I’ve been doing this online writing thing for a long time. This month marks 13 years of it, actually. When I first created my livejournal.com account as NoLabelsGirl, I certainly didn’t see myself sitting here right now. Just back from a three day blogging conference in NYC with 5,000 women, 2 men, and a live video conference with the President of the United States.
After years of writing a few times a week, posting photos, and being a part of an incredible online community, I’m starting to realize that it’s bigger and possibly even more awesome than I thought. And more complicated. But I knew that.
I’ve heard about the BlogHer conference for years, but I never thought it was for me. I thought it was about the money, the sponsors, the brands. I was wrong.
There is some of that, and a lot of that if that’s what you’re looking for, but as someone in it just for the love of the writing and sharing, there was plenty for me. The only swag I ended up with is a pack of gum I swiped from the bathroom. I never even went into the expo rooms. Mostly because I am horrified by packaging and consumerism but also because I never had the time. I was too busy talking, meeting people, learning in sessions, waiting in line for lunch, chatting about social media platforms, taking notes, reflecting, tweeting, looking for water, and dancing. I didn’t even leave the hotel.
I’ve overheard some disappointment in the focus of branding and sponsorships in the newer bloggers at the conference. Somehow, I missed all of that. I found myself surrounded by thoughtful, vulnerable, honest writers and heard over and over how they are in this because they have to be. Because they love it. For the life that it brings. The life of reflection. Of higher standards for yourself. The struggle and joy of being able to work at your craft and always get better. Always be better. Listen to Your Mother, a party in which people were chosen randomly to read their work, was one of my favorite moments of the conference. I felt inspired. Validated. Ready. I’m ready to challenge myself and go further. For me. Because I have to. Because this is what I do. This is why I’m here. I’m a writer. Let’s do this.
And now, more coffee. Thanks for reading.