"Rich on Personality" – Creating My Brand

I will not fail my 52-blog challenge! Due to my crazy, busy life, I didn’t blog last week, but I am still on track! I mentioned earlier that if I missed a week of blogging, I would make up for it with two blogs the following week. So, here is one blog of two for the week!

I am always thinking of ways to improve the blog. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a name for myself. I want to become well-known as a respected writer. As I gain “fans,” I increase the chances of getting new views on apurpledayindecember.com. Here is what I have done to reach my goal:

1) I created a Facebook page. Facebook’s advertising platform is so sophisticated. I’m looking forward to building an audience and creating campaigns to drive them to the blog.

2) I got a full-time journalism job. At the end of March I will start a new job as an assistant editor at an arts and entertainment publication! This will only help my credibility as a writer.

3) I created a YouTube channel. My videos primarily showcase my opinion on new R&B and soul music. However, I hope that the audience will take me seriously as a music critic and therefore take an interest in my blog. Here is a little peek into the video series:

What album should I review next?

"Another 300 Melodies" – Unreleased Prince Music & Other Projects

What a week! I started an exciting new music journalism project (more info to come), and I came down with a terrible cold. In fact, I’m still sick, so this will be a short blog entry.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Prince’s “vault,” or vast collection of unreleased songs, albums, videos and other projects. The vault is legendary, and many fans are hoping that he will begin to share some of this material as part of his new partnership with Warner Bros.

I often wonder if I should analyze music from the vault, but I’m sticking to my decision to leave it alone. After all, the material is not readily available, and getting the material from a bootlegger would be illegal. Other biographers have heard the songs, but I don’t want to simply use their analyses and “water down” my book.

However, I am interested in some projects that were released but are just rare. One example is the ballet featuring Prince’s music. Additionally, I keep hearing about documentaries that were made about Prince. I have to find out if they were official or unofficial…

Well, I need to go take some Nyquil. Be back next week!

What is your favorite unreleased Prince project?

"Soul Psychodelicide" – The Graffiti Bridge Album

I have great news! After giving myself a much-needed pep talk, I locked myself in my house on Saturday and finally hammered out my analysis of the “Batman” movie and album. Now, all I have to do is write about the reception of the album, and Prince’s 1990 “Nude” tour, and chapter 10 will be done (for the most part)!

The next step will be to add to my list of interviews. Then, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I will analyze the “Graffiti Bridge” movie. Like the film, the soundtrack contains a lot of spiritual themes, and I’m really looking forward to exploring them.

As you know, if I absolutely had to choose my favorite track on the album, I would pick “The Question of U.” However, I pretty much love everything except the songs by The Time (sorry, guys) and the title track (a little too “syrupy”). Can we take a moment to applaud Mavis Staples‘ performance on “Melody Cool?” By the way, I am dying to see her new documentary on HBO, which will feature an appearance by Prince. I don’t have cable, so I’m having my dad record it for me. I still have to get over his house to watch the Michael Jackson “Off the Wall” doc.

Speaking of “The Gloved One,” I’m going to an MJ tribute concert tonight, and I have more plans Saturday and Sunday. It looks like I’ll be getting back to my book on Monday, but I’m not stressing about it! I’m happy with my progress, and I have a feeling I’ll be knocking out another chunk of writing very soon!

What are your favorite tracks on Graffiti Bridge?

"Have You Had Your Plus Sign Today?" – Encouraging Myself

There is no time. If I had my way, I would be writing my book 24/7. However, I don’t have a publishing contract yet, and I have bills, so I need to work. I need to wash my dishes. I need to go to physical therapy twice a week. I need (and want) to spend time with my family and friends. So, there is no time.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I had so many good intentions. I even bought a cool new calendar to keep of track of them:

However, I find myself behind schedule, upset and embarrassed, especially when people ask me how the book is coming and what is taking me so long. So, I’m going to encourage myself as I have done time and time again. I’ve made a brief list of some positive points.
  1. This blog entry about my book is two days late, but it’s done, and I’m still sticking to my 52-blog challenge.
  2. People are interested in what I have to say. This week, I received legitimate comments on a blog entry for the first time in a couple years! Additionally, one of my sister’s friends starting following me on Twitter, and expressed that she is really looking forward to my book.
  3. It doesn’t matter when the book gets done; it just matters that it gets done. This is pretty much my life’s work, and I’m a winner as long as I finish. I’m demonstrating a strong commitment to a project that is important to me.
  4. All of my hard work is not in vain; if I can affect one person with my book, I have succeeded. 
I hope this blog post encourages someone else who is struggling to achieve their dreams. We are going to make it!

