Last weekend I was very fortunate to attend a blogging conference in Dallas. The Hundred was the brainchild of these lovely bloggers:
I was amazed by how Lauren, Megan, Bridget (fellow east coaster!) and Grace (fellow mom of four!) have little little kids, successful blogs, husbands that are as lovely and successful as they are, and they still managed to pull off a conference that was gorgeous, seamless, uber-packed with helpful knowledge (my photog skills thank you), and filled with so many amazing, creative original women.
I am still processing all of the thoughts and insights that came from the weekend, but I wanted to share a quick recap while it is still fresh. I felt like this the whole weekend:
Interested, amazed, engaged…like drinking out of a fire hose. I am so glad I stepped out of our little bubble of our busy life to hear about experiences from all over the country, to hear about peoples struggles and triumphs, and mostly, to hear about how to do this here thing called blogging. (Case in point: a generous new friend for life Indiana JUST helped me add my social media buttons. While she watched her three children and packed to move to Atlanta. Please feel free to follow me on Instagram since I am currently obsessed.)
Getting to know other bloggers was such a huge part of the weekend. Babies and pretty swag from Joules and Twine Interiors and collective pampering were happily shared by all these mamas. But no doubt about it, writing, and blogging, is a solitary business. And as I read some of the recaps my new friends like Blythe and Kate posted, I am struck by how much we all grew as individuals. Because being creative means first knowing who you are, and then being able to communicate that well, to craft that uniquely, so you can share it with others.
The other big piece of the meeting that is so helpful to reiterate on these inter-webs is just how much comparing yourself to others robs you of exactly that creativity. Anyone who has tried to step into the arena of blogging and writing knows how much figuring out how to do it immediately brings you to how other people do it. We learn from each other. But every speaker seemed to touch on the caution of how dark a place it is to compare yourself. And I am glad they did, since I think you will hit upon that place at some point along the way if you try to be creative. Imagine if Anne Lamott or Robin Williams or Georgia O’Keefe were too busy comparing to hone their own crafts. And look at how much better a place the world is because they did become who they were meant to be as artists.
I came away grateful for other people sharing what they know (thank you so much J Noel photography for teaching me how to use my manual setting on my camera and for Paige at Awake Photography for all of these photos).
But I came away more aware then ever of what is pressing on my heart (a second novel, duplicating that s’mores pizza) and how to improve all my skills to tell those stories. And though I am exhausted and overwhelmed at what my eyes were opened to, I am wide awake and amazed by all that creativity holds for each one of us.