Monday, March 25, 2013

Top 6 Blissdom Takeaways

For me, Blissdom was a very different experience this year. I can vividly remember arriving home after last year's conference feeling so convicted, jazzed up and prepared with the right tools to grow my blog, get to know my readers better and share my story in a way that was authentic, honest and engaging. 

I arrived home on a post-conference high that lasted months as I set about to become the writer I wanted to be. It was my first time attending a blogging conference of any sort and my experience was priceless. It was because of last year's conference that I knew I wanted to return this year.

This year I left with a different feeling that I can't quite put my finger on. Based on my experience this year, I'm not sure I would consider going back for another year. There wasn't necessarily a conference high or even a buzz going as I walked away from the hotel, ready to climb into the shuttle that would begin my journey home. 

My experience this year may also have something to do with the place I am in with I Love You More Than Carrots. I'm not looking to make any lofty changes to this space, other than a contemplative move to WordPress. I'm comfortable with my voice and how I write and so I wasn't necessarily walking away with the same takeaways as the previous year. Perhaps that's why the post-conference high wasn't much more than a mere fizzle. 

Sadly, I was disappointed in a few of the breakout sessions, namely the one that I had been most looking forward to sitting in on. With that being said, there were a few speakers whose words continue to ring in my ears even as I sit typing this and I learned much from a few of my favorite writers in between sessions, in the hallways of the hotel and at dinners. 

In no particular order, here are my Top 6 Takeaways from Blissdom 2013:

6. Don't read what you want to write. Then it becomes a comparison game and comparison never wins. 

Jeff Goins brought up an interesting point. Don't read what you want to write or else you will find yourself constantly comparing. Did you want to write something similar? Maybe you feel that someone else wrote it better or that they already wrote it so it doesn't bear repeating even in your own voice. Don't do that to yourself. You want to write fiction? Read non-fiction. You want to write about motherhood? For the love, do not read other parenting blogs when brainstorming your pieces. 

5. Multi-tasking is a myth.

This was one of the first things Megan Jordan touched on in her breakout session "Uninterrupted Thought: The Power of Focus." I learned that when trying to multi-task just two tasks, your IQ drops 10 points. What's even funnier is that as I sit and type this I have no less than 7 internet browser tabs open. I might as well be a mumbling idiot at this point. 

In all seriousness though, when trying to sit down and write, shut it down. Turn off the wireless if you need to. Stop checking Twitter, scheduling tweets in HootSuite and waiting for that number to change in your email inbox. This is something I need to work on.  

4. Perfectly big hair. Forget incessant back-combing.

Okay, I learned this one from my roomate, Jennifer. I was not born in the south, raised near the south nor did I really ever know anyone from the south until I was in college. I blame being born and raised in the land of the New Jersey Housewives on this one and although I've perfected the Snookie poof, I've unsuccessfully watched YouTube video after YouTube video trying to achieve the perfect back-combed tease. 

Until Jen introduced me to this product, Big Sexy Hair Powder Play. All weekend I received compliments on my hair and I must confess that it was all thanks to this powder, my brilliant Southern roommate and the multiple times each day that we would stop back into the room to curl/fluff our hair.   

3. Twitter is for conversations, not dictations. The secret to being social is to talk with people not at them.

Bless that Scott Stratten. Use Twitter for conversations not constant marketing plugs. If you only tweet about giveaways, blog posts you've written and things that are constantly "me! me! me!" people will not like you. Interact. Engage. Twitter is a two-way street. 

2. #Latergram doesn't mean #lamegram. Experience the moment first, socialize it later. Be present.

Another golden tidbit from the lovely Megan Jordan. I wrote last year about finding balance between savoring moments with my kids and struggling to find time to write. Although I get better with achieving this balance each day, I am always a work in progress and need reminding. 

It was once assumed that when hash-tagged pictures "#latergram" on Instagram, the service wasn't being used properly as people were expected to share photographic evidence of their lives in the now. Megan brought up a good point. Be present in the moment. Savor it. Who cares if you post it later? Just because it wasn't documented at the exact moment it happened didn't mean it didn't occur.  