How do you encourage yourself? 

"I Scan My Computer" – Newspaper Reasearch

In one of my past blog posts, I mentioned that I study a select view publications as part of my research process.

Back at Ohio University, I’d printed all of the Prince articles I needed–up until about 1990. Well, now that I’m almost finished covering Prince’s ’80s period, it’s time to head back to the library.

I seriously thought I was going to have to use a microfilm machine, which allows you to read documents stored on film. I was on campus only six years ago, but I had to use that machine to get my articles for the book. I’m actually proud to say I know how to use it.

Luckily, my local library gives me free access to research databases, so I can just download PDFs. However, I just found out that the library doesn’t carry one of the publications beyond 1992. I need articles through the year 2004! Perhaps a librarian will direct me to another place where the micofilm machine will make a comeback!

What a riveting blog post, right? Well, writing a book is full of boring research moments. Welcome to my world…

Have you used a microfilm machine?

"Are There Really Angels?" – The Graffiti Bridge Movie

It is taking me so long to get through my research for chapter ten of my book. I haven’t even had a chance to write my analysis of the “Batman” movie and album.

In the near future, I hope to review another Prince-affiliated movie: “Graffiti Bridge,” which was released in 1990. Prince wrote, directed and starred in the film. It is a really important expression of his spirituality.

Yes, that is a VHS cassette. Yes, I have a VCR. I bought this tape thirteen years ago when I was rediscovering Prince. Wow.

I used to watch “Graffiti Bridge” over and over as a kid. In fact, I knew about that movie before “Purple Rain.” I’m looking forward to re-watching it for the book. Here are three of my favorite things about the film:

  1. The guest appearances: A lot of stars are in the movie, including a young Tevin Campbell. I grew up listening to his music, so seeing him takes me back to my childhood. I also love that Mavis Staples is in the movie. I think it’s really cool that Prince praises older artists whom he admires, and collaborates with them.
  2. The comedy: A lot of people would characterize “Graffiti Bridge” as cheesy, but that is part of its charm. One of my favorite parts: Prince is performing “Tick, Tick, Bang,” and his rivals, The Time, are purposely looking bored. I think Jimmy Jam or Terry Lewis is even playing a Game Boy. It’s just so random and funny.
  3. The music: Many Prince fans say that the decline of Prince’s creativity began post “Lovesexy” with albums such as the “Graffiti Bridge” soundtrack. However, I really enjoy a lot of the songs. I will discuss the album more in a future blog post. 
Do you like the Graffiti Bridge movie? What is your favorite part?

"We Can Fix This Situation" – Organizing My Notes

I’m proud of myself; prior to writing this blog tonight, I spent three hours working on the book!

In addition to writing, I also need to organize my notes. Back in July, I mentioned that I have a document of notes that I take while I’m conducting my research. That document is 45 pages long (yikes)!

I also have notes in my Gmail account. I’ve been getting Prince-related Google Alerts for years now, and I have not done a good job of pulling info from them and deleting them as I go along. Also, when I get a random idea for the book, I often e-mail it to myself. There are probably dozens of those e-mails just sitting there.

Finally, I take notes on my iPhone. I haven’t done anything with those.


My goal is to take all of these notes and organize them in an Excel file. Each tab will represent a different category. For example, one tab might say “Potential Sources” and another might say “Prince Quotes.” Obviously, this is going to take a long time. I plan to spend a little bit of time on this project each week so I don’t get distracted from writing.

Going forward, I need to stick to one note-taking method. I still like writing things down, so I’m going to purchase a small notepad (purple, of course), and keep it with me at all times. Then, I’ll either use those notes right away or transfer them to the Excel file as soon as possible.

Say a prayer for me.