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I would like to acknowledge seven key people I have been reading online, whose journeys I have been following and who have been an inspiration to me. They have been like stars in a constellation guiding me to being able to express myself here in this way at this time. They are all people who transcend in their own ways, cutting through and conveying a clear message to get out there and just do it. I have heard echoes from the seven stars, “Just start…” “Start where you are…” “Begin…” They are wonderful role models who have done just that and are now a long way down the road with their own special message for the world through their hard work, clear vision and commitment.

I will introduce them in this post, then spend some time on each one over the next weeks to really give them justice and to acknowledge what they have given to me and I’m sure many others. Hopefully this also leads more people to them and their great work.

Okay – so my seven stars I celebrate are (drumroll in background…):

The famous “Seven Sisters” of the Pleiades. Image by jimkster, via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Danielle LaPorte

I came across Danielle LaPorte through her book, Style Statement’, co-authored with Carrie McCarthy. I worked through the book assiduously and searched for Danielle online to find her at White Hot Truth. Through this work, I better understand my key style drivers, what makes me tick, why I like what I like, why it’s important and especially through White Hot Truth, how to cut through the restrictive perceptions that hold you back. Her business is about entrepreneurship and her current product is ‘The Firestarter Sessions: a digital experience for entrepreneurs.  A great source of style, truth and connection to others. Truly white hot.

Chris Guillebeau

Danielle profiles and interviews other people on her site which led me to Chris Guillebeau and The Art of Non-Conformity. Chris is an absolute online inspiration. I spoke of him in my previous post, ‘Why transcending?’ His journey, his thought pieces and his publications are powerful enablers to setting and achieving your goals. His posts are a rich mix of travel experiences, reflections and challenges. Chris’s writing often seems to be timely for me, chiming in with my own thoughts, indecision or addressing a current paralysis. I am not the only one as the long list of comments to his blog posts attests. The Unconventional Guides, Art and Money, Travel Ninja, A Brief Guide to World Domination, Social Media as a Force for Good – are all brilliant pieces.

Susannah Conway

I also found Susannah Conway’s beautiful site and  photography through Danielle. Writing from Bath in the UK, Susannah’s themes especially align with my own: creativity, getting through pain, writing and images as vehicles for expression and moving on. Her e-course ‘Unravelling’ is wildly popular – I still haven’t managed to get into it! The course uses photography and journaling – two of my favourite things – to work through healing and acceptance. Susannah’s site is pure beauty and I am always touched. Sometimes it’s a laugh of connection, sometimes a cry of pain  –  but always a warm, encouraging and open place like sitting beside a warm fire full of heart.

Sage Cohen

I found Sage through her wonderful book, ‘Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry’.  Anyone who writes and reads poetry knows they live a rarefied life that struggles sometimes to find a place. It’s easy to lose your way and not many people understand it. As it says on the back cover, WTLP is ‘the inspirational companion you’ve been looking for to help you  build confidence in your poetic voice…’ Hallelujah! It is so true. Sage has a number of sites including Writing the Life Poetic and also conducts the best poetry writing course by email and workbook: Poetry for the People. I have been privileged to work through two levels of Poetry for the People and I am in awe of Sage’s poetic wisdom – she is very aptly named! Poet, teacher, blogger, mother, writer…

Shanna Germain

Shanna is fantastically without boundaries and goes everywhere and anywhere in writing and in life. A writer of  poetry, novels, short stories, erotica – she is amazingly prolific and documents her writing life intimately. I first joined up with her when she was on a remote Scottish island last year living a writing life. Fantastic, I thought, living my dream – and then you experience the actual day to day of Shanna’s writing life and realise what hard and solitary work it is. I laugh out loud often and love the way she structures her writing story, different blogs, morphing in and out and setting herself projects that she absolutely commits to – writing a poem or significant part of a novel every day. This year – a learning project every week in Chapter 38: ‘A girl. A brain. 52 ways to fill it’.

Joanna Penn

Joanna lives in Australia and has set up an incredibly consistent blog, ‘The Creative Penn’ about ‘Writing, Publishing Options, Sales and Promotion for your book. I came across Joanna on a list of the top 30 bloggers to watch. I have learnt so much from reading the blog and especially from her podcast interviews available online and free from itunes. I listen to them in my car on the way to work and have learnt about ebooks, using video, podcasting, itunes, authentic voice, beating procrastination, romance writing, crime writing and more. The whole publishing game has changed and Joanna has captured perfectly how social media can work for writers. And she has a full-time job and she is writing a novel. A real role model for moi.

Colleen Wainwright

And the communicatrix, Colleen Wainwright. Colleen and I were born a week apart so communicatrix: A Virgo’s Guide to the Universe rings incredibly true for me. Obviously we have had different experiences and backgrounds, but the essence is eerily familiar. Fantastically clear and self-deprecating at the same time, it is about being a better communicator and the skills and search for same. Hilarious, incisive and full of great links and reads, I just love it. Friday round-up is especially insightful – always something to take away. This week’s link to an article by Jeffrey Zeldman on the beauty of life  was a gift that bought tears to my eyes. Colleen’s writing is full of such gifts.

My seven stars are truly a constellation – they interconnect, flow and bounce ideas back and forth and create such a cosmic storm here, I can only respond.  And I think, what if they had not ‘just started…..’  where would I be today without their influence? I hope to shine also to illuminate myself likewise and light the way to others.