I’m just back from the first ever BlogHer Writers Conference. I was so excited and fortunate to attend but really had no idea what to expect. As I usually do, I went to the conference in NYC more or less unprepared.
On the plane ride there, I actually caught up on the pre-conference homework. I’m not going to recount the learning but it was fantastic and informative and just a really good read.
I met so many other bloggers (some I knew, some are brand new) and it was a different vibe because we were all there for the writing. It was a small and intimate community ranging broadly in age and I enjoyed meeting every single person.
I was admittedly intimidated by the published authors, Penguin editors, and the bloggers who seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do. I’m still floundering. I have breakthroughs once in a while but I definitely felt like a flounder at this conference (completely of my own doing). So instead of floundering on a decent post about the conference, I thought I’d dump it for my stream of consciousness. It will give you a sense of the madness in my head.
P.S. If you do have specific questions about the conference, feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to answer them!
The things I learned at the BlogHer Writers conference can be generally lumped into 2 categories.
Things I already knew:
– I am a writer. A good one. I’ve been writing all my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wasn’t a good writer. But writing has taken on an entirely new meaning for me over the last 2 years and I’m still trying to figure out what that is.
– I’m not well-versed at creative writing. At least not in the storytelling sense of the term.
– The more you write, the better you get. I never would have believed that writing requires practice but it does.
– I need to read more. The more you are exposed to different styles of prose, the more you can get a sense of what’s good and what’s not. I think either consciously or subconsciously, it will make you a better writer.
Things I’m figuring out:
– Do I have a book in me? I always envisioned myself writing a book but never really envisioned what that book would be. I’m so comfortable writing about what I know. That’s what this whole blog is about. But can I create a compelling story that people will want to read?
– How can I be so old and feel so behind? I’m a self-admitted late bloomer. It’s hard to be the oldest at your table and feel like you’re the least experienced. This wasn’t totally the case but it was how I made myself feel much of the time.
– I want to practice writing more. I want to try my hand at fiction. I want to create literary moments. I want these to be stepping stones to what I write in the future. I’m just not sure if I want to do them here or in another space entirely.
– Apparently, even if I get a book published, I’m not going to magically appear on Oprah and get super rich. (Yes, I know Oprah’s show is off the air and being super rich isn’t my motivation but you get the idea).
– No matter how you pursue a career in writing, it’s always good to have alternative sources of income. I have some of those. Just figuring out if I want to keep doing all of those.
– Self-confidence and self-esteem play wicked, wicked games with your mind. I need to decide how I feel about my abilities, feel confident about what I want to do, and just shut up, quit the whining, and do it.
I enjoy reading your blog, I think you’re a good writer. I’m glad you went to the conference and that you have some stuff to think about as well as reinforcement of the things you know, especially that you are a good writer.
Well, truth be told, nothing at the conference reinforced that I’m a good writer. But in my heart, I think I am. I probably need to take advice and get someone other than my husband to tell me that.
I think you’re a good writer and I’m sure a lot of your readers do too or else they wouldn’t be your readers. Follow your heart, it’s leading you in the right direction.
I spent some time watching the tweet stream from the conference, and really learned a lot just from the snippets that were being shared.
I think you have that book inside you…and you will bring it out in time. You will rock it!
I’m still determining what I want to do with writing. I feel pulled in a couple of directions, and am not sure which is the right way yet.
I have to admit that I like the sound of having written a book. I’m yet to determine if I have one. Or one that I can tell well in my own voice.
I’m still exploring directions but I definitely know blogging is a worthwhile one!
It’s great to read about your sharing about being a writer. I too hope to be a successful writer one day but at the moment the focus is more on the kids then myself.
I keep hearing (and believing) that a good book will rise to the surface when it’s ready to come out. In the meantime, I suggest just writing when you can. Every little bit of practice helps!
Hey, Fadra, I did my SOCSunday post about the conference too. I love how honest you are here about all the feelings brought up by being there. I can totally relate to everything you’ve said here!
I’m glad you can relate because I felt like everyone but me walked away feeling so energized! But then, I went into the whole thing in a different place altogether.
You are definitely a good writer, this blog is proof. I think those of us that have spent a lot of time writing and calling ourselves writers have all had some of your same thoughts. I know I have. Ever since I was a child I have wanted to write a book. But as I have gotten older my self confidence has waned…of all the conferences this one is probably the one I should have attended.
This was totally different than a blogging conference. It felt serious and professional while still maintaining a strong sense of community. If they have another one next year, go with me?
Yes, I would love to go if they have it again next year!
