Thursday, December 06, 2007


A few days (weeks?) ago, the wonderful and ever-generous Glamourpuss nominated me for the "Roar for Powerful Words" award. The people who get this award are required to list three things that they consider vital for good writing. They then must pass the award on to five others.

So, here we go. First off, here are three things that I consider vital for good writing:

1. Thought: Not to get too florid about this, but every art begins with raw materials, to which it applies tools. In the case of writing, particularly blogging, I think the raw materials are day-to-day life events, and the key tool is thought. Everyone has things happen to them, but good writers apply thought to those events. They look for connections, seek significance, and draw conclusions. In short, they turn the quotidian happenings of life into something transcendent and meaningful.*

Or, at least, they try to do so.

2. Humor: Another thing to consider is the fact that most of the events of daily life are not all that happy. Most of life is a struggle, and we often have to look hard to find moments of beauty, happiness, or humor. Good writers, though, are willing to go through that struggle. They work hard to find ways to laugh at themselves and the world around them. Sometimes the humor is light, and sometimes it is black as a cat's ass in an unlighted mine, but it's always there if we've got the energy to look for it.

3. Editing: Okay, as somone who tends to ramble, I should probably just keep my mouth shut, but I really appreciate writers who carefully edit their work. By doing so, they tend to add structure and energy to their writing and, generally, keep me from getting bored.

I clearly need to work on this.

And here are five writers who really impress the hell out of me:

1. Hearts in San Francisco is not only an outstanding writer, but she also demonstrates the three things I mentioned above. Her energetic, thoughtful writing often finds humor in the most unlikely places. Sometimes it's heart-wrenching, but it's always amazing.

2. In his blog, Mystic Wing records his daily struggles with finding balance in his life, coming to terms with his own weaknesses, and generally striving to uncover meaning. He seems inclined to view himself as an oldster, but I think that his struggle to learn keeps his mind pretty young.

3. I've only recently started regularly reading Echomouse, but I've already found her to be a thoughtful and energetic read. Her ability to honestly and bravely examine her emotions really blows me away.

4. Lex at On Second Thought has also been exploring a lot of things that most people take for granted. Sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always honest, her blog shows me how the online space can really become a little extra area for us to deal with our internal realities.

5. CEO of The Morning Meeting has had a pretty tough year, what with the deaths of friends and pets, not to mention health problems and construction issues. Through it all, he's taken the time to throw out a lot of support for his fellow bloggers. He's also tried to use his words to work through his pain, which, I think is the whole point.

*I really, really wanted to use the word "quotidian." My day feels complete now.

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