Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ten Year Anniversary: My Decade of Blogging “Silence”

I recently came across a fascinating study by psychology professor John Hayes at Carnegie Mellon University. He evaluated pieces of music written from 1685 to 1900 by composers who are now considered successful. The focus? To answer the question, “How long after one becomes interested in music is it that one becomes world class?”

Professor Hayes narrowed the selection down to 500 compositions, written by 76 different composers, all of which are performed regularly in modern times and are generally considered to be the cream of the crop. He then created a timeline for each composer’s career, seeking to determine how long they had been composing music before writing these masterpieces. Here’s what he discovered:

[V]irtually every single “masterwork” was written after year ten of the composer’s career. . . . Not a single person produced incredible work without putting in a decade of practice first. Even a genius like Mozart had to work for at least ten years before he produced something that became popular. Professor Hayes began to refer to this period, which was filled with hard work and little recognition, as the “ten years of silence.”
                                                        
Even though my blog turns ten years old this Saturday, I can’t really call this my ten years of silence according to Hayes’ standards. I haven’t rigorously, or even steadily, been publishing content during that time. Over the years, I’ve sometimes posted several times a week, sometimes once a week, and more sporadically during other periods. Even so, when I wrote my very first blog post, I didn’t have a ten year plan in mind.

Yet I’m still blogging (at least occasionally), with plans to continue on into the future.

This time last year, I had planned on continuing my once-a-week posting schedule. But I had no clue that a career change was right around the corner. I’ve always claimed that I would never go into business for myself, and if you told me that’s what I’d be doing in the second half of 2015, I’d have said you were a couple tacos short of a fiesta platter. But here I am, an independent contractor offering copy writing and content editing services, as well as identity theft and legal protection services.
                                                   
And I’m absolutely loving it. Who would have guessed? Certainly not me.

So Happier Far will likely not be updated on a regular basis for at least a while longer. (Running your own businesses, while incredibly fun, happens to suck up most of your time.) The blog’s not dead, but it may be a while before we get back to a consistent schedule.

Nevertheless, I’m dedicated to pursuing the craft of writing. If I want to write books in the future (and I do), I’ll want to maximize my influence by spending more time on my metaphorical ten years of silence. This blog is a great place to do that.

To all my readers: thank you for your support, encouragement, and critiques. Thank you for visiting this site and sharing in the discussion. Thank you for allowing me to be one of the voices to which you have graciously lent your ears. I don’t ever want to take that lightly.

Promoting Porn for the Glory of God?

Pornography and Christian films. There’s a connection between the two that most people miss. And the longer we’re unaware of it, the more we’re hurt by it.

Last fall, the folks at Covenant Eyes graciously allowed me to explain this connection on their blog. (I—ahem—forgot to post a link to it here until now.) Here’s how the article begins:

It has happened too many times to count: professing Christians have defended the use of porn as a tool for truth and beauty. That may sound like an absurd statement, but it is not unfounded. In order to properly illuminate the problem, we need to address something that will initially seem off topic: the ways Christian film critics respond to faith-based films. (Please bear with me.)

If you’re embarrassed by heavy-handed Christian-themed movies, you’re not alone. The subtext of many faith-based films—poor acting, a mediocre script, perfunctory production values, and the like—indicates that Christians value substance (right thinking) over style (good aesthetics). This may be subversive to the filmmakers’ intent, but the message is still there.

Film critic Jeffrey Overstreet succinctly explains it this way: “Style is substance….If you change the style of something, you change what it can mean.”

You can read the entire article here.