Last week I attended BlogHer 14 â€“ the 10th annual conference for women in the blogosphere (and anyone else interested in attending).
My first foray into the world of writing conferences was BlogHer 12. That year I went because I wanted to experience New York City, and being honored as a Voice of the Year for my post on prematurity seemed like a great excuse to do so.
It was chaotic. And exciting. And terrifying.
I walked away (or sat on the tarmac for a good long while waiting for storms to pass so I could return to my left coast) feeling rather disheartened. This space will never evoke the Evita ditty, â€œThe Money Kept Rolling In.â€ I was overwhelmed.
I did not go to BlogHer 13.
But in 2014, the conference came back to San Jose â€“ my home turf. How could I not go? After all, Iâ€™m still blogging. So I headed back to the lionâ€™s den.
I attended PathFinder Day (the Thursday before the big show): The Path to Published Author. I thought it would be an in-depth discussion on the minutia involved in becoming a published author.
It was not.
It was an exercise in boastful pride by a well-established, prize-winning author. I learned that self-publishing is for losers and even though bloggers are crappy writers, you might be able to get a book deal if you have 20 million readers. (Not even close folks. But your awesomeness totally makes up for that.)
Summary: So you want to be a published author? Nope.
I returned to the main conference the next day. The morning panel on getting your first great book deal featured a lot more variety, as the panel discussed the wide range of options regarding the new state of publishing. It was still pretty bleak, but sometimes youâ€™ve got to cry a little â€“ even die a little â€“ for the love of the game.
I loved every minute of it. This year, I came away inspired.
Mid-September, I am a featured essayist in the anthology, â€œMotherhood: May cause drowsiness.â€
I am just about done with the first draft of my memoir.
I am four and a half years into this blogging adventure. This yearâ€™s conference told me I donâ€™t have a chance in hell of becoming a published author.
Clearly Iâ€™m already going to hell. So at this point itâ€™s go big, or go home.
Tell me I canâ€™t, and I will. I am going to be published.
But really what itâ€™s all about are the stories bloggers have to tell. BlogHer 2014 was totally worth it because of the people I met.
Everyone has a story to tell.
To the bloggers willing to share it â€“ it was a pleasure to meet you. And thank you. The people I met this year were wholly awesome.
To the readers â€“ thank you for being a part of our story.
These here interwebs create a society that link us. The way we communicate is ever-changing. But from the beginning of oral history, it has been stories that keep us going.
I do not have 20 million blog viewers. I have not won prestigious awards. I am not J.K. Rowling or The Bloggess.
As The Bloggess noted during her keynote, â€œEveryone has a story. If you don’t think you do, it’s because you haven’t read it through someone else’s eyes.â€
I really hope those speakers who fancied denying us the impossible listened to that keynote.
“None of the cool kids started that way.” â€ª#BlogHer14