January 13th, 2008

life is good


I was a bit flabbergasted and then completely bowled over today to get a message from my friend Marilyn telling me she'd given me a ROAR award. This is a new award to me, I hadn't heard of it before. Being the recipient of A ROAR FOR POWERFUL WORDS award comes with some stipulations. I am supposed to share 3 writing tips and then pass on the award to three more bloggers worthy of recognition and esteem.

Frankly, this sounds like a meme to me.

Curious to find out where this award originated, I started following links back. Quite quickly I found the award logo below and headed over to the Shameless Lions Writing Circle to find out what all the roaring was about.

Turns out it IS a meme. But a really nice one meant to generate traffic for those writers that we "can't live without, whose blogs we love, where we think the writing is good and powerful" and to reward good writing everywhere. The award rules here actually stipulate that as a recipient you should nominate FIVE people, but I suspect any such arbitrary number will be hard for anyone to keep to. I know so many great writers...it's almost painful to have to choose.

3 Writing Tips from Lizardek

1. Kill your darlings.
One of my writing professors gave me this advice in college. It was one of the hardest things I ever learned and I still struggle with it. Often the very bits that we are most partial to, where we fall in love with the sound of our own voice, are the very bits that slow the story or poem or essay down, and sometimes stop it dead in its tracks. Teach yourself to restrain sentimentality, especially when it comes to your writing.

2. Read it out loud.
I've found that one of the most effective ways to find the patterns of my voice and to figure out the best way to say what I REALLY want to say is to read a piece I've written out loud. It's the fastest way to hear the poor word choices, the unplanned repetitions, the phrasing that just doesn't work. It also allows you to quickly pinpoint misspellings.

3. K.I.S.S.
Keep It Simple, Stupid. The English language is chock full of synonyms, many of them flowery multi-syllabic lovelies that look and sound impressive but are not always necessary. In keeping with tip #1, quite often I find a simple, short word packs a much more powerful punch.


And now to try and choose 5 people to pass on this award to. In looking at the list of people I read daily and the journals/blogs that I am drawn to, I find that I am simply SURROUNDED by amazing people, wonderful writers and artists and poets. I don't know how to choose only five, in fact I think it's nearly impossible.

Some of the people out there doing some of the most consistently excellent writing are internet giants and blogging celebrities and get plenty of big name web awards, so I don't feel the need to reiterate how good they are (Finslippy, Julia-Hippogriffs, Dooce, Miss Doxie, Sweet Juniper, Citizen of the Month, to name just a few) by giving them an award for it.

So, the next ROAR awards go out to the following powerful wordsmiths:

This Time Around
Some writers are known for their unflinching honesty. Rée often flinches at what she writes but she never, ever manages to be anything other than honest in her searing and beautiful descriptions of her life and her inner quandaries.

Jann Arden
Listening to the lyrics of her music, you will understand why I think she's one of the most powerful writers out there, but it's her journal that actually attracted me first. I was reading and marveling at her language long before I ever heard one of her songs.

If you delight in the whimsical, the unexpected, and the beauty in comfortable, everyday things, then Jackie's storytelling and descriptions of the world around her will enthrall you just as she has so many others.

Melanie of Wee & the Wolf
One might think it's Melanie's art that holds me in thrall, and you'd be right...but it's actually her wonderfully detailed word excursions that made me fall head over heels. I only wish she'd post daily.

Christina Rosalie of My Topography
I am always uplifted here. Humbled, motivated, awestruck and deeply, deeply satisfied after every visit.

Hey! you might say. No fair! Bluepoppy is an internet giant, too! Yes, but she's a GENTLE giant and, I think, really unaware of the effect she has on those of us who come to her site and who would, if given the chance, sit in a breathless, adoring circle at her feet.

Geena of Brief Therapy
She doesn't write a LOT when she writes, but what she does write is always so full of wisdom or sparkle or just pure joy that I simply can't leave her off this list. I think everyone should not only read her, but drape her attitude and pleasure in life tightly about their shoulders. She's nothing short of a day-brightener in every single way.

Chuck Sigars
Chuck is one of my bedrocks of journaling. He's also the only person I've listed here who makes a living from his writing, which ought to tell you something. He seems to have the KISS principle (tip #3, remember?) down solid; keeping it simple and straightforward and yet at the same time, moving and provocative and interesting.


Man, I KNEW I couldn't keep it to five. And I've honestly only scraped the top of the barrel full of great writers I know and read. ROAR!
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