I just returned home from the BlogHer Conference 2014. It was a great event, no doubt. The keynote speakers were top-notch and it was extremely well organized and inclusive of all different types of bloggers. I had attended the BlogHer Food Conference just a few months back and had a similar experience, though, in that I found it to be inspiring but completely overwhelming at the same time.
I’m not writing this post to be a downer in any way of these events. There’s no doubt in my mind that the first and most significant reason why I find attending conferences difficult is because I’m an introvert. My preference is to connect with one person at a time in a meaningful way, but that’s impossible with crowds and a million activities packed into several days.
Secondly, while I feel really fortunate to have been asked to be on panels at the BlogHer Food and BlogHer ’14 events, I also am terrible at public speaking. I know you’re probably thinking, “Carrie, don’t be so hard on yourself,” but, believe, me, I’m not trying to be modest. Writing comes naturally to me, speaking does not. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to work on my public speaking skills and I’m thinking I really need to re-join a Toastmaster’s group soon.
Outside of my personal issues, I’m also really dis-interested in anything technology-related to blogging. I run a website, but I don’t want anything to do with it outside of typing words and adding pictures. Therefore, my brain shuts down during most conversations related to optimization, monetization, or anything-ization.
Lastly, there is the issue of corporate sponsorship. I’m very careful about filtering what products and companies get reviewed or mentioned on my blog. I went for several years without any ads because of the vegan thing and because of my general control freak nature. While I love my BlogHer relationship, I know that it’s hard for the administrators to match me with corporate sponsors. I don’t fit into a box very well and for that reason, most companies don’t want to work with me and vice versa.
Because of all of these reasons, blogging is both the perfect and imperfect career for me. I left the conference feeling empowered and excited because this is how I express myself and I take that very seriously. Blogging is my connection to the world, the way I make new relationships, and is the activity that has kept me the most challenged, engaged, and inspired than almost anything else I’ve ever done.
I also left BlogHer feeling guilty about being a “bad attendee.” I didn’t go to one party and my swag was virtually non-existent. I think I handed out 10 business cards total and that was only to the nice people who asked. In other ways, I left wondering if being a bad conference attendee makes me a less than perfect blogger?
Then, I realized that my blog is an extension of me and just as I am not willing to change myself or my needs to meet someone else’s standards or goals, I don’t need to change anything about my blogging other than keeping it genuine to my journey. And, trying to be perfect at anything? That is no longer on my agenda.
I’m not opposed to the idea that someday I’ll be more excited about attending professional blogging conferences and sitting in on classes that tell me how to do it better. But, for now, I’m just happy to keep doing what I’m doing, figuring it out in my own way, and being an eccentric writer who would rather express herself with words, preferably barefoot and wearing comfy yoga pants, in the comfort of her own home.