Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Just Shut Up and Sing

January 26, 2011 4 comments

Well, they say that the best way to get better at writing is to write something every day. Write anything, whether it’s good or not, whether any one will read it or even if you don’t feel like it. Write even if you are sick, sore, tired or if it’s inconvenient. Just write.

 Such has been my problem over the last few months and some would say much of my life. I tend to find excuses, disguised sometimes as over-analysis, why I don’t do some of the things that I really enjoy or that I have committed to do. I don’t have the time. I don’t feel well. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t have any fresh ideas. Nobody will want to read it. I’ll start back again next week. I need to think it over more. I keep finding in many areas of my life where I procrastinate terribly, all while convincing myself and others that it is in everyone’s best interests. 

As a part of the band Sound of Faith, and the larger umbrella of Sound of Faith Ministries, I have been involved with many discussions and decisions, including major ones such as recording and producing a CD and finding a new drummer, to the mundane like paying taxes and developing set lists. It has always seemed like all of the discussion that went around many of these things were necessary; that we needed to understand every nook and cranny and every possible outcome of our decisions and have a robust plan in place before we could move forward and take the next step. In fact, although I am not the only disciple of over-analysis in our band, I certainly could be called the leader by example.

A few years ago, it became common when these long drawn-out discussions would take place that one of the band members, Scott, would say “Let’s just shut up and sing.” Aside from sounding like a quote from Yogi Berra, it was also his way of saying that the reason we were together was because we were a band, so let’s do the thing we exist for and let the details work themselves out as they will. It used to drive me crazy, because I felt like these discussions were not just necessary, but vital to our band’s success.  But over time, I have begun to see the wisdom in those few words.

My wife and I participate in a popular DVD-based exercise program whose slogan is “Just push play”. Their motivation is to get you to get to the point of starting it every day, to get you over the inertia of stagnancy. Once you overcome the “Will I or won’t I?” decision, the muscle memory takes over and you go to work.

Now looking at the band and what we have in front of us for the year, I see a lot of opportunity and a lot of opportunity cost for wasted time. And, although many of the discussions we have had in the past were very necessary, I keep feeling the overwhelming desire to just jump into things with both feet and feel our way along, instead of trying to plan things to the nth degree before starting. I want to get over that at-rest inertia and get to the “body-in-motion-stays-in-motion” part. I think we have a tremendous amount of God-gifted talent and I can’t help but feel that we are suffering paralysis by analysis.

As I look at all of the things in my life, chores that need to be done, hobbies left unattended, friends or family I haven’t seen recently, or the band itself, I keep seeing opportunities where, instead of procrastinating or over-analyzing, I should just jump in and do something. A good friend has been after me to start blogging again, and while I was able to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why I couldn’t, I was never able to say that I didn’t want to. So instead, I have decided that I needed to just write and see what happened. This is the first post of that experiment; we’ll see how it goes from there.

You know, just shut up and sing.

What is Common Sense Passion?

July 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I would love to start this entry with a line like “People frequently ask me…” or “My most common request is…” but being that the blog is less than a week old, I will forgo those overused phrases and begin with…

I am sure that some are wondering why I would name my blog Common Sense Passion or what it even means. So, I’ll tell you a little story of where the name came from, and what it means to me.

In addition to being a blog writer, I am also a songwriter. No, neither has ever made me a penny, but both give me great enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction and self-worth. A few weeks ago, I finished reading a book entitled Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell and had decided to follow one of the exercises listed within. The idea was to make a list of song titles, with nothing else in mind other than just interesting, intriguing titles. So I did and throughout the day, when I would think of one I would write it down. Whether I thought it was good or not, I put it on the list. By the end of the day I had a list of 83 song titles, such as The Space Between the Notes, Pseudolife, and (you guessed it) Common Sense Passion.

When it was time for me to choose a name for this blog, I decided to go back and look at this list and see if anything stood out, and CSP did. I had remembered when I had added it to the list what I was thinking; that many people have a tendency to become very passionate about some pretty odd things. I have read and seen how people would break down into tears in the presence of Michael Jackson, or would become so embroiled in work, video games, or other things that they completely neglect their families and friends. What I really wished was that more people would become passionate about the things that really mattered.

