Friday, February 14, 2020

"Pink Cashmere" - Song of the Month

Each month I will share some brief, personal thoughts on one of my favorite Prince songs.


"Music is healing," Prince said in his memoir, The Beautiful Ones. Who wouldn't agree? I even think Prince's guitar solos are healing, and the one on "Pink Cashmere" always makes me feel better. I used to make playlists for my mother, and I put this song on one of them because, although she was a Prince fan, it was new to her. She told me, "I can tell it's a Prince song by the guitar solo." Besides the healing properties, I think this is one of his best ballads, from the orchestration to the lyrics to the vocal arrangements and ad libs. This is the kind of slow jam I prefer (sorry to "Do Me, Baby"). The best thing about discovering Prince is that, once you get past all the major hits, which are amazing enough, you find the lesser-known gems, and you can't believe this guy is even better than you thought! At least that's what happened to me. I was floored when I first heard this track, and played it repeatedly. It brings back memories of my first year or so of college, when I was still exploring his discography.

Which Prince guitar solos are healing to you?


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Friday, February 7, 2020

“Dr. Everything’ll Be All Right” – Blog Checkup


In the past, I used to do more “process”-oriented blog posts about my book. For example, I’d talk about requesting interviews, organizing my research or securing publishers. I thought I’d try to get back to doing some of that, but I really hope to be done with the book soon.

Personally, I’m struggling with some obstacles in my everyday life. It’s difficult to write when you are in a low place emotionally and/or overwhelmed with life decisions. There are moments when I think about quitting. I know other writers can relate. Sometimes you just want to run away.

With that said, I think it’s important to ask yourself a few questions: 1) Why are you doing what you’re doing? 2) Is it worthwhile? 3) Are you working smart and not too hard?

Here goes…

1) Why am I blogging?

Since 2010, my goal has been to build an audience that would eventually buy my book. Ten years later, that is still the goal, but it has expanded. I think this blog has helped position me as a Prince scholar, especially regarding religious studies/spirituality. Additionally, I’ve been able to provide news and expand aspects of Prince’s history/legacy at times, especially given some interviews I’ve been able to get that aren’t related to my book.

2) Is it worthwhile?

Yes. This blog allows me to keep track of my audience. I’m happy with my views, but I can be much better about analyzing my stats. Back in 2010, Blogger was still poppin’, but now I realize the site’s analytics are lacking. I’m setting a goal to install Google Analytics so I can see how I’m doing in greater detail year over year.

The best thing that I’ve done so far is start a newsletter via Mailchimp for my blog. Each month, I send out an email with my recent blog posts and bonus content. In 2019, I set a goal to acquire 500 subscribers, and by the end of the year I had 566! Running giveaways through ShortStack has been helpful, albeit expensive. This year, I hope to increase my subscribers to 1,000 (you can help me out by subscribing here). Toward that end, I set another goal to run Facebook ads.

3) Am I working smart and not too hard?

One thing I admire about my earlier approach to blogging is that I worked more on my book than my blog. Last year, that was not the case. Though my blog posts have gotten better (and prettier), I spend too much time on them. That is a personality flaw; I can’t do anything halfway. I will spend hours or days on a blog until it is perfect.

My goal is to work smarter so that I’m creating strong content in less time. I think I can achieve that by designating just one day (maybe Thursday evening) to blogging. I’ll have to work up to limiting my hours on that day. I also think I can make my blog posts shorter and have some recurring posts. For example, I used to do a photo-based series that helped cut down my workload.

Beginning next week, I’m going to start a “Song of the Month” series that will be a short, personal post about one of my favorite Prince songs.

4) Bonus: What other types of content can my audience expect?

I’m still sitting on new interviews with Mike Scott, Rashida Robinson, Jesse Hayes and Dave Hampton. I would like to get around to transcribing, following up with those folks and creating snapshots of those discussions. I also have a list of new people I’d like to interview this year.

I’m thinking about doing a series about my family and Prince. Maybe I can pull that off beginning Feb. 28. Also, I’d like to hire more guest writers to contribute to the blog.

Additionally, I’m going to a couple Prince conferences this year, so I will cover those events like I have in the past.


Is there anything else you’d like to see on the blog?