This weekend was incredible. I jumped into my assignments as a Type-A Conference volunteer first thing, stuffing swag bags, moving products around, working registration. I was nervous and excited as I went down to the opening keynote. I quickly settled in because I was with people that get this part of my life, the part that consists of words written on a screen. I always feel a little out of my element with bloggers, mostly because I consider myself a hobbyist at this. At a theatre conference, I am very much in my element. Here? I was scared I'd feel like a junior varsity athlete who somehow ended up on the varsity bench on a Friday night. So many folks make a living on blogging or have these amazing relationships with all these brands, but that's never been what it's about for me.
I started blogging to belong to a community. And this weekend, I was with that community.
There is a lot to talk about, and I will talk about all the aspects of the conference and the knowledge I took away from it, but today I want...no, I NEED to tell you about my favorite part. On Saturday morning, I was fortunate enough to sit in a room while three incredible women, women whose words I've read for years now, reminded each of us why we do this. In a panel discussion called "We Still Blog," Cecily , Tanis, and Katherine touched my heart in a deep, deep way. Their presentation was the single-best thing I have ever seen at a conference, blogging or otherwise. They reminded us that no matter how many hits we get, no matter how many brands are courting us, no matter how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers we have, our words are what's important. If you care enough to blog, someone cares enough to read it. Even if you have three followers you don't even know about, that is three people you are touching with your stories, your experiences, your words.
These three incredible women read their own blog posts aloud to us. There was not a single dry eye in the room as they shared their hearts, their fears, their joys and triumphs with us. It was a great reminder that at the end of the day, it all started with a blog. It all comes back to the words and stories and to the people telling them.
I got up from that session with the greatest desire I've ever had to write something. I wanted to immediately get something on this space that would be read by someone, anyone. I look back at my early blogging days and I remember the people, women like Katherine, Cecily and Tanis, plus so many more, who got me through the dark spots with their humor and understanding, and by just proving that there was someone else out there who got it. As a parent, I'm on new ground every day, rolling with the punches as their thrown, trying so hard not to "break" my son. As a woman, I continue to rediscover and reinvent myself. As an artist, I continue to challenge myself and grow. As a blogger, I continue to wander outside my comfort zone.
I'm so glad there are others out there in the same boat who get it and know that having a voice to talk about these things matters so much. I"m so glad to be a part of this community.
So I challenge you, as these three ladies challenged us, whether you're a blogger or just a person (hey! we're all people! we win!), remember what you set out to do with your blog or your life and do it. Tell your story and tell it proudly. Someone IS listening.