Emerline Ji

The Odd Tape Project

Good LivingEmerline Ji

TLDR: The Odd Tape Project is a 12-week lifestyle and writing series in which I'll reflect on and attempt to transform my daily lifestyle habits. Posts will be published and shared every Wednesday morning. Each post will be tied with the track titles of The Odd Tape, one of my all-time favorite instrumental albums by Oddisee. Instagram hashtag: #OddTapeProject


Ever since I started attending Writeshop Wednesdays, I started to feel like I wanted to create a personal writing project that I could commit to for a set period of time. A writing project that had a clear enough purpose for me to be excitedly working on each week when in Writeshop. Did I want to write a short story? Do I write random blog posts here and there? 



I arrived to the coffee shop for Writeshop Wednesday on April 19th just like any other Writeshop morning — a little late, tired, but excited to write. I had checked twice before leaving my house that I'd brought my charger for my laptop... only to discover at the coffee shop that (yes, I know I'm an idiot) I'd forgotten my laptop. I hadn't even brought a notebook, so I felt instantly aimless about figuring out how I would write. 

Ugh, did I at least have a pen on me? YES! SMALL VICTORY. Was there anything (even just a napkin) I could write on? As I looked around the café, I realized that a lot of the tables had green rolling papers set up on them to serve the purposes of easy-to-use placemats. In fact I was sitting at one of those tables. So as you're probably guessing, the next thing I did was very writerly and dramatic... Yup. I began to furiously write my jumbled thoughts onto the rolling paper right in front of me.


In an effort to focus better, I plugged my earphones into my phone and listened to one of my favorite instrumental albums called The Odd Tape. And as I listened to Oddisee's beautifully crafted narrative of sounds, I wrote about something that had been on my mind for quite some time — the power of being fully immersed in processes. For quite some time, I'd been struggling with the tensions that came with being overly fixated on results. It was a stressful way of being for me because I'd never been the type of person to do well under purely end result driven pressure. I'm someone who's much better at getting things done when I'm fully immersed in the process of doing the thing.

My various work environments and readings in recent years had reconditioned me to get fixated on "shipping." Many of my friends, colleagues, and I are deep in the culture of shipping. Getting shit done. Putting things out into the world. Fail fast, fail hard. Learn quick, adapt. Ship, ship, ship. (Just saying all these buzz phrases and words has me tired.)

If you're confused by what I mean by shipping, it's a word that a lot of people have begun to use to describe 'getting your work out there and done.' Just like shipping a physical package and getting it out into the world, project creators say they want to 'ship' their project into being. For example, I could say that I want to just 'ship' and get a blog post published. I'm not 100% sure where this usage of the word came from or how far it's reached people in other industries, but 'shipping' is used a lot in my current circles.

Okay, rewind back to the scribbling. So I was writing all of these frustrations down onto these green sheets of paper when I began to see that I'd become so pressured by having to be the kind of person that 'ships' all the time that I'd lost touch with my natural way of working. But when I tried to explore the other reasons contributing to the shift, I realized that the problem was beyond workflow. And as with all things, my 'flow state' felt off because the context it sits in is off as a whole — my daily lifestyle.


With this series, I want to write honestly about the habits that are somewhat baked into how I'm living these days. There are some that are pretty good and there are some that are probably not a good idea at all. (Like how I chew sugary gum every morning after waking up.)

Why am I writing about it though? In college, I had a writing professor who once said, "Writing is thinking. Do you ever get stuck with knowing how to think? Rarely. If you can think, you can write." This has stayed with me. As someone who believes in the magic of intentionally envisioning dreams into reality, I'm curious to see how writing about my weekly experiments will help bring my ideal lifestyle flow into being.

Taken by lovely Tara. 

Taken by lovely Tara


I'll follow up this post before the end of this week with another one that'll dive deeper into looking at the brilliance of The Odd Tape, Oddisee, and how it has anything to do with this project. Stay tuned!

P.S. If you want to sign up for updates, I've finally created a mailing list for this blog. You can subscribe here. I'll do my best to keep the letters thoughtful, succinct, and personal. 

~ Crafted at #WriteshopWeds ~