How BlogHer '14 Will Be Different for Me This Year
I'm going to the BlogHer conference this year in San Jose, CA. There are a couple reasons. Okay, more than two reasons. And I think they are good reasons.
I'm going to BlogHer '14 first and foremost because I went to BlogHer '11 when it was in San Diego. I'd never been an attendee at a large convention before, and never one dedicated to something so important to me. There were so many people there -- so many women there. I was overwhelmed. I found it difficult to relax and absorb the information and ambiance of the event. I couldn't find a single blogger who was in the same niche as I. I found I was older than most of the women there. I was uncomfortable most of the time and wanted to be invisible... which, actually I was.
So, this time, I'm going with some shields up. I'm determined to relax and stand in the current and let it soak in. I'm determined to absorb the joy of knowing I'm not alone. What I mean is that since the conference in 2011, I've done quite a bit of reading of the work of other bloggers and other conference attendees. I discovered that I really wasn't the only person who felt overwhelmed to the point of wanting to spend most of her time in the restroom. I really wasn't the only person afraid to hand out her business card, fearful no one would want it. I certainly wasn't the only woman over 40 in the crowd who loves to write. And I've discovered I'm not the only person who writes on topics on which I write. So I'm going to enjoy this conference.
Another reason I'm going is to learn. There are some great sessions coming up that I'm going to attend and take beaucoup notes of. My only regret is that I don't have the budget for the Pathfinder Day; there is value in the sessions scheduled there I would truly treasure.
I'm going to meet other bloggers. I'm going to hand out my business card. I really am proud of my website and my blog and would love to share it. And I want to discover new writers and bloggers and learn about what they do. As a former newspaper reporter, I still have a curiosity about why people do the things they choose to do.
Another reason I'm going is to immerse myself in a sea of writers for two days. See, my work life is solitary. I'm an artist, photographer, and writer and by nature, I work alone in my home studio. I like it that way. However, to spend two days sharing a language common to writers and explorers of Life will be highly energizing. And by having my shields up, I won't need to hide in the restroom.
And I'm going because it's in my home state. The past two years for my husband and I have been financially challenging and airfare is just not feasible. So, this year, we can drive down. Yes, it's a distance from our home a couple hours north of Sacramento, but it's a nice drive.
Here's what I won't be doing though: I won't be attending parties. At the 2011 conference I saw quite a few younger women let their hair down and, yes, they had fun. Maybe it was the freedom from responsibilities at home and a chance to go a little crazy that the conference time offered. But it wasn't for me. I don't drink and I'm no fan of too-loud music -- especially since "Dog and Butterfly" won't be playing. Rather, I'll be spending the evenings with my best friend. My husband is coming along so he can spend the days at the science and technology museum that is not far from either the convention center or our hotel.
So, even though it's still five months away and summer isn't even a promise yet, I've already lined up care for our parrot named George and parakeet named Pippin.
See you there?
Linda C Smith, Artist and Writer