What I Learned by NOT Going to BlogHer 12
I went to BlogHer 10. It did what conferences always do - what they're designed to do. It got me all fired up, infused me with ideas.
And then I got distracted by something shiny and *poof* the blog took a back seat again. I don't know what I was doing during BlogHer 11, probably filing TPS reports or something really important like that. You see, I have this day job. And it's pulling me away, pulling me away. It won't stop pulling me away from my dreams.
When BlogHer 12 was in full swing, so were the Olympics and I logged onto Twitter to follow the Olympic tweets. That's when I started seeing all my BlogHer Chatter peeps tweeting about the goings-on at the conference, and I got bedazzled by what I was missing.
I was missing the people, sure, but I was missing the energy of it all - the connection, the flow of ideas. I was missing it all.
Now, in the intervening months since I last jacked into the scene, I have not been a total stranger to blogging. My company implemented the Jive corporate social platform and I started a work blog. It's doing quite well, thank you. When it took off, it awoke the sleeping writing-monster inside me and pumped him full of inspiration.
Neurons were firing left and right - there was the conference, there was my Twitter activity, there were my BlogHer peeps, there was my work blog and BAM - as Jack Nicholson said in The Shining - I'm baaaa-aack.
Only this time, I'm not going to let it slip away. And even though I didn't go to BlogHer 12, I am going to share what I've learned in the past few weeks:
- You cannot wait for time to find you; you have to find time. Many of us have other responsibilities, but if we want this writing thing to happen, we have to make it happen. We can't wait until the kids are bigger or the job slows down. There will always be something else to take the place of those time commitments. It's like exercise or sleep or whatever else is important - you *must* find a way for it to fit in NOW. Consider the allegory of the juggler keeping so many balls in the air - some of those balls are rubber and will bounce and some are glass and will break if they are left to fall. Think about your priorities and which are the glass ones and which are the rubber ones. Your answer won't be the same as my answer and that's fine. But one thing I learned is that dreams can shatter and I have come to the conclusion that my writing dream is a ball made of glass. I have to work harder to keep it in the air.
- There are steps big and small that we can take. Sometimes you have the time and energy for a big one, but don't write off the small ones - they can take you forward too. Many small steps can be much more powerful than one big step.
- Keep putting yourself out there. You can't worry about bugging someone to the demise of your dream. Ask for what you need to know, ask for what you want. Keep asking. I don't mean to tell anyone to harass another person (hopefully we can all discern that line). I mean to say don't shy away from going-for-it to your own disadvantage. Take a chance on crossing the line - if you need to back off a little, hopefully the other party will tell you.
- Plug in. You think you know but maybe you don't. Read, follow, listen, learn, and try. If it doesn't work, scrap it and try differently. But don't stop trying.
I didn't go to BlogHer 12, but I have already made public declarations about going to the next one, taken steps to secure my place at the table. I'll be there and we might meet and I'll swallow my social anxiety and act like a brave blogging warrioress.
Because I am one.
I have done a few things following this recent blogging-think-fest I've had. I've made the decision to come out - first and last name, blog connected up to my Facebook account, Facebook connected to Twitter, Twitter connected to the thigh bone. I've added the Add-This plugin to my blog to make my content more easily sharable. I've enhanced the recent-posts plugin. I've read up on SEO (and now I'm an expert - just ask me!). I have created a Facebook Fan Page (public! come "like" me there!). I have joined a Twitter #blogchat and learned some new things and connected to some new people. I've decided that every blog post will have at least 1 image, if for no other reason than for easier sharing on visual social sites. I've reached out to a local contact about speaking at a conference and am all set on that.
And, the best part - I started writing again, and damn, that feels good. I'm energized. (My husband even said "I love it when you're writing because you let me touch your boobs more." How's that for a testimony, huh??)
I felt a little uncomfortable extending my blog-world to my personal world - friends, family, work people. The truth is they already know about it. Some are the type who share naturally and so now they have the choice to share ME, or not. It's their choice, it's always been, and I've just made it easier for them. I'm not imposing - I'm enhancing.
And I've reconnected to you - to my BlogHer chatter friends, to the BlogHer community. I'm reading; I'm commenting. And I'm learning, always.
Hi, I'm Linda Doty and I'm a damn funny blogger. I'm taking this shit to the moon. Wanna come along for the ride?