I have been percolating this post in my head for a bit what? a percolator used to be used to make coffee, the water was boiled up over the grounds...never mind, google it, loathe to write it for fear I will sound like a whiny brat. Though I am pretty sure that I am old enough not to be classified as a brat any longer. That's MRS. Bitch to you... but I have some things on my mind, and wonder if maybe others out there might have the same fears. I figure if I write it out, maybe we can
lance this festering boil discuss it and be done with it.
I went to Blogher 08. It was a life-changing experience. I went with no preconceived notions. I had never met anyone there, except through Twitter and reading their blogs. And I had the best time, met women I count as lifelong friends, and learned some interesting things along the way. It was an absolute success; one of the high points of my blogging experience.
But here's the thing. I am going again this year. I am excited, and I am also afraid. Afraid it won't be the same. I know, nothing is constant except change, but when you hit a pinnacle, you want it to be the way it was. I think it is human nature. Or maybe I am just a huge wimp. I don't want to be a third wheel. And I don't want to feel out of place because I am not a hugely successful and marketable blogger.
I have been blogging for three years. I started because if I didn't write, I would explode. In the beginning, I didn't expect anyone to even read it especially not my parents..oh God, not my parents, ever but gradually, I developed a modest following, and spurred on by twitter, gained a bit of recognition. When I went to the Blogher conference, I met people who knew me, at least 140 characters of me...or my writing through my blog. But I don't make money from my blog, and the new Mommyblogger 2.0 has kind of left me in the dust.
I suppose that's my fault. I don't market myself. I have no idea what my brand is, or even if I want one. I don't contact PR or marketing firms trying to get free products. None of that is me. I just write. There is a debate going on about what it takes to be a successful blogger in the Blogosphere right now. The concern is that many of us are going to get left in the dust by a new breed of entrepeneur and marketing mamas. These are women who are savvy at self-promotion and have the time to leverage their blog. Face it, with 3 kids with autism and homeschooling, I barely have time to wipe thoroughly after using the bathroom, much less pound pavement to make myself known.
I won't lie. I wouldn't mind being on marketing panels. I would like free trips and bling to give to my loyal readers. But I wonder at what cost all of that comes. When does it become not about the writing and more about the stuff you can get for writing? I have had a few very small potatoes marketing offers. But there has been nothing that I felt would fit with my blog content. So I have turned those offers down, rather than sell out. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge anyone else's choice to market as they see fit. We all have our own comfort level. I won't judge anyone else. I just know what feels good to me, and what I am willing to do.
Which brings me to my conundrum. Where do I fit in the blogging world? I have contented myself with the fact that I will never be an A-list blogger. Not because I think I am not good enough, I really believe I am. But there are so many out there, and only so much time for people to read. Those that get hundreds of comments for each post they write? They are a very small segment and it's not the norm. Far more people read this blog than comment. And they read yours, too... In any case, I am asking myself why I am going to Blogher this year. I certainly can't justify the expense. My "revenue stream" is a joke, and unless I am looking for a tax writeoff, it isn't going to help much at all. I went back and forth about going...but the bottom line for me is this:
whether I am an A-list blogger or not, I am a blogger. Therefore, I fit in. There will be others there that are better at what I do than I am.
But it's about the women. The women I know, the women I will meet and the women from whom I will learn. That is why I am going to Blogher. So repeat after me:
"Just for today, I am not going to get caught up in comments as currency. I am not going to look at my followers list, Facebook friends or Feedreader numbers. I am good enough, and I have a place in the Blogosphere, in whatever way I want to be there."I started blogging because I loved it and because I wanted to help other parents dealing with an autism diagnosis and wondering what to do. I wanted to connect parents to one another, as they were flailing around and feeling stuck and alone. That is the stated purpose of this blog. Can you market it? No. Can I live with it?
A thousand times, yes.
T, who hopes you are going, too