blogs worth reading: because most of them, quite frankly, blow

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Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo. Text my own.

Those who know me well know I’ve strong opinions about bloggers. I started blogging in 2000, back when people had just recovered from the detritus otherwise known as Geocities and wanted a clean space to tell great stories. I had a blogspot address (the name of which now escapes me) and I wrote about everything from the food I craved to the alcohol I really wanted to stop craving. Forever skirting the edges of things, I found my home in the online space because it was filled with people like me: zine-lovers, book-readers, misfits and people who had something to say. Nobody really paid attention to the motley lot who shared very personal aspects of their lives so publicly. For a time, we were largely left alone.

As the years passed I would also sit on the business side of the screen, and I was someone who once pitched bloggers in 2005 to someone who lead teams that pitched bloggers to someone who didn’t want to read another blog ever again. The stories gave way to inclusive communities, stylized websites and people who placed a premium on building their brand and optimizing their “content” (I’m fucking shuddering here as I type this) over offering a piece of themselves, wholly and authentically, to others. Suddenly, authenticity went from being a noun to a buzzword, and many bloggers who had done well for themselves penned lengthy posts on being authentic for your audience, but this often gets lost, or conflicts with, advice on how to style your Instagram photos and ensuring Photoshop and Reward Style are your best friends. Present your life, authentically, but be pretty about it. Because no one is going to like a grainy photo of your happiness when they can fawn over a stark image of a gleaming laptop, a monogrammed coffee mug (marred by a dot of berry lip color, because you do sip, of course) and freshly-manicured blooms.

As if one lives this way. As if these artifacts of a life represent a life. Please. I have a watch; I know what time it is.

I’ve written about the need for bloggers to act right, to fuck “content” writing, and to stop the proliferation of the bullshit aesthetic (it’s a fucking disease, I tell you), so I won’t bore you with another rant. I will tell you that I don’t read many blogs anymore, simply for the fact that they’re affiliate farms under the guise of the girl who’s your best friend. I don’t read them because scrolling through sponsored post after sponsored post is akin to getting my teeth extracted with a butter knife. I don’t read them because the act of storytelling becomes a highlighted post of the week instead of the norm. And I don’t read them because scores of people with no real business experience are trying to play the role of marketers (making my job as an executive consultant harder) without actually understanding that marketing is a real discipline and building a global brand goes far beyond pitching other bloggers.

That having been said, there are a pile of people in the online space who are knocking the socks right off my feet. Inspired by Hitha’s post, I’m listing a few bloggers who are worth reading. By the by, Hitha’s blog is worth bookmarking.

  • Mark Manson: Whenever I get the urge to get off my rocker and yell about kids today, I remember there are people like Mark Manson who are sharing real truth and insight that makes you really think about your life. Through storytelling, cultural references and a bit of humor thrown in for good measure, Manson manages to distill many of life’s tough questions into life learnings. I know that may sound trite, but I always come away from reading Mark’s articles wanting to BE BETTER. You read the “Art of Not Giving a Fuck” (that kitten, though) and try arguing with me.
  • Stripes and Sequins, soon to be The Stripe: While so many bloggers are getting it wrong, Grace is RIGHT. I met Grace through mutual friends on Twitter, and I loved her blog because I always had this feeling of discovery when I visited her space. From beauty products to workouts to travel destinations I need to hit, Grace has an unassuming way about herself and the infectious way in which she shares the things she loves. It’s rare that I’ll visit a site and feel as if I’m always discovering something new, and Grace has balanced the line of blog and business with integrity.
  • Jenny Purr: I need to send an orange kitten to the person who introduced me to Jenny Purr, because her blog is the BUSINESS. Built for bloggers and creatives, Jenny offers smart, thoughtful advice on being your best self online. While so many other bloggers have penned articles about finding their voice, growing their space, and making the most out of what they’ve created, Jenny manages to dole out advice that is fresh and free of jargon.
  • Girl Lost in the City: Truth be told, I found Emma because she found me. However, I’m glad to have stumbled onto her space because her writing is razor sharp and witty. Not only is she a tireless evangelist of people she loves, I’ve discovered so many resources and voices that have made my daily life richer. My favorite posts so far have been, “How Much of Our Success is Down to Luck” and “Why You Should Write Even if You Feel Uninspired”.
  • The Fielding Report: I just love Emily’s blog, I really do. It’s such a delight to click over and learn about all the articles she’s reading, progress on her journey to mindful living and health, and tune into her impeccable taste in home decor (I mean, her favorite color is BLUE, and in BLUE we trust). I don’t often comment on her space because, for me, it feels intrusive. I love settling into her blog and quietly enjoying it, simply for the fact that she puts so much care into what she publishes.
  • Talulaah: I dare you to read Petra’s blog because you will get sucked into a void for hours. Hers is a rabbit hole down which I want to tumble. Her images tell the most powerful stories, and her introspective, honest and lean prose style really keeps me paging through. I’ve long envied and admired her travel adventures, but I’m mostly drawn to how she sees the world, and that, I think, is the mark of a great writer.
  • I also frequently update my blogroll, so click over for a laundry list of my daily reads.

