Lessons Learned from 30 Days of Blogging

Last month, I decided to blog every day. As I explained earlier:

For whatever reason, I’ve found writing hard to do the past few years, and this year has been the hardest. I’ve also been disinclined to think out loud, even though I’ve had a lot I’ve wanted to say and share, both personally and professionally.

Mid-way through the experiment, I reported:

What it’s been doing is helping unlock whatever has been inside of me. I’ve been precious about sharing what I’ve been thinking, not wanting to say them unless I can say them well and feeling paralyzed as a result. I’ve also found it overwhelming at times to try to blog. I guess things are crazy in the world right now, and it’s not only affecting my mental health, it’s hard for me to make sense of it all.

Blogging as a practice has reminded me not to be too precious. The less I try to say, the less overwhelming I feel. The more frequently I share, the less I have to worry about saying it all in one piece, which makes it much easier to write. Plus, even though I don’t think I’ve shown it yet, I’m starting to remember what it feels like to write well. I’m rounding into shape again, which always feels good.

The biggest surprise has been that sharing regularly has helped me re-engage with my broader community. I didn’t think anyone really followed this blog anymore, and because I’m rarely on social media anymore, the algorithms seem to have decided I’m not worthy of most people’s feeds. Still, some people are paying attention to what I’m saying, and getting to hear from them has been a treat and is also motivating me to write more.

After having finished the experiment, I’m not sure I have anything different to report, other than to say that I don’t think I had any breakthroughs after 30 days, and I want to keep exercising this muscle. I thought seriously about extending my project through the end of the year, but I opted against it for a few reasons. Even though it wasn’t particularly stressful, it wasn’t stress-free either, and I don’t need the added pressure this month. It also tires out muscles that I’m using for work right now. I can focus on developing these muscles more when work settles down.

In the meantime, I think the exercise still is helping me share more than I was before. This is my third blog post in December. I think a good pace for me is to be blogging about once a week, especially when those posts are more or less organic.

Maybe the most interesting thing for me was seeing what I chose to blog about. This wasn’t just a writing exercise, it was a sharing exercise. I aggregated all of the tags from those 30 days of blog posts and ran them through WordClouds.com to see if I could detect any patterns.

Not surprisingly, I wrote a lot about COVID-19 and the elections. It was nice to see that I wrote quite a bit about collaboration. This wasn’t my goal, but I admit I was curious to see how often I felt compelled to write about “work stuff” — the original purpose of this blog — especially when I had so many other things on my mind. I loved that I wrote about a lot about making — food and art and photography and stories in general.

Finally, I was curious about the people and places I wrote about. Here were people I knew whom I mentioned in various posts (not including my partner and sister, whom I mentioned often and didn’t bother tagging):

I loved seeing this list. My interactions with others play such a huge role in what I think about and how I feel, and I love being able to share this space with the people in my life.

People I mentioned whom I don’t know:

Places I mentioned:

  • Africa
    • Nigeria
  • Alaska
  • California
    • Bay Area
      • Colma
      • Oakland
        • Joaquin Miller Park
        • Mountain View Cemetery
      • San Francisco
        • Fort Point
        • Golden Gate Bridge
    • Los Angeles
      • Forest Lawn
  • Cincinnati
  • Santa Fe
    • Ghost Ranch

A World Where Mediocre People of All Races and Genders Have Opportunities

Today, the Miami Marlins named Kim Ng their new General Manager. She is the first female GM of any of the major professional sports leagues in the U.S. (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey), and she is the first Asian-American GM of Major League Baseball.

I’ve been a fan of hers since she joined my Dodgers as an assistant GM in 2001. It’s a historic moment for sure, and it’s also shameful that it took this long for her to get a GM job. Her credentials are impeccable. She’s been in baseball for 30 years, and she has three championship rings. By all accounts, she’s an incredible negotiator, talent evaluator, and manager, and she is highly respected by some of the biggest names in baseball. It seemed like a sure thing for her to get a GM job in the first decade of this century, and she got plenty of interviews. But it never happened, and in 2011, she took a job with Major League Baseball.

Progress has to start somewhere, and this is definitely something to celebrate. However, all too often, people point to barriers like these being broken and think that the work is done. The work is not done. If we live in a world where only exceptional folks like Ng get opportunities, then we will have failed.

A truly equitable world would be one where all professional sports leagues were full of mediocre GMs of all genders and races.

I didn’t fully understand this until I learned about Janice Madden’s groundbreaking study of Black coaches in the NFL. She found that, from 1990-2002, Black coaches far outperformed white coaches. Her research led to the Rooney Rule in 2003, which required that teams interview at least one minority candidate for coaching positions.

Here’s the kicker. Success isn’t just more Black coaches in the NFL. Success is more mediocre Black coaches in the NFL. As Madden explained:

If African-American coaches don’t fail, it means that those with equal talents to the failing white coaches are not even getting the chance to be a coach. Seeing African-American coaches fail means that they, like white coaches, no longer have to be superstars to get coaching jobs.

We should absolutely celebrate when we see superstars in any field who are women, Black, transgender, etc. Representation matters. But we should be even happier when we see fields full of mediocre women and other underrepresented folks, because that is a true indicator of equal opportunity.

I hope Ng succeeds, but in a weird way, I’ll be just as happy if she’s mediocre.