I did it! I attended my first blogging conference. Honestly, I don’t know what the heck took me so long to get it together enough to attend. Actually that’s a total lie. I know exactly why, and if you know me well, you’ll know why too. If you know me, you’ll know I have a little bit of a problem with thinking I’m legit. I’m generally a downplayer of my accomplishments and areas of knowledge, whether it be because I’m sometimes (always?) lacking confidence, or …bragging just isn’t me. I used to think, this is just a little hobby, I’m not really a writer, so why the hell would I pay money to attend a conference about blogging? Thank G-d I came to my senses and purchased a ticket to BlogHer16. And yes, that pun was surely intended.
I took the Red Line in and relished in the fact that I was actually walking around unfettered. There were no small people in tow and I was alone, on the way to an adult function! Hurray! As you know, I love my babies, but mama’s gotta have her solo time every once in a while. I made sure to be there in time for the breakfast keynote with Sarah Michelle Gellar. She’s one of the gals behind FoodStirs (which I hope to be talking more about as time goes on) and as far as celebrities/mamas who I want to see speak go, she was definitely on the list.
FIRST LESSON IN BLOGHERING
If you know it – show it!
If you’re unfamiliar with most conference formats, there are usually a few keynote speakers, with sessions of various topic smushed between the keynotes, meals and expo portion of things. In planning my days out, I immediately ran into an issue…one hour on the calendar and four sessions that I NEED to attend, all at the same time. In fact, that was for every breakout time slot – how could I decide? I was excited and wanted to absorb as much information as possible.
After acknowledging the fact that I didn’t have a time turner necklace,
I started really looking at the offerings so I could decide which to attend. One was titled “Behind the Curtain on Blog to Book” – and I thought ooh, that would be good! Except, I already did that on my own. For some reason, I still felt the need to attend… but…there were two others on my list. “SEO: Get Your Content Discovered in Search” was even more interesting to me – SEO is something I understand, yet have not applied properly on my own blog, especially now since I’ve switched over to .org. Definitely still in the running… but the last session talked about knowing what you know, and not being afraid to say it. This. This was the one I NEEDED to attend.
I settled on “Owning Your Expertise” hosted and moderated by two speakers, Julie Ross Godar from SheKnows Media, and Tiffany Pham the wunderkind behind Mogul. The speaker skewed millennial, and since I’m 40 I wondered if I was in the right place but as soon as they started talking about “Impostor Syndrome” I knew for sure I was where I needed to be.
My key takeaways from this session were:
- Everyone else is making it up as they go along
- Fake it until you make it
- You have to be smart to see your faults
- Knowing more than your audience, doesn’t mean you have to know everything
At the end of this session I was inspired to do more, to be more. I want this blog to do more and be more. I don’t recall the last time I felt this way, so energized about ideas that I want to bring to fruition and I was grateful for the opportunity to attend.
SECOND LESSON IN BLOGHERING
Needs are more important than wants
Yes, yes, yes, this is a life lesson that everyone should know and that I do know, but in a compressed time situation, sometimes you want the wants to win out. Unfortunately that couldn’t be the case for me for the 2nd break out sessions. As I’m still a nursing mama, I had to find time and a place to pump since Charlie was home. I had brought my Medela pump-in-a-backpack and conveniently, Lansinoh was one of the sponsors in the Expo Hall. I knew I didn’t want to miss lunch or the keynote for that period, so I had to use the second session time to pump.
Not only did they have supplies, but they created a private 4-seat pumping room on the Expo floor for anyone having to nurse or pump…how awesome is that!
It’s the little things that make you appreciate a conference geared towards women that much more.
THIRD LESSON IN BLOGHERING
I think about a lot, therefore I write about a lot.
I couldn’t stay for the whole day Saturday, but made it a point to be there for the lunchtime keynote with Mayim Bialik. I’ve always liked her, not as much for her acting as for her scientisting, moming, writing and Jewessing. Yes, I just made those a thing. Well some of them were already a thing, so there you go.
Some background for newer readers – my blog has never been about one thing. The blog started as a venting diary for me as a new mom, and it morphed into my daughter’s baby book as I was too lazy to do a real one. Then it turned into a therapy session during my divorce and metamorphosis that came afterwards. Now it’s mostly about things I like, and how those things get me past the anxiety that creeps up in my life all too often. Sometimes, it’s about other stuff. I’ve always been slightly uncomfortable with this because all I’ve ever heard was if you want to be a successful blogger, find your niche. Don’t write about everything because you’ll alienate some of your audience. Well, I call bullshit, and Mayim Bialik agrees!
She was speaking mostly about her latest endeavor, GrokNation and how it came about. Whenever she speaks, it is clear that she is a real person with flaws. It’s clear that she is comfortable in her skin, even if other people don’t approve. Even if she calls herself awkward. This is something I strive for. As I expected, she was great to listen to – funny, warm and intelligent, and also…well, quirky, which is what she probably does best.
My key takeways from her talk were:
- It’s okay to talk about a lot of different things if you want because…guess what…you think about a lot of things!
- I don’t have to pick one thing to do, because I am me, and I’m allowed to do that.
I’m so glad I attended BlogHer16. There were some hiccups, but on the whole, I learned a lot, and even though it wasn’t my goal to schmooze I met a few lovely people, including Amy from This House of love and Jenny from The Jenny Evolution. I’ll definitely network more next time, but for as much as I was able to attend, it was so worth it.