    20 thoughts on “blogs worth reading: because most of them, quite frankly, blow

    1. Thank you for shedding light on what I can see are going to be some of my new favorite blogs to explore! This is actually my first time commenting on your blog (I also don’t comment too much because it feels intrusive), however your last few posts have truly resonated with me, so I felt compelled to comment today.

      I’ve blogged on and off for the past few years and just started up again with the hope that this time around I can look at my blog as an outlet, a place to tell stories, start conversations and spread some of my truth with those who care to read. I’m tired of the overly curated “authentic” life that you wrote about, so I’m aiming to just write what comes to my heart and mind, put it out there and let the rest of the blogging crap go. Thank you for the inspiration to do that.

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    2. I love Emma’s blog too! Girl Lost in the City has been one of my favourites for a few years now, and I’m always finding interesting articles and books to read through her posts. I’ll definitely be checking out the others on this list as well 🙂

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    3. I’m honored to be mentioned with these other incredible websites. There’s so much noise and clutter in the blog and social media worlds, and I truly appreciate it when you take the time to share my content. Yours is one of the few websites in my ‘must-reads’ tabs in my Feedly, and reading your pieces inspire me to grow as a writer. I’m honored to know you and call you a friend.

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    4. Okay, I’m going to restrain myself from going all fan-girl on you and just say Thank You! I truly mean that. Reading your writing has really helped light a fire under me to share my own thoughts and to improve the way I do that. Writing is a tough beast, but one you wrangle passionately and eloquently.
      On another note, I’ve read so many posts on authenticity that I’m going to claw my eye balls out at the next one. I.just.can’t. They’re so contrived and devoid of substance that I just can’t ever find a point; I read them hoping someone is going to finally reach one, but I’m left shaking my head as they inevitably promote their brand. Ann there we go! See the inspiration you provide? 😊

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      1. Or when authenticity is immediately followed by a brand sponsor. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not knocking people who are trying to make a buck off their blog, it’s just that I worry about HOW they’re doing it, if they’re sacrificing their integrity in pursuit of some kind of nebulous microfame, which, ironically is fleeting. The fame flickers and fades faster than one took to achieve it. So why not be your honest self? That’s character, and character can’t be bought or compromised (this is the idealist in me speaking).

        I’m happy there are voices like yours out there. Keep on, Emily!

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    5. felicia, thank you so so so much for including me in this mix. your opinion is one of the ones that matters to me… and i can’t tell you how honored i am! xo

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    6. Thanks for the suggestions! Really cant wait to check them out. I’ve never truly stuck to blogging, but i’ve read many other blogs and instantly fell in live with the concept of expressing yourself.

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