I mentioned in my last post that I spent Saturday at the MN Blogger Conference, and I need to do a recap of the day here because it was such an amazing event. The space—CoCo MSP—was lovely and intimate (which was perfect for the conference, though I know many people who wanted to be there couldn’t because attendance was capped at 150.)
I took away something from each of the sessions, but one of the highlights of the conference for me was the opening keynote, in which a panel of Minnesota’s pioneering bloggers—Nancy Lyons, James Lieks, Teresa Boardman and Patrick Rhone—talked about how they got started and why blogging is an important part of their lives. Many of them have been blogging since before “blogging” was a term. Nancy mentioned that she loves the humanity of blogs, how they “connect us to one another.” Patrick mentioned how writing a blog can help you develop your unique writer’s voice. He also said that he prefers be called an “online writer” rather than a blogger because the term blogger “reduces the respect and credibility of those who write and publish online.” I couldn’t agree more.
My break-out session was “Growing as Writers: Taking Your Blog Posts to the Next Level,” which was basically a mini crash course in creative nonfiction. Echoing what Patrick Rhone said, I talked about how important it is to think about blogging as writing.
**I have to interrupt myself here and admit that I’m a Neanderthal. During my session, people were snapping photos and typing away, and I kept thinking, Are they bored? Are they texting their friends? What’s going on here? It was only after the session that I realized they were tweeting. I was probably one of three people at the conference who isn’t on twitter. (Thank you, Monika, for your patience and graciousness in showing me how it works!)
I was also one of the only people there who was taking notes throughout the day using an actual pen and paper. (At one point I pulled out my phone to check the time, and I was thoroughly embarrassed to be holding such an antiquated piece of equipment in my hands. It takes me about forty minutes to send one text message.) Note to self: Get up to speed.**
So I learned a ton about the business of blogging. (Though I wish I had been able to attend the sessions on analytics and SEO—I’ve no idea what SEO even is.)
But the biggest message I left the conference with was the way blogging can effect incredible change in people’s lives.
Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary was amazing as she talked about finding one’s authentic blogging voice. You must read her story if you don’t already follow her. And her blog even looks great. What a lovely banner. (Note to self: Get up to speed.)
And of course, the final keynote of the day was delivered by Matt Logelin, who started to blog when his wife, Liz, was on bed rest awaiting the birth of their daughter. I’m sure many of you have been dedicated readers of Matt’s blog, where he’s written about his grief in the wake of Liz’s death, the day after their daughter, Maddy, was born, and where he continues to write about raising Maddy as a single dad. Even if you don’t read his blog, you’ll be moved to tears by his keynote, which is funny, heartbreaking, and down-to-earth. (And he swears a lot, which I love.) You can listen to it and a few other sessions from the conference at The Uptake.
You can also meet Matt this weekend if you’re in the Twin Cities. He’s doing fundraising for The Liz Logelin Foundation, which provides financial and material assistance to grief-stricken young families. A Celebration of Hope will take place Friday night, September 17th at 6:30 pm at Solera in Minneapolis. And walk run hope, the foundation 5K, will take place on Saturday the 18th at 6 pm at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. You can register the day of the event, so don’t worry if you haven’t signed up yet.