I ended up choosing Common Sense Passion, because I realized that it described very well my motivation for blogging in the first place. I am not an extremist. You will not read articles from me proclaiming that Obama is a terrorist or not eligible to be president because he wasn’t born in the U.S. You won’t see anything citing grand government conspiracies, or New World Orders. I will not proclaim that Harry Potter is evil and bad for your kids or that peace signs are anti-Christian. The things that I get very passionate about are much more mundane, but also so much more important. I believe passionately that you do what you say you are going to do, from marriage oaths all the way down to lunch plans. I am passionate about raising my children, taking care of them and teaching them. I believe strongly that you should think about most things for yourself, and not follow the “That’s the way we have always done it” mantra. I believe passionately that common sense should prevail. Those are the things I will write about. That is what Common Sense Passion is.

Human passion is a heavy working charge of electricity, which runs safely and profitably through the cable reason; but, if the cable is broken, the current becomes dangerous.

AUSTIN O’MALLEY, Keystones of Thought


Welcome to Common Sense Passion

June 29, 2010 1 comment

For several years now, I have been struggling with the decision on whether to write a blog. There is a creative side of me that gets immense satisfaction from creating something from scratch. Whether this is an application I develop, a song I write, or a thought transposed into text on a screen, I always have a feeling of accomplishment at having completed something that did not exist before my brain came up with the idea. It is slightly egotistical, in that it is a self-congratulating gesture, but I don’t think you can blame a person for wanting to be proud of their work, without relying on others feedback to have a sense of self-worth.

But of course that brings me to the next reason why I have enjoyed the thought of blogging: Allowing others to read my thoughts. Although I do feel a sense of satisfaction in writing, in the creation process, I do not think I would decide to blog purely to collect my thoughts on paper (per se). The whole reason behind the creative process is to create something that has never existed in its exact form. I would not write an application that had already been written, I would not write a song that already existed, and I would not merely copy someone else’s thoughts into my format and repost. The idea that this is a whole new creation leads directly to the next step which is to share it. Although I do not place value on my writing based purely on the feedback of others, I do want people to read my thoughts, interact with them, agree or disagree with them, be spurred on to new thoughts of their own or even be offended by them. It is taking my thoughts and feelings and placing them on display which both serves to make others understand and maybe internalize my ideas and ideals, but it is also through this interaction that I can learn more about others and myself as well.

So, I’ve covered the “why” side of writing a blog, so to the “why I shouldn’t”. Well, frankly, I don’t know if I have anything worth reading. Many of the articles I have read on writing a successful blog tell you that you should 1) pick a subject and stick with it and 2) update it regularly and frequently. At this point, I don’t know that I will do either. Regarding the subject, well, I have a lot of interests, some mainstream and some pretty geeky. I also have some strong feelings about many subjects, and I would like to have an opportunity to advise, educate and maybe even sway the people reading my blog to my viewpoints. So, I will not guarantee that this will be a blog about a single subject. However, some of the recurring topics that you are likely to see here would be politics (which I honestly detest, but have some pretty strong feelings about), computers and technology, on-line gaming (I play Everquest 2 and DDO), Christianity and just life in general, such in parenting, life in the workplace and such. As to the frequency of my posts, well, that is still to be determined, I suppose. My intention is to post at least two entries a week. However, I have a real job, am a father of 3 and play guitar in a Christian rock band 2 practices a week plus gigs, so who knows what I will actually have time for.

So, with these things against me, and seemingly already making excuses, you may ask why I would even start. I guess it’s for a couple of reasons. The first is that I have a philosophy of trying to figure out how to make things work, rather than looking for excuses to not do something. With that frame of mind, I will fail more often than those who pick only the low-hanging fruit, but it is part of what makes me who I am.  The second reason is that sometimes I surprise myself. When I joined the Mt. Olivet praise band (which became my current band, Sound of Faith) I said I would play guitar, but I didn’t want to get too involved. Today, we practice twice a week, play 1-2 gigs a month; I produced a CD, built a web site and helped start a non-profit ministry of which I am the vice-president. What I am curious about is if writing will take a similar path. But, the primary reason for blogging is that I simply want to, for all the reasons I listed above.

So, welcome to my blog. I have went ahead and posted a couple of old entries that I put in Facebook notes earlier this year just to get started and we’ll get in the car and start down the road and see where we end up. To close, knowing my philosophy, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

 “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”