Can you handle this coolness? I’ve been awarded the “A Roar for Powerful Words” award. What does this mean to you? Not much, except that (a) you don’t have to read about football (today anyway) and (b) you get to hear me going on and on about my pal Tiff, who awarded me this honor along with four other real writers. (She must have been thinking of my pre-football writing days…)

Anyway, it’s my Warholian 15-minutes-of-fame, people, and you’re going to have to live with it.

The point of this award is this. Awards are distributed to “those people who have blogs we love, can’t live without, where the writing is good and powerful.” Award-winners then post their award, select five writers of their own who they think fit the criteria, and also give three ‘pointers’ about what they think makes writing good and powerful. I’ve always been a big fan of the pay-it-forward plan in life, so I certainly think there’s a place for it here.

So now comes the part where I talk about myself. Or my writing. Most of you know that I don’t consider myself a writer. This began as an exercise in venting and quickly developed into something much more. Sort of like the neighbor whom you wave to at the mailbox, but then you get asked in for coffee one day, and the next thing you know you are looking forward to those visits not because they’re with a neighbor but with someone who has become a good friend.

Most of my writing comes from my life experiences, however mundane and boring they might be. I don’t tend to write in the abstract — other people do that much better than I do and I just feel pretentious and a bit ridiculous when I try to do it. And I find that most of what I commit to writing comes from ridiculous situations I find myself in (or create for myself). In other words, self-deprecation works for me. That’s not to say it works for everyone. You really have to have a certain level of self-loathing for it to work – trust me. That said, here are my three ‘pointers’.

First, be able to laugh at yourself. I find that people are drawn to others who (a) are like they are or (b) are stupider than they are. Pointing and laughing is fun. Pointing and laughing at yourself is way cheaper than therapy.

Second, don’t take yourself too seriously. This ain’t Shakespeare, people. There’s no advanced placement credit to be earned in social blogging. Also, unless you are a political blogger, take it easy on political commentary — it tends to alienate people (well, mine does, anyway…sigh).

Finally (and I just realized I have about a dozen more, but I’ll try to contain myself), edit, even if just a little bit. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, bothers me more than poor grammar, but sometimes things will slip by even the most prolific proofer (I just had to use that term, even if it’s not quite the best choice of words.) However, things like the misuse of its/it’s and there/their/they’re keep me awake at night. There’s no room for that in writing. Read it over. The blogging world can wait five more minutes for your genius.

Okay. Now that that’s out of the way, I get to tell you five of my favorites and why they are my favorites. And this was hard to do, because I read a lot of different blogs for a lot of different reasons. But off the top of my head, here are five who inspire me to do better work. And not just at writing, I might add.

First is Karen at Pondering Penguin. Wait! you say? She blogs about politics! You said to avoid that. Nope. You weren’t listening. I said refrain from political commentary unless you are a political blogger. And that she is. And a darn fine one. Why she’s posting here instead of the op-ed pages is a mystery to me.

Second is my good buddy Jennifer at Chapter Next. She embarrasses me on a regular basis. Not intentionally, of course. It’s just that when she writes, she is what I want to be when I grow up. She also shares my total addiction to college football, so I’d heart her even more if it were possible. It’s not.

Next comes Kate at Kate Said. The girl is brilliant. Whether she is talking about her family, her profession, or some really dark days in her past, she brings forth what I like to think of as an uncontrived honesty. Brilliant. Oh, yeah, I already said that.

Another favorite is Mike at 25 Year Plan. The guy makes you flat-out THINK.

Finally, I’m going with R.G. at Ramblings of a Curious Mind. Her posts are generally short and to-the-point, but if you want to see what it’s like to be a single thirty-something working at her job and working out life’s problems at the same time, accompanied by an incredible dog in one of the most gorgeous places in the country, you need to go here.

So there you have it. My five nominees. Go visit them and let me know what you think!

And let them know, too.