10 years ago this summer, I attended a first-time conference called BlogHer. I don't remember exactly how I heard about it, or how I decided to fly to a city I'd never been to before, for a conference full of people I didn't know. I had no idea what to expect. I left reading a handful of new blogs, and with a connection to what would become an online community, a massive annual conference, a support system for women running their own businesses, and a voice on the political scene.
And yes, my employer for the past 6.5 years.
This summer, I attended my 10th BlogHer conference. My room at the Hilton was decorated with images of a Smith Corona typewriter. Not the one I learned to type on, then wrote horrible teenage novels on later, but its cousin.
I thought it was funny. My journey with blogging for the last 10 years has taught me that I do NOT want to be a professional writer - a discovery that would shock my 10-22 year old self who wanted nothing else. Figuring it out, though, freed me from the feeling there was something I should get back to, something I should do differently, something I should do better. When I let it go, blogging became a lot more fun.
I don't blog about conferences well. I can't digest the high points of sessions and summarize them back out for readers. I don't take a lot of pictures of all the learning and fun that goes on so y'all can live vicariously.
But I wanted to take this occasion to give you one piece of advice related to blogging.
The closing keynote at BlogHer this year was about The Intersection of Race, Gender, Feminism and the Internet. I was blown away by the amazing women on stage, just as I knew I would be. And as I'm sitting here reflecting on the conference, I'd have the same advice for bloggers as I gave near the end of that very first conference, nervously taking the mic in the big room full of everyone:
Read blogs written by people who are different from you.
Their blogging is a gift to you, sharing their lives and experiences. Take advantage of it. If your heart is open, it will make you a better person. Hopefully that's what it's done for me, though I'll be judged by my actions, not my words in any blog post.
Need a place to start? Click on that link above for the keynote and spend some time with those women's writing.
You won't be disappointed.