Okay, I’m flattered

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What is this shiny logo floating above today’s post, you ask? The excellent blogger Sean Ferrell has tagged my site for a Thinking Blogger Award, and I must say, I am extremely flattered. It’s a prize given to bloggers by other bloggers – specifically, by those who have won it before – writers who know from personal experience the joys and tribulations of opening oneself up in this unique way.

What makes me particularly happy about this is that the award is not merely given to well-written blogs willy-nilly: the rules specify that it should be bestowed upon blogs that made the nominator THINK. I couldn’t be more tickled, really, because I try very hard to make my posts thought-provoking, and it’s nice to know that a writer of Sean’s caliber recognized that.

Part of the award certainly belongs to the readers who have written in with comments – which I encourage everyone to do. You have helped expand this space from one person’s spouting off into a community for writers; thank you. Especially those of you who have suggested topics for posts or who have challenged me. I believe – and I hope the blog consistently illustrates this – that one of the primary gifts of the Internet is its ability to bring people together to share opinions.

Okay, enough of the Oscarsâ„¢ speech; on to the nominations. In addition to getting to display this nifty little virtual plaque, recipients of the Thinking Blog Award are allowed to select 5 future winners. Only five! Where to begin?

I have been agonizing over the choice for the past week.

Seriously, it’s hard – there are a LOT of great blogs out there. First, I thought I would stick entirely to bloggers who, like myself, write on writing. But part of the purpose of this process is to introduce my readers to other blogs, and I know (via that most reliable of sources, a little bird) that many of those of you kind enough to visit here also visit other writing sites. Time to set my sites wider.

So I sat down and made a list of blogs that gave great practical advice, and another list of those whose writers made the mouth water with great writing packed with sensual details, and another of ones that stood out to me as being especially good at generating reader response…

97 nominees later, I decided I needed to simplify my criteria just a bit.

The list below represents a cross-section of blogs that I think deserve a wider readership. Thought-provoking and well-written, they cover a broad array of subject matter, from the ultra-practical matter of feeding oneself to the philosophical questions of everyday life. Best of all, each has changed my mind about something, big or small, through a post. Here they are:

Jordan’s Muse: those of you who were reading Author! Author! last summer probably remember Jordan Rosenfeld’s guest blogs; she’s the upbeat writer, editor, and writing teacher who cheers us up when the road to publication gets long, urging us to concentrate upon what we want to achieve, rather than the slings and arrows of rejection. We could all use more cheerleaders for the art like this.

Orangette: I’m a HUGE fan of good food writing; having done it (under a nom de plume), I know from experience how difficult it is to convey the sensations of taste, aroma, and texture well on the page. Orangette’s writing is delightful, of course, but for me, what makes her blog stand above the many other excellent food blogs out there is how well she writes about the recipes that DON’T work out – this is definitely not a blog written by someone pretending to be the perfect chef. She makes me laugh, cook, AND think, a potent combination.

Greentime: technically, Rhett Aultman and Amy Hale’s provocative (and relatively new) site is a vlog, but it includes enough good writing that I feel justified in including it. Concentrating upon practical environmentalism, Greentime combines great discussions with solid research. I can honestly say that this site has made a difference in how I live my life on a day-to-day basis.

Dude, Why Do You Have a Winnowing Fork? After my save-the-world last choice, I wanted my next nominee to be pure joy — and given my comic predilections, I could hardly not have included a funny blog, could I? Polly Tropia’s site is in many ways the Platonic blog: it ranges all over the place; it’s thoughtful, and it’s often laugh-out-loud funny. (Her post “No Atheists in Bed” is a particular favorite of mine.)

Lifehack: is a reliably thought-provoking blog devoted to the practicalities of organizing one’s life and time, always a big issue for every writer. While it is a trifle visually busy, if you have ever found yourself procrastinating for more than a day or two on a big writing project, you should run, not walk, to this helpful Australian site. Although Lifehack does regularly take on the big self-help books’ myths on productivity, it primarily concentrates upon pointed, hands-on particulars that actually can help you clear time and desk space to work on your next book.

Congratulations, all 5: you have been tagged for a Thinking Blogger Award. If you find your site on this list, here’s what you should do:

1. If (and ONLY) if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Please, remember to tag blogs with real merits (i.e., relative content) and above all – blogs that really get you thinking!

2. In that post, link the award site so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award. It’s also nice if you post a comment on the Thinking Blog’s site with a link to the post that you wrote, so its list of winners can remain current.

To all of these bloggers, to all of my readers, and especially to Sean Ferrell, keep up the good work!

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