1. Don't be a jerk.

I tweeted about wanting to tuck Jon Acuff into my pocket and carry him around with me for all time. He is witty, brilliant, captivating, comedic, endearing- I could go on. He brought up a good point, one that you don't think needs mentioning, let alone repeating. Something that many of us should have learned a long time ago. 

Don't be a jerk, especially online. He even wrote an article about "How To Not Be A Jerk Online" and if you're wondering how to not be a jerk online he includes great pointers like the following:

1. Don't publicly announce you're unfollowing people on Twitter. 
2. Don't argue with someone anonymously. 
3. Don't mock people, even if you're blanketing the mockery with humor. It isn't funny.

In the short year and a half that I've been on Twitter, I've been guilty of two those. I don't do anonymity because a) that's lame and b) I don't have time to create a false persona to hide behind, I have enough trouble keeping up with my real one. But I've done those things because I thought it was "cool" to do them. I mean, everyone else was doing it, why shouldn't I? But you know what? That's stupid and people who do those things need to check themselves and find something better to do with their time. 

He sums up the article with this, "The Internet is full of jerks right now. Anyone can be a jerk. You want to stand out and be original and represent... grace." I hate to end this post with a quote from someone else but he just says it so damn well.

So there it is. My top 6 takeaways from Blissdom 2013. Will I return again next year? It's too soon to tell. Am I glad that I went? Yes. There is always something to be learned. 


  1. Excellent recap though I thought the iPad was a pretty awesome takeaway! Did you buy a lottery ticket on your way home? :)

  2. I am too lazy to unfollow folks, so I tend to roll my eyes & scroll past several bloggers tweets because I know all they're saying is "read this blog post" "I'm giving away something worth more than you made in one of your former paychecks" "my life is perfect, kids are perfect, I am perfect" the pretentiousness that has become blogging has turned me off. I blog when I feel like it. I blog because I want to, not because I want to impress anyone. I actually just posted about this!
    I'd love to see some "big bloggers" follow what you took away from your conference, it would be a breath of fresh air.
    We moms & bloggers need to be more real, more honest instead of pretentious

  3. Thank you for posting this! I loved reading it. Great takeaways and now I really need to find that hair product so I can get bigger hair :)

  4. Great article! I just starting blogging and going to Blissdom sounds like such a fun time. I appreciate your honesty in that this year was a different experience for you. Thanks for sharing what you learned!

  5. Thanks so much for sharing the best points of Blissdom! I appreciate your honesty about this year being a little different than last year. Not every conference is going to be life-changing and that's okay!

  6. Great read! Thank you so much for sharing your "takeaways"! Even if this year didn't send you off hopping and skipping it sure seems like a good time and an experience to not miss out on. I appreciate all that you shared :)

  7. I seriously love that photo! :) Too cute. I was bummed I couldn't go to Blissdom but I really haven't heard a lot of wonderful things except for some great swag. I'm thinking about going to BlogHer this year... can't decide.

  8. It was nice meeting you at Blissdom. You and Jennifer looked fabulous in your outfits! I'll have to check out that hair product! :)

    This was my first year and it was a great experience. I had fun and learned a few new things so all and all a good time. Sorry to hear you didn't have as good of an experience this year as you did last year.

  9. I just bought my first Powder Play this weekend! I found it at Nordstrom Rack for super cheap. It's great.

  10. I love this AP. I was disappointed in some of the sessions too, and it was my first time to go, so I can't imagine having to compare it to last year. I was always able to at least get 1 tidbit from each session, even if it was crappy.

    I loved meeting you and chatting!

  11. Perfection. This post was awesome. I have a very real and honest post coming tomorrow about BlissDom. Nervous about posting it, but oh well. Taking Jon Acuff's advise and being honest in my blogging.

