10 Bloggers Share Their BlogHer '13 Experiences

BlogHer Original Post

You know what? Bloggers sure do write a lot. So what do bloggers do after a blogging conference like BlogHer '13? They write. A lot. We've been reading everything, following along with the collective post-conference sigh of exhaustion. Today we bring you 10 posts that encapsulate different aspects of what this conference meant to different individuals. I always say that two people can go to all of the same sessions and parties and keynotes and come away with two very different experiences. Let's see what these ten attendees had to say about their time in Chicago.

10 Bloggers Share Their BlogHer '13 Experiences

Sharon Greenthal at Empty House, Full Mind came into Sheryl Sandberg's Saturday morning keynote with some skepticism, but left with a great and reflective post on how she leaned in as a stay-at-home mother.

My initial response to the lean in concept was skepticism, as I’ve always told my daughter that she can – and should – do anything she wants to. However I see that it empowers so many women, and that’s what matters – if leaning in is what propels you forward, then by all means, lean!

My perspective is also different because I spent the years I was raising my kids as a stay-at-home mom, and never had the need to lean in to ask for a pay raise, a promotion, or a job. The leaning in I did was focused on making my children’s lives as fulfilling as possible.

Susan Goldberg at Mama Non Grata compared the conference events to that of summer camp back in the day. Except... better.

So, this feels a little bit like the end of summer camp, except that I honestly never had as good a time at summer camp. It feels like summer camp except for Queen Latifah, and better food, and way better theatrical productions: congratulations to this year’s Voices of the Year community keynote speakers, and to the women who rocked the fashion show. It feels a bit like summer camp, although I think I am a better panelist on writing than I ever was a director of musicals (thank you so much everyone who came to my panel with Deborah, and yes, I will be posting our writing goals publicly, very soon). It feels a bit like the end of summer camp, except that I am 41 instead of 14, and really, I prefer it that way. Even when we act like children, the grown-ups at BlogHer are way cooler, way nicer, way more interesting, and much better dancers than my adolescent counterparts at camp ever were.

Anissa Mayhew from #FreeAnissa, a conference veteran, saw the conference through new eyes this year: her daughter's.

BlogHer isn’t anything new, with its crowds, kisses and parties. The hotel even held memories of 2009 and the time spent with friends.

But it was all painted in new colors as I got to show it to my daughter and experience it through her fresh eyes.

Her delighted smiles at being recognized by people who have seen her picture on Facebook and Instagram. The moments of clarity when names from the computer became real life people.

Jenni Chiu of Mommy Nani Boo Boo can't quit BlogHer '13. Her video explains why. ("We like cookies!")

Laurie Luck of The Smart Dog Blog didn't expect to have much in common with mommybloggers or fashionistas or foodies, but found her kind of people at the conference anyway.

To my delight, I was in the middle of a session by some food photographers and videographers (storytellers, really), White on Rice Couple (http://whiteonricecouple.com/), when I suddenly found myself crying. Actual tears.

This couple are phenomenal storytellers -- with photography and with video. And guess who starred in their own personal stories? Guess what recharged their batteries at the end of their long days?

Their dog.

They are dog people. There's no doubt that they GET dogs. The tears came unexpectedly.

Mona Darling got real and called out those complaining about the way women "behave" at a women-centric conference. Quite honestly, her post is a must-read for many, many reasons. I expect a high-five when you're done.

Why are we judging each other? Why can’t we high five each other and congratulate each other for our shenanigans?

Sarah Fader of Old School/New School Mom shared how she read at the Open Mic Night party hosted by Listen to Your Mother Show.

I was already having kind of a shitty day, but when I saw the bowls to submit your name to read your funniest/most heartwarming/best blog post, I thought "what the hell!" Seeing Steph and Ann gave me a second wind.

So I charged my phone and threw a paper with my name into the sea of other papers with other people's names.

PS: Curious about the other readers? Listen to Your Mother Show complied the whole list. Check it out!

Danielle Barnsley of Tales from the Mamaside, another conference newbie, discussed her conference expectations and what she might have done differently.

Was there anything I would have changed? I would have been more assertive and not been so afraid to mingle. I would have not packed so much, and I would have not worried or gotten upset about not meeting a couple bloggers that I've always loved because it made me feel like it was a personal slight (it probably wasn't, and if it was, that's too bad). I would have left my laptop at home, and closed my blog down for the duration of the conference, because even if I wanted to write, it was too hectic to find the actual time to do it.

And I would have cared less about what others were thinking. A lot of my own hang ups got thrown out in the open this weekend. That's the part of this conference that no one told me would happen. I became nervous about meeting people, and worrying about what others thought. I should have just shrugged it off, drank a couple more cups of coffee and just been in the moment.

Emily at Confessions of a Farm Wife shared some important thoughts on everything from being a blogger to telling a story to how we respect differing thoughts. Her post is wicked smart.

At the Voices of the Year event, I realized that even though I disagreed with a lot of the bloggers when it came to the social issues they wrote about, I didn't feel ill will towards them because they were doing what I am trying to do with this blog.

They're just trying to get their story out. They're writing about their life, and while "Life" blogs are a dime a dozen (BlogHer did a poll, and that's what like 95% of us were writing about), no one's life is a dime a dozen.

We all have a story to tell, and I need to do a better job not only telling mine, but just to listen.

Conversely, I would hope that she would listen to me, too.

Jenn Phillips April shared three takeaways from the conference. Even if you weren't there and didn't hear the words and see the sights and do all of the things, you can take these three things away from BlogHer '13 too:

1— Stop over scheduling — Leave room in your life to say yes to the things you want to and “no” to the things you don’t want to do.

How many times have you said “yes” to a committee, to a work project or even a client that you knew you didn’t have the time to fit in or you weren’t really excited about?

Then, you had to say “no” to something you really did want to do. Or, you simply pushed yourself to keep going and eventually hit burn out.

Is your mind full yet? No? Well good! We'll be bringing you another round-up of post-conference posts on Friday. If you've written something we need to read, share it here. We're busy reading everything written, but we don't want to miss yours. So share!

In the meantime, check out the best quotes from the BlogHer '13 sessions and catch up on what Twitter took away from the conference. You can also read through the transcripts of our liveblogs or take a sneak peak at the photos. We'll be bringing you more as we aim to make this your best post-conference ever!


Family/Moms & Events Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog.


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