To me, Merlin Mann at 43 Folders is the sanest voice in all of productivity blogging (well, most times). He pointed out that if you're spending a lot of time reading productivity blogs about how to be more productive, you really just need to get your ass back to work. Amen. I love this man's honesty and the way he writes; funny, conversational and chocked full of thought.
Try Real Advice Hurts, The Problem with “Feeling Creative”, and NaNoWriMo: A Pep Talk and a Warning. If you have 37 minutes and 22 seconds, watch Makebelieve Help, Old Butchers, and Figuring Out Who You Are (For Now). Long, but awesome.
Rory Miller wrote the excellent Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence and Chiron is his personal blog. It's not always an easy read, he writes about aspects of violence and psychology that I think most of us living in cosy, peaceful lives don't want to know about. But it's real, and it opens my eyes. He recently wrote that "Chiron isn’t about growing readership and I’m not writing for you. We all know that." I love that. Ironically, I think that commitment to honesty on his part is what drives people to read his blog anyway.
For a while there, I thought Hugh had lost it at Gaping Void – a lot of his posts early in the year seemed to be all about selling his prints. Not a bad thing mind you, I'm happy to see him doing well, but I missed his kick-ass cartoons and writing. I shouldn't have worried, because he's back in full-force, and remains in my must-read list.
Try “Evil plans” are not products. “Evil plans” are gifts, “Fight like hell. This is it.” and More thoughts on “evil plans”. If you like his work, grab a copy of his book Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity (my review here).
Rands in Repose
Whenever I read something written at Rands wrote I feel inspired, because I want to write like him, and depressed, because I don't write like him. His reflections on the tech life are spot on (you really need to read The Nerd Handbook if you own one), but he also writes on varied topics like management, work life and creativity.
Personal Development for Smart People
Which list about favorite blogs from any self-respecting (even semi) personal growth blog wouldn't include The Steve? He's become the poster child for personal development blogging mad success. Sure, some of his stuff is a little too new age-y for me, but you know what? He's honest, original, and I learn from him. Compared to a lot of other personal growth bloggers, Steve's operating on a whole different level, and I still look forward to his new posts.
David duChemin wrote Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision, a book I love lots and credit for raising my game when I went shooting photographs in Tokyo this past autumn. Pixelated Image is full of real-world, practical and inspirational advice from someone who's gone from bankruptcy to commercial success, great not just for photographers, but for anyone living the creative life. His blog isn't new, but it's my favorite find of 2009.
The Blog that Ate Mind Chatter
Bill Harris' blog posts are really long, but worth reading all the way through. Less the motivational-type posts about how to succeed, make millions and triple your sex life, The Blog that Ate Mind Chatter deals with bigger questions like the meaning of life, and how to navigate sanely through this one limited life from a larger spiritual perspective that's very Buddhist (the philosophy, not the religion).
Updated: Included Bill Harris' The Blog that Ate Mind Chatter in the list.