Last week I spent Thursday – Sunday at BlogHer. This week I’ve been recovering (from the whirlwind), getting caught up (on school work), and feeling a little overwhelmed in processing the notes and material and the number of new contacts. I’ve been reading blogs, oh, I’ve been reading the blogs, and the Twitter. I really need to figure out lists on Twitter because my feed has quadrupled and it is starting to stress me out.
The conference this year was HUGE, I feel fortunate that I missed the negative things I’ve been hearing in some recaps. I had a really great conference. I feel like I blossomed there. I learned things I wanted to learn. I actually talked to people and made a few new friends.
I spent Thursday at Pathfinder Day and chose the path My Blog as a Life Changer. (afternoon discussion) I have changed over the past FIVE years of blogging, and I want my blog to be able to change with me. We made maps of our blogs and I realized a few things about myself in this activity. I like my life to be organized, as noted in the city grid I made for my map. Many of the maps were islands and oceans and here I have this city streets grid and my little boxes. As I was setting up my blocks I also noted that there are things I blog about and things I mostly don’t blog about. I think it’s ok to have areas of my life that aren’t on the internet, but I also know that some of these things are a really big part of who I am as person, and would like them to at least flavor my blog. I know it’s time for some change to my blog. I want to do this without changing the essence of the blog. I’m not sure what the next steps are, but in the mean time I will keep writing. And reading, because reading a lot makes better writing.
Friday was a long day, starting with breakfast. I felt like I had been up late partying the night before. I had been up late, but watching the Olympics, I left the Thursday party at 9:15. First thing I learned: sleep helps. I attended two panels “Blogging for the Love of It” and “Celebrate Your Small Blog“. I thought both were excellent and they really helped me to re-ground myself in WHY I blog. I blog because I enjoy it. I blog because it makes me a better writer. I am comfortable with my blog being “small” although I learned that perceived size is relative. I found it interesting to hear different takes on making money from blogging. There is nothing wrong with earning money for something you enjoy. I don’t have the time or energy to pursue growing my blog to be a real income, but I also am not going to turn down opportunities that may come my way.
I also had the opportunity to attend a small group session on WordPress plugins. I was lucky to be able to connect to WiFi the whole session, so I installed all of the recommended plugins, and took some notes on others to look into. I’m hoping the small changes these bring to the blog are useful. There will be more coming as I figure out exactly what they do and activate them.
Saturday I showed up at the end of breakfast, just in time to grab a muffin and some coffee. I slept in and the rest was so needed. I took a turn around the expo hall in the quiet of the morning, I think a lot of people needed to sleep in. There were a few sessions that I was interested enough in, but nothing grabbed me until I saw that Melissa Ford from Stirrup Queens and author of two books I enjoyed was teaching the writing lab on Writing from Prompts. Since one way to improve writing is writing a lot, I jumped on this opportunity. This was one of the highlights for me, meeting a blogger that I admire and not being spazzy about it. (Unfortunately the spaz came out a few times, to these bloggers, I am sorry). After this session I decided to spend the day in the Writing Lab learning from different bloggers, which was a great way for me to end the conference.
Each day was so different (a day of self reflection in a small group, a day of evaluation in panels, and day to learn some practical skills) and each day was valuable in it’s own way.
My takeaways: change can be good, I don’t know the exact for the change will take, there will be some technical things (plugins) on the blog readers may or may not notice, there may be some money made, I will just keep writing while I figure it all out because I love it.