Monday, March 09, 2009

Reconsidering the reasons

BlogHer, the conference, is something I assumed I would attend this year. I've been twice now, and it helps me give credit to what I do here, and here, and here, and here.

The first year I attended, I roomed with an amazing woman and got to hang with some super cool bloggettes. It was validating to be around so many great writers and to learn more about the craft and the business. I was inspired.

Then I got a little busy having a baby and all. There wasn't as much time to do the reviews I had been doing for Props and Pans. I got tired of always being down and dragging my blog through the muck. I kept up with it, but only half-heartedly.

By the time summer came, I was feeling a little better about things and Little Bird and I took off for BlogHer once again. We met my momma there, and she helped watch after Bird while I attended the conference.

Here's the thing. I didn't feel connected. Most of the people I knew and had hung with the year before were all attending outside events that I didn't know about and wasn't part of. It's hard to say that without sounding like sour grapes, and you certainly can't say it right after the conference or people get terribly defensive, and you get labeled a whiner.

I'm not whining, I'm just stating some facts. Facts that have been influencing how I look at blogging. Besides, what affected me was not that I wasn't invited to events, it was that I wasn't missed. As in, no one noticed that I wasn't there or included. I felt invisible. Plus, I didn't get to visit with the people I really wanted to visit with because they were busy. With these other things. Maybe invisible isn't the word, maybe it's just disconnected.

I've been doing this for a few years now, and I know that "canape" is one of those names that illicits the, "Oh yeah, I've heard of her," response. I also know that I have a small (but fantabulous) readership. I'm okay with that. I will not find my fame and fortune with blogging. I never intended to.

There are bloggers on every level who I consider friends. They are terrific women who I'm humbled to have personal relationships with. The thing is, they have their own circles of friends, so even though I have friends, I don't have a group of friends. I've had this issue my whole life. I can be friends with a jock, a geek, a freak, and a brain, but I never have fit in with the whole group of jocks, geeks, freaks, or brains.

I stand alone, in the end. Always alone at some point or another, but yet never forever. I'm working on learning how to be a part of a group. There are some women who have been schooling me in that for about 18 months now. It's a good lesson to learn.

In the meantime though, there is the question of BlogHer. It has come down to this for me:

  • I am not ever going to do reviews for a living or on this blog.
  • I will never have enough traffic to sell adspace here, nor will I be changing my writing style and content to make it so.
  • While I love reading several different blogs, I have lost the urge to connect with every single blogger that I love in real life. I don't need to meet the musicians whose albums I love. It's become the same sort of thing.
  • I have a bigger desire for the real life connections I make via the internet to happen locally. There are some amazing bloggers right here where I live, and I would like to cultivate relationships with them.
  • For what it would cost me to go to BlogHer, my family could spend a week in the mountains.
That is the bottom line. Do I value networking and the possiblity of making a few more connections over giving my family some much needed time off together? Do I really think that I can accomplish enough at BlogHer to justify choosing it over a week off with my boys?

I just don't think so.

Having said that, I am not against going with a sponsorship. If some company wants to pay my way and have me wear their name plastered on my behind, that would be alright with me. I think the conference is a wonderful thing, and if I end up there this year, I would do some things differently.

I would be a little more outgoing. I would find out ahead of time what was going on and when, and I would get myself included. Because in the end, most of the events surrounding the conference weren't exclusive - getting left out is way different than being excluded.

We'll see. For now though, I'm going to book that cabin in the Appalachians and look forward to some quiet summer days with my family.

And I'm going to keep writing and reading. Because that's what this is all about in the end.