Ten Blogs I Love

Iíve always felt that writers, like runners, work best at specific distances. Youíve got star sprinters, superb 1500-meter runners, and born marathoners. Itís rare, though not impossible, to find someone who excels at more than one race. Likewise with writers. Some folks are better suited to write a certain lengths, or, to be more precise, in certain formats. My point is not to argue that folks who write good short pieces shouldnít try novels, or that genre masters like Stephen King couldnít, say, write a tremendous book on writing titled On Writing thatís one of my favorites. Iím just saying that itís a delight to read someone writing in the format that fits them perfectly, which serves their voice dynamically.

Which brings us to blogs (and by the way, is it just me, or do other folks think the word ďblogĒ should only be said by Steve Carell, and only in his goofiest tongue-wagging voice?) While itís commonplace for people to post links to other sites, they rarely explain why they are sending you to someone elseís cyber-place. Which both intrigues and bugs me. So hereís a bunch of blogs I read and enjoy regularly. They fit my criteria of calming me down rather than making me feel nervous. Each site invites me naturally into a conversation rather than makes me feel shut out. They continually surprise and delight me. And hopefully theyíll do the same for you.

Check em out yourself:

Tom Peters! By Tom Peters runs an exuberant blog that channels his boundless enthusiasm for great ideas and excellent business. I think of Tom Peters as a spitter, a guy who gets so excited about his topics that if you were at a speech of his heíd hock on you by accident. If anyone can wear an exclamation point well, itís him. I love his blog for the way that he uses the format to his advantage: he tends to have a rush of ideas, some big, some small, some written, some slides, some photos. And he finds a way to get them up on the board so people can talk about them. Itís a wonderful realization of what the various channels of a blog can do.

Pause by Jory des Jardins. I think of Jory as a grown-up, professional Angela Chase. Her site chronicles her life as she gets a business and marriage going. Reflective, smart, and willing to worry a personal topic until she gets it rightóto the delight of herself, which satisfies you the reader. To me the key feature of this blog is the writing itself, which is wonderful, and keeps you going as you discover what Jory does.

Design Observer by a gang of several writers. The best site for good thinking, writing, and linking to cool design.

Lean Manufacturing Blog by Mark Graban. Great sites often have great links, and Markís serves as a tutorial on staying current with a topic thatís in the news. I donít know where he gets the energy, frankly. He blogs on all things lean, and if you donít know what this term means, then a) visit his site, and b) wait till later in the month when I discuss it (can I do a link to a future post? Donít think so. Memo to self: think of a nifty way to create a link to a future post.) Mark (who now has a great conspirator Jamie Flinchburg) manages to post at least once a day, and few (actually, none) of the pieces are filler. I see his site as a great example of someone with authority and insight on a specific topic, but who provides the greatest value (for me, that is, as a reader) by creating the links, raising the questions, and letting people think through the meaning of the material themselves.

By Ken Levine by Ken Levine: man, this guy just enjoys writing. A veteran television writer, heís got a lot to say. And a lifetime of great stories to share. And clearly not enough places to write whatís on his mind. Hence the awesome blog. I always want to read what he has to say, and he obliges by posting daily.

Jane Espenson by, duh. Another television writerís site. Again, a joy to read because of the sharp, funny, and insightful writing. What I love in particular about this blog is her devotion to craft. Espenson provides a daily lesson on problem-solving in writing, always making her case with great examples that teach by, well, example.

Answer Girl by Ellen Clair Lamb. I confess: the author of this site, Ellen, is one of my best friends in the world; and I had a slight hand in getting it launched several years ago. No matter, since even if I didnít know her I would have been hooked on day one of her initial yearís postings: she took the conceit of citing one great movie line every day, saying where it came from, and then related it to her life. After a year of that, Ellen did a daily exercise of explaining and relating to a technical term that has crept into the lingua franca. Sheís on hiatus this month (go through the archives, you will lose yourself for hours) and starts a new vehicle on the site come September.

The Warren Reports by Professor Elizabeth Warren and crew. My next book deals with the epidemic of debt plaguing our country. This site has the best and most meaningful commentary and links about whatís happening. And Warren is one of my favorite writers about economic issues.

800ceoread blog. Guilty again of nepotism. I helped in a minor way to get this site launched, and I contribute as often as I can. Itís the closest thing to a second home I have on the web.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog, or TUAW. Perfectly functional. I canít name any of the specific authors at this site for all who love all things Apple, but I can certainly identify the voice from twelve flat screens away. The guys who post here all love their Apples, and what I love is that despite the fact that I am an absolute amateur (despite spending my computer life on Apples), I read every last thing here, coming away with the impression that yeah, if I really had the time I could this stuff.

Posted by tom at August 3, 2006 02:28 PM

Tom! Thanks for the props. Having read your book the feeling is mutual. And it looks like we both love the book "On Writing." BTW: I've taken your advice on my book and am rejiggering.

Posted by: Jory Des Jardins on August 4, 2006 01:11 AM
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