"Write what you know so they say. All I know is I don't know what to write or the right way to write it."
While I was in New York City for my first blogging conference, I also saw Newsies on Broadway. The above lyric is from the song "Watch What Happens" sung by the female lead, Katherine. This song was like the soundtrack to my whole experience. She was a journalist singing about writing the big story, the daunting task that writing can be, and how her words might have the power to really impact a situation.
I have been back from New York for a while now, and I have felt much like Katherine from Newsies, unsure of where to even begin to put my experience into words. But, here is my post-BlogHer post finally...
When the alarm buzzed at 6:30 the next morning, I followed the advice of this wise sage and gave myself permission to sleep in and miss out on the newbie breakfast favoring sleep instead of my own incoherent rambling when it came time to network with other bloggers. I know myself well enough to be sure that I need sleep and downtime to be a functional human being. I love meeting new people, hearing and telling stories, and experiencing new places, but I also need time to myself. I actually am re-energized when I am alone and can process everything, and I think I struck up the perfect mix of the two during this hectic weekend in New York. It was important, because this conference was consuming.....in a good way... which could become a bad way if you let it.
I tried to keep focused on what I was there for, to submerge myself into the blogosphere and soak up whatever it had for me like a sponge. I wanted to see myself as a writer and meet other writers. I wanted to talk about, learn about, and get excited about blogging . I was not necessarily there to sell myself to brands, although there was plenty of opportunity for that in the expo hall, which I just completely avoided. Talk about sensory overload and free crap that I did not want to drag home in my suitcase. Another year in the future I may feel differently, but this was my starting point, an intentional step in the direction of taking my blog more seriously and writing as a career.
It wasn't just the conference, it was the entire experience that affected me. I was in New York for the first time, by myself, hailing cabs and walking in Central Park. I was meeting people and handing out blog business cards and mingling. The panels were enlightening and the keynotes were interesting and inspiring. But, it was the overall reality humming in the back of my mind the whole time that was the most valuable. "You are here, you are doing it, you are following another dream," and I don't know if I've been that proud of myself in a long time.
"Give life's little guy some ink, and when it dries just watch what happens!"
New York has a way of making you feel small. The pace is frenetic, and the windows and steel go on forever in a sea of city. Every crack in the sidewalk is full of people and productivity. If you let it, it will dwarf you and you will feel lost and insignificant. There were plenty of "big guys" like Martha Stewart (surprisingly sassy and clever), Katie Couric (brilliant and adorable) sharing their thoughts at the conference. Even President Obama had a message for this group of women bloggers. But, hearing The Voices of the Year Keynote at BlogHer showed me how the words of a "little guy" can impact a whole room, a whole community. And that one line in that one song reminded me. Writing is powerful because it puts this life we are all living in a frame. It fosters conversation and better understanding of ourselves and others. It is a chance for us to tell our stories, and we don't always know how the story will end or the impact our writing will have on others, but the important part is to just sit down and begin.
So after the show, as I was whirled in between honking taxis on the back of a pedicab, I was exhilarated from the warm night air and bright lights of Times Square, and I beamed at the possibilities as I was reminded of the last line of the song...
"So whatever happens....let's begin!"
|My view from the back of the bike cab. It's blurry cause I've never been on a faster or more recklessly driven bike. That's New York for ya!|