I signed up for the Blissdom blogging conference on a whim. Although I've been blogging for 1.5 years at the Peacoat Papers, Hollywood Housewife has only been live for less than a month. But I had an intense desire to meet with other bloggers, people whose eyes wouldn't glaze over at the mere mention of "sidebars" or "widgets" or "content."
I missed the opening festivities, so early Friday morning I spiraled into inevitable thoughts like "What am I doing here?" and "Maybe I should just go home" and "I would rather hide in an Opryland tree than walk into a room full of 500 strangers."
Instead, I put on my boots and walked the 71 miles to the convention center. I try to live by that Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You mantra.
It was scary to approach a stranger, scarier still to approach well-known bloggers that I've been reading for years (Hi, Playgroupie! Hi, Velveteen Mind!) or been reading for weeks (Hello LoveFeast and Vitafamiliae). But I forced myself, and the rewards were worth it.
The panels were interesting in their diversity. In one session, I was told to try all the social media to get my name and blog out there, then in the next session was told one to do a few things and do them well. I took nuggets from each panel, and was introduced to bloggers I didn't know before the conference like The Inspired Room and Boston Mamas and Mom Generations.
My mind is swirling with ideas and no small bit of anxiety. But I love blogging, I love the community that is building, and I'm walking away assured that there is no "right" way to do things and success can be on your own terms.
My mom accompanied me to Nashville to help with Pigtail. She has her own thoughts on the weekend that, as usual, are worth the read. From Saturday night:
I’ve just come from a clash of cultures – The Blissdom Blogger Conference meets the Tea Party. Maybe “clash” isn’t the right word. But it’s like being on two different planets. I’m in Nashville, at the Opryland Hotel, babysitting my new granddaughter while my own baby daughter attends a conference on blogging. Blissdom. Mostly attended by young women, many with babies in tow, all trying to improve, promote, expand their mostly non-commercial blogs. They blog about building a career, being a stay-at-home mom, losing weight, homeschooling, organizing a home, decorating, make-up, caring for a disabled child (or parent or sibling), cooking, or any number of things that occupy their minds and hearts. And they all have computers in their bags. Many are wearing jeans, though a few are dressed up. And they use twitter and facebook and lots of social media that I don’t know anything about. And they have lots of passion.
Next door are the Tea Party people. And they have passion, too. And they are dressed up, too. This evening is the big dinner with Sarah Palin. Several women in fur coats, men in dark suits. But also people dressed up as Patriots, as Uncle Sam, and so forth. The ages run the gamut. I think there are as many young people as there are old people (though the young women aren’t wearing fur jackets). You probably won’t see a representative picture of these people because the press is looking for the oddballs to interview, photograph, videotape. Most of the people look like our friends and colleagues. I don’t know how many are here, but it’s a bunch.
I didn’t go watch for Sarah Palin or any other notables. I’m having a hard enough time getting from my room to the front desk. This hotel is unbelievably big, and it’s arranged in a couple of football-field-sized odd –shaped atriums that more or less hook together. And there are so many trees and waterfalls and other distractions that you can’t see across atrium if you’re walking on that level. And I’m pushing a stroller.
But Laura thinks she saw Matt Drudge this morning. And we saw Andrew Breitbart when we were checking in. He’s a really big guy.
All these girls seem to be ignoring the Tea Partiers, but Laura says they can’t help but run into one another. They’re sharing the same area of the convention center, same lobby, restaurants, etc. In some ways, the Tea Partiers have the appearance of participants at a national Republican Convention, but there’s some difference. They’re a little edgier. And it’s not the celebration that generally accompanies a convention. There’s a seriousness, a bit of anger, that I haven’t seen at a convention.
This is probably the closest I’ll ever come to blogging – these “observations” from time to time. But this would sure be the time and place to start.