BlogU Might Just Change Your Life

Get thee to BlogU! A while back I introduced BlogU, a new kind of blogging conference. (You can read all about it here.) If you’re you a blogger on the fence about attending, I know what you’re thinking. I clearly remember my trepidation before attending my first blog conference. Had I given into my doubts, not only my blog, but my entire life would be different. Does that sound like an overstatement? Well, it’s not. Today I am a published writer with a network of professional and personal relationships, all thanks to that first step I took.

I started my blog in 2010 and I remember how exciting it was when 15 people saw it. I thought, “I probably only told 13 people about it. Who are those other 2?” Soon I was excited when 40 or 50 people read a post. “Now that’s definitely more than just my friends and family! Someone told someone and now people are actually reading my stuff!” The first time I got 100 hits my mind exploded.

I was the only person I knew who blogged. It was a strange thing I decided to do all alone in my house with no one looking. I soon became friendly with a few other bloggers online, which was unexpected and fun. I felt like we had an understanding that I didn’t find in the “real” world. Afterall, we each decided to do this weird thing alone in our houses with no one looking. We read one another’s blogs, commented, and exchanged witty Tweets.

When the opportunity to attend a blog conference presented itself I felt both excited and apprehensive. I wanted to go, but did I belong at a real live blogging conference? Surely not. Who was I but a teeny tiny blogger? I didn’t have fancy things like advertisers, sponsors, or a strategy. I had no inkling of SEO or other blogging buzzwords. Nevertheless, two of my newfound online friends and I decided to do it. I was nervous and had no idea what to expect.

At that conference, back in 2010, I met JD Bailey of Honest Mom and Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start by Saying. I couldn’t have known at the time how much meeting these women would change my life, but I knew instantly that I found two kindred spirits. Four years later, I communicate with JD and Kim nearly daily. Through the years we’ve helped one another with all things writing and blogging, but, more importantly, we’ve become real friends. I turn to them when something hilarious happens. I turn to them when I’m struggling, sad, angry, frustrated, or need to know which shoes to wear. I’ve shared meals, drinks, skin care secrets, hotel rooms, spa days, tears, and so many laughs with them.

I learned so much about blogging from that first conference. Within a few months my readership doubled, tripled, quadrupled and then some. I felt less weird and alone in my blogging. I would never be where I am now if I decided I didn’t belong at that first conference. I’ve since attended other conferences where I’ve had the good fortune to meet so many more amazing bloggers, and where I’ve made professional connections that have led to some incredible career opportunities. JD and Kim are now among a tribe of women I rely on to get through every single day. I can’t imagine my life without them.

So, if you’re thinking that your blog is too small or that you won’t fit in for some reason, if you’re worried that you don’t know anyone who’s going, stop it. We all have something in common: we’re writers. That means that if you’re worried that you’re too socially awkward or introverted, I can guarantee that plenty of your peers are feeling the same. We’ve kept BlogU small to create an accessible, intimate, non-intimidating atmosphere. Whether you have an online relationship with any other attendees or not before walking in the door, I can assure you that you’ll leave with not only new professional contacts, but with new girlfriends.

If you’re still nervous, feel free to contact me or one of the other faculty members to ask questions. Talk to your blogging acquaintances to see if they want to go too. Check out our Facebook page or join the BlogU attendees page where you can get to know some of the other bloggers before we all descend on the Baltimore campus in June.

I can’t guarantee that attending BlogU will change your life, but it just might.

 

A MAJOR Announcement (Not a Baby)

I’m not good at many things that I like: I can load a dishwasher like a freaking ninja savant, but I wouldn’t want to build a life around that particular talent. At the same time there are many things that I like but am not particularly good at: upon hearing my highway rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light you’d understand that I like singing, but am not good at it; you’d also see that I’m good enough at remembering lyrics to sing both sides of a conversational duet with feeling, but thus far no one has offered me a job with benefits based on my singing while driving (SWD) proclivities.