  12. This was my first year attending Blissdom and I left feeling like I really didn't learn as much as I thought I would. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high or if I attended the wrong sessions (I mainly went to writing and life development). In the aspect of meeting new people and hanging out with the ones I "know" from blogging I'd say it was awesome! I had tons of fun socializing! But I didn't leave the conference with the ambition to completely transform my blog or anything. Just a few good ideas and time management lessons :-)

  13. You are so cute. This is the second post I've read so far about Blissdom not being what it was last year and being a bit of a disappointment. I've never been so I don't know but its a little interesting. Nonetheless, I do love your 6 takeaways. Always good reminders and very meaningful :)

  14. Bummer--I'm sorry it wasn't as good as it was last year for you. I can imagine it was still pretty awesome though! Especially getting to see / meet all those other bloggers. Your head shot is SO cute!

  15. Hair Powder is my BEST FRIEND! Try Redken Powder Play too! It's fabulous! I've used both!

    Glad to hear your pointers from Blissdom!

  16. I love that picture! haha

    It's really sad for me to see and read that a lot of bloggers feel the same way about this year's Blissdom. It seems to be the same group that's being "mean" that everyone is talking about. I haven't read one good thing yet about this year. It kind of makes me really glad that I didn't waste money on it again.

    Last year was horrible for me and I will ALWAYS remember the kindness that you took to send me just a little card that was available to everyone! It was such a sweet gesture and really made my experience A LOT better :)

    I wanted to go next year but I'm just not sure now after hearing these things. Oy.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Yes!! Although this was my 3rd year attending, I feel like I always learn something and feel even more inspired. There are always sessions where I feel disappointed, but I've found that if I just sit on it for awhile that MAYBE I can take what the speaker said and use it for myself or blog.
    It was so great finally meeting you this year too. You're even cuter in person than online :)

  18. Yes!! This was my third Blissdom and every year I come home equally inspired. There are definitely some sessions I don't always learn what I thought I would, but I've found if I sit on the information for awhile I can usually tweak it for myself and blog.

    It was so great to finally meet you in person. I think I missed you last year.

  19. I don't know if I agree with that first one, only b/c I use other blogs as inspiration more than I do comparison. I guess it just depends on the type of person you are and what you're trying to do with your blog. But I love this post and I especially loved meeting you.

    I, too, have been guilty of proclaiming that I'm unfollowing or unfriending people on social media. I blogged about it once, but only because I had such an inner struggle over it. Turns out, that post got more comments than usual because other people had been feeling the same way.

    Since I was working, I didn't have time to sit in on the sessions, but the keynotes were great. The best part for me was meeting all the awesome bloggers I've been reading for so long now (like you).

  20. I love everything about this. Great ideas, suggestions and ways to improve.

    Love that pic of you too! Very cute!

  21. You know what, I never really thought of the #latergram thing. I always rush to share pictures because I didn't know if latergram was actually an app or a hashtag. Please tell me more!!! It's a great idea as I'm trying to unplug more from social media in the evenings.

    Also... I love that you shared honestly that you had two completely different experiences at Blissdom. I'm hoping someday a blog conference will make it down here to NOLA so I can meet some great people like you & Jennifer! :)

  22. Sorry your BlissDom experience was not as fulfilling - I know you had hoped to learn and grow but I'm glad that you already feel like you've found your voice and are comfortable with your blog and writing. I do have a theory though - last year was awesome because it was in Nashville and you were hoping to meet up with some of your fave local gals. Next year, skip BlissDom and come spend a girls weekend here!! :)

  23. I always look forward to your posts mama, I read them all, even when I may not comment, I am always thinking "damn she has a great way of saying that/writing that" and I think it is because you always stay true to who YOU are! You truly are an amazing person, and I know this because I know you- I've seen you in action so to speak lol. You know that you have always been an inspiration to me and a major help in the bloggy world, but you are also someone I admire outside of the bloggy world. You are a fabulous mom to two incredible boys, you are a great wife to M, you visit your family as often as you can, which is awesome because I am sure they miss you, and you have never hid behind this fantastic blog pretending to be someone you're not- because you are YOU and thank you for that!! xoxox


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