The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


BlogHer Deliverables

Long after most of the Internet has quieted down about BlogHer, I'm still trying to put together the perfect post to explain why I was so excited about this conference and why I had such a wonderful experience in Chicago.

There's a lesson here, of course. And it's almost so trite that I hesitate to point it out. It is, of course, this: Perfectionism leads to procrastination. This is the third time I've tried to write this post, and I'm determined to get through it now. So...

Why should a conference of 800 women bloggers have me in such a tizzy? When I tried to explain the conference to people in my "off-line" world, I could tell some of them didn't really get it. I realized I was doing a poor job of describing BlogHer when someone asked me, "So, it's like a conference about computer stuff?"

Yes and no. But for me, mostly no. That's what I love about blogging. The technology surrounding and supporting it is cool. And I have loads to learn. But what the technology enables is way cooler. I was excited to meet other women who are sharing their opinions, telling their stories, and creating communities online. I was excited to meet other women who "get" blogging.

You know how you build something up in your mind and the real thing can barely compare? Well, BlogHer wasn't like that. It may be the best conference I've ever been to. I met so many interesting women over those three days. I'm still working through the stack of cards that I collected, visiting new blogs and sending little email "hellos." I was also touched by how many other women were interested in me. They wanted to hear my story as much as I wanted to hear theirs. There was a strong sense of community and good juju that I never experienced at the business networking events of my previous life.

The days weren't just about meeting and greeting, though. There was a jam-packed schedule of sessions to choose from. I mostly stuck with The Art of Life track, but ventured into a few Business and Technical sessions. I'm still going through all of my notes. That's another thing that really impressed me about this conference: its usefulness. Maybe it's just because I'm more interested and motivated on this topic than others, but I don't usually find much value in seminars and conference sessions. All too often it's a bunch of talk without any useful take-aways. But I have tons of resources to check out and ideas to pursue after BlogHer.

Before I left for Chicago, I made a list of BlogHer Deliverables, a mini wish list in which I described how I wanted to weekend to go.

  • Meet new kindred spirits and begin to establish meaningful friendships.

  • Meet blog crushes.

  • Find someone who will redesign and combine my website and blog into one fabulously designed site.

  • Increase my blog audience.

  • Make good professional connections for future writing work.

  • Begin to learn about monetizing my blog.

  • Make good connection for my book.

  • Be inspired and encouraged.

  • Have fun!!

  • Be comfortable and confident in my own skin (and my own clothes!).

  • Feel beautiful and intelligent.

Saturday night, after two very long, action-packed days, I sat in my hotel room feeling very tired and a little sorry for myself. Nothing was actually wrong, but my internal critic started whispering in my ear, saying darkly seductive things like, "Sure you met a lot of people, but who will remember you? Will this weekend be worth anything once you're home? Maybe you made a fool of yourself, blathering on like you did, eh? And let's face it, your blog sure needs a lot of work..."

I was journaling about all of this, boo-hooing for myself when I remembered my list. As I read through it, I was shocked to realize that every single item had happened or was in the works. The only iffy one was learning about monetizing my blog. But I learned something even more important: I'm not sure if I want to monetize this space. Some people are definitely pro-ad or anti-ad. I can see the value in each scenario. I realized that I need to better define what I want this online space to be and to do. And that goes far beyond the "ad vs. ad-free" debate.

My weekend among other bloggers has me asking questions: Why do I blog? For whom do I blog? Can I be a generalist? Do I need to find a more specific niche? Does my voice come through in this writing?

To that end, why do you come here? Tell me your thoughts and preferences in the comments or by email to jennifer[at]thewordcellar[dot]com. Join the conversation, won't you?

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add to kirtsy | 10:02 PM


Anonymous Lisa said...

Hello dear Jennifer :-) Thank you for so eloquently describing the BlogHer experience. You put words to what most of us who attended would express about our time there, too.

It was a joy to meet you! You are wonderful and beautiful and intelligent! Having you recognize me as Nerdy Renegade was a HUGE excitement and milestone for me :-)

Those of us who blog, for whatever reason, are bonded together. Our common denominator of blogging seems to cut through all the other superficialities (is that even a word?) that might get in the way of our "knowing" one another in some other setting. It's as if we've been initiated into a club and we are accepted and welcomed with open arms simply because we blog. Isn't that amazing?

I see this realm as what the quilting bee ladies used to experience. Telling stories, sharing woes, comparing experiences, encouraging one another...only instead of sitting around a quilt or in rocking chairs on someone's porch, we're gathered around our action that, regardless of our location, brings us together.

Blessings to you this day as you continue to process and utilize the gifts that remain from our time at BlogHer.


8/09/2007 8:39 AM  
Blogger Jennifer/The Word Cellar said...

Thank you so much for your kinds words, Lisa. And I love your comparison to the quilting bee!

8/10/2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger Pink Shoes said...

Why do I come here? I have no idea how I came across this space originally, but that seems to matter no more to me. What is important is the images that you create with carefully chosen words, or at least words that appear carefully chosen which is the gift of an artist.

I come here because you're witty and wise, and you write about things from shoes to writing, and because you don't seem to have a certain niche.

There are blogs I read about ministry, and blogs I read about mothering, and blogs that I read about art, and others that I read because they tell stories. Nearly without fail, when pressed for time and sifting through my bloglines, the ones that tell good stories are the ones I drop in on first. You're one of them.

8/15/2007 3:55 PM  

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