The only thing that I like and have some proficiency in is writing.* It’s always been writing. I’ve loved writing for as long as I’ve known how to do it. I kept diaries and wrote stories. Every trip I’ve ever taken has its corresponding travel journal. I kept my writing to myself, never taking the risk of putting it out there, fearing I’d find out that I wasn’t actually very good at it after all. To that end I kept it as a hobby, never a career.

*Any awkward sentence structures, fragments, or gratuitous use of the passive voice is done totally on purpose. Totally. Misspellings too. To keep you on your toes.

Even after all this time as a blogger, I can’t say “I’m a writer” without feeling somewhat fraudulent. After all, what have I really written? Isn’t this whole blog just a glorified journal? I mean, I’m not published or anything. Right?

WRONG!

For as long as I can remember my dream has been: to be a published author. To see my name on a book. A BOOK!

Well, people, I am officially announcing that I am in a book. A BOOK! I.AM.IN.A.BOOK. Iaminabook. A BOOK! (Sorry, about that. I keep shouting “A BOOK!” in real life too.)

"You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth" and Other Things You'll Only Hear from Your Friends In The Powder Room

I am one of several contributors to You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. My co-authors are talented, hilarious, and accomplished writers; I would say that I’m humbled to be among them, but I’ve been too busy being psyched to notice how humble I am. (Seriously though, a huge thank you to Leslie and all the editors at In the Powder Room for including me!)

You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth is so crazy-full of funny that it should come with the following warning: Do not attempt to drink any beverages while reading this book – you will snarf. If you’ve birthed children, please consider adding some Depends to your Amazon order. 

I promise you’ll laugh your ass off.

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to buy the book at Amazon. Or here. Or here.

A BOOK!

They don’t know that I know they know

In my old town my blogger anonymity was of the Sandra Lee variety: I was semi-anonymous. People who knew knew, and people who found out found out. But to the world at large I was still cloaked in mystery. (Too much?)

New town, new chance at full-blown anonymity. No one will know! I will be honester and realer and obnoxiouser!

All was going well. For four weeks anyway.

Then, I was invited to a neighbor’s party. (A lovely neighbor, I might add.) Within minutes another partygoer I was speaking to said, “You remind me of a blogger I read. I can’t think of her name….” SHIT!

I played it cool by staring at her, blushing, and excusing myself to go to the bathroom.

There, in true superhero with a secret identity fashion, I sent secret messages (Facebook) to my blogger friends for advice and backup. I expected a rescue mission with capes, high boots, and masks. Mostly they just laughed at me and told me to run away. One recommended chloroform and a mind-erasing serum. I was on my own.

Luckily, the toilet didn’t flush properly and I got a chance to distract myself from one uncomfortable problem to deal with another. “Sorry, your toilet is clogged. I know I’ve been in the bathroom for a while, but I SWEAR I didn’t poop. I was having a super-hero delusion because I’m secretly a writer…. anyway, I just peed.” 

I spent the remainder of the party periodically checking my phone to see if any ideas better than, “Convince her you’re Gwyneth!” came through from my blogger friends (nope) while acting like the earlier conversation didn’t happen. I nervously waited for her to recognize me. In the end, she either didn’t (yet) or was discreet.

But I’m no fool.

Just like I came home and looked up the people I met at the party on Facebook, she probably went home to figure out which blogger I am. And, since she’s no fool, she likely sussed it out. If I were in her position the very first thing I’d do is call/email/IM/text my friend, the neighbor who threw the party, to dish about this new interesting factoid. Right? So I resigned myself to continue my Sandra Lee ways.

But here’s the thing: It’s days later now and still no word to me about this, despite plenty of opportunities for my neighbor to say something. Either they don’t know, or they don’t know that I know they know. Intrigue in suburbia. (Also possible: I’m a narcissist and nobody cares.)

To my lovely neighbor, if you’re reading this you can let me know that you know that I know that you know. And, to the (smart, beautiful) woman who figured me out because you’ve read my blog, you have excellent taste.