Life is short. There are only so many hours in the day to spend reading stuff on the internet. Here we take six recent inspirations and share them with you.
Not a definitive list by any means. Just some of what we’ve been reading lately and finding useful and consistently great. In no particular order:
Okay, so technically she’s our competition, but Angie Nikoleychuk’s blog is something we look forward to arriving in our inbox. You just know it’s going to be current, useful content. Angie obviously works hard on her blog (unlike a lot of people who are just going through the motions and recycling information because they read somewhere that “you have to have a blog!”) and she finds just the right balance between self promotion and great information. Her recent article about Post-Penguin Google update content tips is essential reading for anyone who has a website and is trying to “do SEO”.
And Angie isn’t shy about recommending other cool stuff she’s found around the web that will help improve your writing, like the weird and wonderful Depressed Copywriter.
Jeff Goins has built up a huge following with his inspirational pieces aimed at aspiring writers. One of his most popular pieces, Stop Waiting to be Picked, has resonated for many budding writers, and inspired them to take that next leap along their dream career paths. Jeff’s pieces are short and punchy, and more than a little wistful, which is a refreshing change from much of the results-focused writing on the web today.
Maria Popova, the editor of Brain Pickings, sums up what the site is about better than we ever could:
“Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.”
Write to done is a great all-round resource for writers. There is a particular emphasis on blogging and web writing, but there’s also lots of great stuff about finding motivation as a writer and general writing advice. This is another blog that’s not shy about giving out lots of free content, with a free Ebook called The (nearly) Ultimate Guide to Better Writing as a bonus when you subscribe.
Write to Done is edited by Mary Jaksch, whose other endeavours include Zen, psychotherapy, and Argentine tango. Now that’s hard to top!
John Carlton is a living legend in the copywriting world. Copyblogger recently did a two part interview with John for their podcast, and it was one of the most downloaded shows they’ve ever done, which is saying something. John has a sort of counter-culture thing going on, which explains why his blog is called The Rant. He’s kind of like the Bukowski of the ad world. His posts are long, but they are a study in how to write words that keep your reader captivated. One of John’s most famous ads began “Amazing Secret Discovered by One-Legged Golfer …”, and John relates how this angle came about in the above podcast interview. He explains how sometimes you have to wait for the truth or the essence of your material.
This is an aggregated collection of writing from around the web. They take articles and opinion pieces from a wide variety of highly-regarded highbrow sources and give easy access all in one place. You’re sure to find something great to read. Bear in mind though, you won’t find any lists or 500 word pieces there – it’s mostly well-thought out, comprehensive explorations of topics. But lengthy and wordy doesn’t have to mean boring; most of the articles covered on ALD are incredibly interesting. A quick scan at the time of writing of some random teasers on ALD: “Secret of Playboy’s Success”; “Willy Loman couldn’t afford a ticket to today’s Death of a Salesman, where audiences gaze upon the middle class at a smug distance …”; and “Nations are rich or poor because of government and social institutions. But the decay rate of organic matter plays a part too …”. Warning – you could lose many hours of your life going down the rabbit hole of Arts and Letters Daily; do so at your own risk!
Share some of your own favourite writing websites and blogs in the comments below.