, mate, life has surface noise.”

You can buy the 436-page book on the Dust & Grooves website or Amazon.

How audiobooks are made

Susy Jackson is one of the narrators behind Audible’s audiobooks.

In this video, she shares some of the tips and trick she uses to record audiobooks, like underlining character names and noting places where she might need to alter her voice to match the verb (e.g. ‘whispering’).

“It’s this weird mental trick of staying really present and always kind of reading a little bit ahead.”

Take a look into her process for making audiobooks below.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
 


When illusion meets reality

How real is any of this, our minds continually intertwined with the screen of irreality. We can only be certain of what can see, surely.

But the computer is an extension of our brain. Technology presents an alternative existence that replaces the status-quo with a broad range of possibilities. We are just beginning to see the amalgamation of mind and machine.

Reality has been in the ‘August imagination‘ all along. But like a parachute, cognition is just now cracking open to double its processing power in collaboration with artificial intelligence and algorithms that are constantly improving.

Technology stretches our eyes beyond optical error, begging for a fresh approach. Reality and irreality will work together to fill in the illusion of an empty calendar as we know it. Looking neither right nor left, the human mind works ahead.

What remains will be worthy of attention.

A timeline of colors of Mister Rogers sweaters

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via

What a dataset of colors, rather a barcode of colors.

Mr. Rogers sweaters started off neon vibrant in the 70s, red dominated the 90s, and the palette got darker as time went on.

And his thoughts were just as beautiful.

Making better decisions / Better decision making

Indecision is still a decision.

Illustration by Tom Gauld

The script, the story

How many of us are just acting our way through life, adapting to different settings like chameleons?

Situational elasticity lends its hand to the collaborative truth, that people inject each other with signaling serum. We try to demonstrate to others ‘this is who I am and this what I do.’

All life is a stage, not just the internet, with many reaping the psychological benefits of expectation, even children. Studies show that pretending to be Batman helps kids persevere.

We should follow the route that builds up the most confidence. We just can’t expect a return on a relationship should we switch off and reside to impulsiveness.

The edited self is known to slip.

‘We are told stories as children to help us bridge the abyss between waking and sleeping’

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We are told stories as children to help us bridge the abyss between waking and sleeping. We tell stories to our own children for the same purpose. When I find myself in danger — caught on a stuck ski-lift in a blizzard — I immediately start telling myself stories. I tell myself stories when I am in pain and I expect as I lay dying I will be telling myself a story in a struggle to make some link between the quick and the defunct.

Olivia Lang, The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking

Malcolm Gladwell teaches writing

Malcolm Gladwell’s first-ever online writing course is now available courtesy of MasterClass.

In the class, Gladwell analyzes his own best-selling books like Blink and The Tipping Point to unveil his thinking and creative process. In 24 lessons, the influential author will teach how you to discover, examine, and pen stories to illustrate your big ideas.

Sign up to the class

Write stories that captivate by learning how Malcolm researches topics, crafts characters, and distills big ideas into simple, powerful narratives.

Students will also receive a class workbook with lesson summaries, some homework, and additional helpful materials.

Inspiring and informative, this is one class guaranteed to improve your writing.

Interested? Start your free Masterclass trial today and get access to over 30+ instructors, including access to Margaret Atwood’s upcoming course.

You can also just sign up to Malcolm Gladwell’s course by itself right here.

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Hooked on artifice and spin

Twitter’s removal of millions of fake accounts reminds us that not everything is what it seems. The internet is full of bots, replicating humans, even programmed to act more human than the humans themselves.

We too are conscious automata, no more authentic than the droids themselves. People are just savvy editors. We present our best selves online to increase our self-worth make other people envious.

Artifice defeats authenticity in all chess matches of the irreality we crave.

Yet, the push to be at our best could be the resolution to our proposed mediocrity. Why shoot ourselves down when a quasi-celebrity lifestyle sits at our fingertips.

Fame happens to the mobile holder. Stuck in a ludic loop, we are the host of our own Truman Show. Attention captured, republished, and released. We’re neither superior to bots nor are we consciously behind.

‘Summertime City’ by Kadir Nelson

kadir nelson new yorker cover

This week’s New Yorker cover is a doozy, from no other than artist Kadir Nelson. The magazine interviewed him about the work and why he prefers the slow process of oil painting in the digital age.

I love the oil medium. It’s timeless and has been used for hundreds of years. I want to create artwork that will live outside of the printed medium or the computer. I like to think that I’m creating fine art that happens to work as a cover for The New Yorker.

— Kadir Nelson’s ‘Summertime City’

The happiness curve

Behavioral economists explain why the mid-life crisis is only temporary. Happiness increases with old age.

“Life satisfaction tends to decline gradually after early adulthood, bottom out in middle age [or 40s], then gradually rebound after.”

Study: Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?

In short, life gets better after 50.

Fleeting motivation


Here today, gone tomorrow. Motivation is fickle.

But what if you promised yourself you’d get it done regardless of how you felt?

Going to the gym, doing homework, emailing the boss — there is no time like now time.

You’ll feel incentivized if, under no circumstance, you have to do it anyway.

Good habits are non-negotiable.

The plethora of neurocognitive connections that empower your actions know that you don’t always have to like what you do.

You just have to stay grounded in the experience, to avoid leaving the box unchecked. As Jerry Seinfeld encourages us, “Don’t break the chain.”

Productivity occurs when what you must do no longer needs to stay determined to complete it.

Through repetition, you can sculpt your brain to stave off the opposable mind.

PS. If you want to track your progress, consider the bullet journal system.