I think you have book in you!!! Go for it!!!
I’m going to spend some time trying to find the book in me over the next few months.
It was so great to see you at the conference. As you know – I did my review yesterday… and it took me slightly longer than 5 – or I would’ve linked it up. Today I’m nursing 3 sick kids and typing one handed…. so I might only get one sentence out in 5 minutes 🙂 Talk to you soon. Kristen
Here’s a secret: I didn’t pay attention to the time when I wrote this today. I just made sure the the SOC part was truly unedited. I just wanted to get those thoughts out. Hope your kids feel better!
I was a late bloomer in writing, too, and like you I always knew I would write a book one day. Just give me an idea and I’m off. Finally, it happened and I became a published author. Use some photo prompts to start out with some creative writing. I used to teach creative writing, and I’d tell them to use the prompts as a setting, character, plot, etc. Try it out. There are multiple ways to brainstorm for ideas. And keep writing and reading. I totally agree with you about how important those two items are to being a writer. Good luck figuring it all out.
Thank you, Mary. Yes, it’s the idea and the inspiration that I’m lacking. I can write blog posts all day long but to come up with something longer than 800 words can be a bit challenging. I love your suggestions and I’m in the process of setting up a creative writing space for myself!
I have always always wanted to be a writer. I love it. I love the written word. I love to read. But I took a break from writing for about 10 years and I am just now getting back into my groove. I think I have a book in me, just waiting for the idea to appear!! Lol!
Sounds like we’re similar. The only difference is that I never really realized how much I loved to write. I think I can write a book too. Just waiting for *my* idea!
Oh, man, this was good, Fadra.
I appreciate being there vicariously, with this post.
Some of the things you say here, I do, too.
It’s hard to zero in on what we have in us.
I feel like there are so many different directions I could go in.
I’ve also learned that both the more you write and the more you read, the more you grow.
It’s hard to settle down in one genre: esp. when there are so many you are drawn to.
Thank you for this: I read it twice, because you had so much there I could really introspect on.
Ah, this is why we need a weekend with a few good women, a few bottles of wine, and some reading, writing, and brainstorming. I love that we are part of the same community in more ways than one.
I’ve just “found” you, but I think you definitely have writing talent 🙂
I’m not being a pusher (well, maybe just a little,) but have you ever checked out the Write on Edge prompts? They’re great ways to practice and flex different writing muscles, and I think we’re pretty supportive over there 🙂
I feel like a late bloomer all the time, too, and I’m just NOW even finding out if I have anything close to a future in writing. I try not to think about the people who have been working at it, passionately, for years and years and just trying to remember my strengths, how much I love it, and that sometimes dreams just get put on hold for a while.
Angela – thank you for your compliments! Yes, I know about Write on Edge but never thought they were for me since I don’t write fiction. Now, I’m stretching my thoughts and especially after talking to Cheryl (@mommy_pants:disqus), I definitely plan to be a part of it.
I’ve been writing for myself for only 2 years. I should just give myself a little time to figure out how to grow my writing.
I’m looking forward to seeing you over there 🙂
Thanks for sharing your trip! It sounds great and now I think I may have to check out those tips.
It was definitely an inspiring, humbling, and eye-opening experience.
Thanks so much for writing so much of what I feel these days. (Wish I’d known about that conference–I may have gone. Thanks for your candidness and tips; all useful, practical and very easily employed.
Joanna – it’s a journey and there is definitely no STOCK writer. It’s our individualism that makes us unique as writers. Hoping they have the conference next year as well!
Great post. Enjoyed hearing it. Thanks.
I sometimes think I must be the only English major who never dreamed of writing a book LOL. The conference sounds like it was very beneficial for you. There are a lot of successful writers who could be considered late bloomers as well. I looks forward to seeing where your writing goes!
Well, I was a biology major and I want to write a book so I guess the universe balances out somehow. I’m a late bloomer in everything I do so I have time!
I saw you from across the room a few times but we never officially met. However, you definitely put my thoughts into words in this post. I feel like the information I got from the conference made me realize just how little I know about the space. It’s exciting and intimidating all at the same time!
Best of luck figuring things out on your writing journey!
Two days ago I was feel sorry for myself. Today I feel re-energized. I’m disappointed that I can’t just magically write a book (because yes, I am naive like that) but I also have a clear vision of the path to get there.
Big Hands, I know you’re the one (I can hear the song in my head but can’t place it!!!!!!!!!)
Violent Femmes. And my theme song. 😉
Ah yes. Blister in the Sun 🙂