How bloggers make me better


I was asked, recently, for the first time in quite a while, why I read blogs. Not why I write one--my desire to hear myself talk is apparently self-explanatory--but why I read them. In particular, my questioner was curious as to why I read personal blogs, since those are my favorites. I don't read political blogs, and the single-topic blogs I read (mostly fashion blogs) are far outweighed by personal ones. Why? Isn't it just voyeurism, a legitimized way to peek in on other people's lives?

Sometimes, it is. I own that. I love posts that show the contents of someone else's handbag or closet or fridge. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing the mundane details of other people's realities. But there's something beyond that, too. And one part of it is that I am inspired by the bloggers I read. When other people blog about their own paths, their struggles, the ways in which they are trying to better themselves and live their best lives, it inspires me to do the same thing.

In the hopes that I can share a little piece of that with all of you, as well as thanking some of my favorite bloggers for what they are teaching me, I thought I'd give some examples:

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: Walk Slowly, Live Wildly is written by Sara, a dread-headed, unschooling, Jesus-loving mama to two little girls who spent a large part of the last few years traveling the country with her family in a veggie-oil powered RV. Sara and I are very, very different. I rarely come away from reading her blog, however, without feeling better about life. Sara creates beauty wherever she is, both externally (her photos of her living spaces blow me away) and from within. Sara inspires me to cultivate beauty in my life.

Chookooloonks: I've told you before how much I love Karen, the blogger behind Chookooloonks. Probably more than any other single blogger, Karen inspires me to be better. She writes so honestly about her own journey that I can't help but try harder in my own life. I am struck by Karen's constant state of grace, both in person and in her writing and photography. There is a peace and serenity about her, an inherent kindness, towards which I am absolutely inspired to strive. I pretty much want to be Karen when I grow up.

Surrender, Dorothy: I saw Surrender, Dorothy's Rita speak at BlogHer last year, and I was immediately a fan girl. There is something so completely endearing about her, and it comes through in her blog as well as in her speaking. Rita is honest about the ways in which her life is hard, about the ways in which she is unsure, and about the things with which she has trouble. Her courage in facing these things, which may seem incidental but are so not, on a public forum like a blog inspires me every time I read one of her posts.

Suburban Bliss: I've been reading Melissa's blog, Suburban Bliss, for a long time. It is one of the few of the original "mommy blogs" I started reading that is still in my reader. Why? Because Melissa moves me. She approaches her life, including its trials, with levity. Even when things are hard, they are still absurd, still funny. Her posts make me laugh, and also inspire me to focus on finding the humor in my own trying situations.

The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom: Shannon's is another blog I've been reading for years, and it's probably my #1 most recommended blog to other people. Shannon is absolutely a force of nature, with energy and intelligence and compassion that we could all use just a fraction of. She's one of my very biggest inspirations when I think about what it means to be a good mother. I strive to engage the world with even a part of her ferocity.

So there it is--my answer, for now, for why I spend a good chunk of every day reading other people's self-published words. Because it makes me better.


Amen and woot to this. It sort of is funny that people would ask why you read personal blogs. Does anyone question reading personal essays when published by mainstream media? I can only imagine how that would affect David Sedaris's career if people felt that way. :)

Aw. Love back to you too, my dear. Can't believe how long it's been! Are you going to BlogHer this summer? I didn't get to see enough of you in NYC.

I am so honored and touched that I can't find words right now.

Aw, thanks so much, friend. You're pretty spectacular yourself.

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