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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

(You're my) Soul and Inspiration: A Hump Day Hmm

This week...it's all about the other guy (or gal). One of the greatest things we all say we find in blogging is community. What post, blog or blogger has inspired you? It could have been a comment, a post, something someone did. Perhaps you've become friends. Big or small, if it moved you and caused you to take action in your own life, tell us about it. Tell us what inspired you, and then let us know the story from there---your story.

I first read this question as something like "Who has inspired you as a blogger?," and that's a tough one. That is, it's tough to answer in just one post. I've been inspired by bloggers who respond to all of their comments, who create memes and projects to bring bloggers together, and who post interesting, thought-provoking, plain good writing. If a blog is in my blogroll, it's probably because in one way or another, the blogger inspires me.

Then I realized I wasn't interpreting the question correctly. This is about moving beyond the blog, outside the Internet - being inspired in the rest of your life thanks to something you read, or someone you "met," in the blogiverse. I could tell you about a few such people - and I will, but I will violate normal blog protocol and not link to them. I don't want to embarrass anyone, even in a nice way - and without links, you might think I'm talking about you (and maybe I am!).

I began blogging here over a year ago, and as I've mentioned before, my initial impetus for doing so was to keep a record of my reading. As I began finding my way around to other bloggers, I quickly learned that this was far from an original idea - the book bloggers community is BIG. No matter what you love to read - mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, children's lit, chick lit, general fiction, history, memoir, social commentary, cookbooks, graphic novels (OK, that's enough itemizing for now!), or a cross-genre range of books - you can find other people reading it too, and talking about it. The book bloggers community is also very open and welcoming; even though in some ways I'm probably not a full-fledged member, since I don't stick to just "reading" here (hence the "randomness"), I don't feel like I'm just hovering on the fringes of the group, and I appreciate that. My book-blogging friends have piqued my interest in some books I might not have otherwise considered reading; they're always up for a good discussion; and they have inspired me to become a better reader (and writer) by influencing me in reading more carefully and critically, and in attempting to articulate more effectively my thoughts on that reading. Check out my "Blogroll: For the Books" a little ways down the sidebar to meet some of these inspiring folks, and see what they've been reading lately.

I sort my Google Reader feeds into folders in my attempt to keep them from exploding, and one folder that gets updated frequently is labeled "issues and commentary." The bloggers that get sorted there make me think about the issues of the day - politics, feminism, the economy - and to express those thoughts and opinions, either in posts here or in comments back to them. They're helping me become a more knowledgeable and conscientious voter, and a more thoughtful citizen.

There is one person I've come to know via the blogiverse who falls into neither of the categories I've mentioned, but she is one of the most inspiring and influential people I've "met" in the last year, and I consider her a friend, although we live in opposite corners of the continent and may never meet in person. We're in similar places in our personal lives - same age range, older kids, in second marriages with stepchildren - but our work lives are quite different. I have watched her begin to transition from a very unrelated field to a full-time writing/blogging career over the last year, and as I see her work appear more and more places, I am happy and excited for her. She has an identifiable voice and style regardless of where she's publishing, and always expresses herself well; I love not only reading what she has to say, but I enjoy the way she says it, and that gives me insights I might be able to apply to my own writing. I'm also watching the way she develops this new career, because it gives me thoughts about how I might approach a similar transition of my own...someday.

Reading high-quality writing is always an inspiration to improve my own, and practice is always necessary! I've also been inspired as a writer by the bloggers who organize writing projects like this one - they give me new ideas and encourage my development. (And I'm not saying that just to suck up to Julie!)

Is there anyone, or anything you've read, in the blog world that has inspired you in some way other than in what you do on your blog? Share it here in the comments if you like - or write your own post about it and share it there!

12 comments:

  1. Hi Florinda, what a lovely, thoughtful post! I've been influenced and inspired by so many bloggers.. I may give this more thought and post on it in a few days.

    BTW your guest post for me will go up a this afternoon. Thanks again, it's a wonderful post.

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  2. Actually my wife found one the other day. Unfortunately she was on her work laptop so I don't have the address. Anyway, it's a new blog that a guy started when his wife was going in to give birth, but she died the day after the baby was born. It made us realize how lucky we have been.

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  3. LisaMM - I'll link back to your blog once the guest post is up.

    Thanks for the topic idea really belong to Julie Pippert - but if it's inspired you to post on this theme too, that's great!

    Mike - Sometimes we find perspective in unexpected places. Give us a link to that blog if you think about it, would you please?

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  4. I posted my thoughts on this question at my site!

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  5. PlanetBooks - Thanks for participating - I related a lot to what you said in your post.

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  6. Great post, Florinda!
    Reading and curiosity are the main thing that got me starting my blog. I remember I haven't been getting any replies during the first few posts, but later I began to explore other book blogs and left some comments and it's also great that other readers are beginning to notice my blog so this is how it begins! I am so glad to know many new friends through this blogging stuff! :)

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  7. There is no easy way to express the way the community can reach out and enrich us but this post is as great an explanation of that as any I've read!

    So glad to hear your thoughts and so glad you participate in this---and see how you inspired more people!

    So cool

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  8. Melody - Very true; sometimes we have to go out to find other bloggers, and lead them back to us via our comments :-). That's actually how I found your blog, since you comment regularly on many of the book blogs I keep up with!

    Julie - I have to admit, seeing other people get inspired by this post is a very nice surprise. I even read another book blogger's post yesterday that wasn't part of the Hump Day Hmm, but mentioned some of the same things.

    I have to check out some of the other Hmms, but this was a great topic - thanks!

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  9. Here is a link to the blog I was telling you about.

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  10. Thank you, Florinda! :) I'm glad I've found a new friend and another booklover I can 'talk' and share our views.

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  11. Like you, I started my book blog to catalogue what I was reading and ended up meeting so many wonderful people! What an unexpected a precious treat you all are to me! I have also been challenged by the quality of writing in some of the blogs, they are just fantastic!

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  12. Mike - Thanks for the link. That's an amazing blog, and it's going into my Google Reader feeds tonight.

    Melody - I've been reading your blog regularly for a while now, so I'm glad you found your way here :-)!

    Jaimie - I absolutely agree. The community aspect wasn't really expected, but I'm so happy that it's a part of the blogging experience!

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Now it's YOUR turn - speak your piece, please! Or just let me know you were here; I always like that. But you'll have to leave a name - I've disallowed anonymous comments due to some recent spam problems. Thanks!