My 10 Years of BlogHer Conferences

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.

26 thoughts on “My 10 Years of BlogHer Conferences

  1. Shannon

    I like this post very much. It was great to see you and I love your simple, beautiful advice here. I’m going to take it. Thank you.

  2. Brittan Chastaine

    That final keynote was so fantastic. I’m still stoked they ended with that and I’m totally in awe of those women. It’s crazy how oblivious I was about everything they discussed except feminism till I left for school. I really had no idea but it’s great how much your consciousness can change. Speaking of, I love your advice! I will definitely work to do that more myself! I’m so happy I finally met you! It was awesome :)

  3. Skye

    Brittan and Shannon, I LOVED seeing both of y’all at BlogHer! Let’s do it again next year. :)

  4. Christina

    That’s pretty good advice. While I started out looking for people like myself in blogging (new moms of young kids), I found a bunch who weren’t so much like me along the way and I decided to embrace the diversity. I think we all have a lot we can learn from each other.

  5. Reginia Cordell

    I’ve wanted to attend BlogHer for quite some time. I hear that it’s packed with a lot of useful information. With some of the recaps I’ve read that that the excitement has dimmed some. Did you see this type of change?

  6. Alli

    I’m in awe that you have been blogging for 10 years! And the fact that you discovered you did not want to be a pro writer.

    About to click on the links you provided! Thanks.

  7. Louida

    I love reading blogs that are different than mines. Glad you have made it to your first blog conference. I’ll be going to my first one in Oct. for the Bloggy Boot camp and then a second one at the Wow conference. I have been blogging for about 7 years and finally decided to go to a conference this year.

  8. Amy Albers

    I’m learning that I don’t necessarily like to read about people just like me. There is so much in my “niche” – I’m enjoying reading about other lifestyles!

  9. Tiffany

    Love This: “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.”

    Great post and advice!

  10. Krystal's Kitsch

    I grew up wanting to be a writer or a journalist. I went the high school newspaper route, journalism major, mass communications graduate. I somehow decided…Nope. Not happening. I don’t know why, but I can relate to you in that way. I love to read and I write when I feel like it.

  11. Skye

    Melisa, Liz, and Christina, loved seeing all of you as well! And Liz you never need to excuse your Jersey with me. :)

    Reginia, that’s an interesting question. There is a risk that any long-running conference could get stale for repeat attendees, if they start feeling like they’ve heard it all before. I’ve started going to different kinds of sessions to keep it fresh for myself. Even if I think it’s a topic that won’t be directly relevant to me, I often find a lot of value in them.

    Krystal, sometimes you have to follow your heart even when it changes direction, you know?

    Everybody else, glad to see that my blogging advice is something a lot of folks already know – different is valuable!

  12. Kelly the Take Action WAHM

    What a great post, and the advice to read posts written by people different from you is so spot on. Reading blogs by so many other powerful, wonderful women totally opens up my world to things I would never have known otherwise.

  13. Julie S.

    That is a lot of years of attending conferences, that’s awesome! I do like that piece of advice – read blogs different from your own. I do think that makes sense and helps broaden our perspectives :)

  14. Christy

    Absolutely great advice! I clicked on over for a few minutes & will go back later and check out those ladies in more detail. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Michelle

    Congrats on 10 years. That is awesome! I haven’t been to a blogging conference yet, but it’s on my to do list. :) Sounds like fun!

  16. Skye

    Michelle and Alvina, I hope you get a chance to attend at least a small blogging conference soon! I have really enjoyed them over the years. And Louida, I hope your first one is great!

    Jaelan I definitely had a “double-take” moment when I saw that art! And then I was like okay, yeah, this says so much to me. And I doubt the hotel decorators had any idea.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and for sharing my enthusiasm for expanding our horizons through blogging. :)

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