I wasn't going to go. There really wasn't a point, after all. I mean, I don't do reviews. I don't really have time to make IRL friends out of the people I already talk to online. And my spare time should be dedicated to that getting famous/book deal thing I'm kinda invested in, so do I really need to be spending a weekend with a bunch of women I probably have nothing in common with in the name of networking and social media at something with a cutesy name like Bloggy Boot Camp?
Answer: You bet your ass.
Here's the deal: When you have familiar avatars and scary-impressive numbers attached to every tweet your send out, it's bound to intimate the little fish in the pond who might wonder if responding to something your super-famous-self said or if you are even going to see the comment from not-so-famous us. So we follow. We lurk. We type and delete and then figure we'll try again later when our numbers get just a bit bigger.
But those avatars are tricky little fuckers. They're teeny. They can be grainy. They might not look so much like the In Real Life you. And that's when people like me walk up to people like you and forget about the numbers and the followers and the influence and just smile and say "hello" and tell people like Loralee that her purse kicks absolute ass before realizing who I was talking to.
Because it's that easy.
And that hug Tiffany said she wanted before bloggy boot camp? Ya know...the one she sent me a tweet about? Yeah, she remembered!
And ya wanna know what happened when I opened my mouth? (Aside from making an ass of myself when I heard Katja speak and realized it wasn't just a cute red head at my table but Katja herself, that is. Because that's when I turned back to Theresa and loud enough for Katja to hear and said, "OMG. I just realized who I was sitting next to! She's Katja!" Which I'm sure is a moment Sugar Jones can relate to. Ask her about Patrick Duffy if you weren't at Bloggy Boot Camp.)
I connected with people. I laughed with them. I learned I wasn't the only mom-writer there who thought it was going to be a waste of time and left totally high on renewed energy and lots of new dreams.
Then there was meeting Carolyn McCray for dinner on Saturday after the conference and before the cocktail party and showed up with my heart in my throat while trying to not sound like I had no clue what I was talking about with her, Dee Dee and Piper Heiney. I'm thinking I survived, but I may need that vodka Dee Dee provided in her little swag bag to get over any glitches in my portion of the conversation that now make me do some face-palm action.
I was only there because Dr. Lynne Kenney thought it might be a great idea to give it a try and I reluctantly signed up. (And I can't thank her enough for making me try something new.)
I may have been the picture of confidence but I'll tell ya a secret. I freaked before I got there. Becca, Melanie, Michelle, Chelsea, and Shey were okay with the fact that I packed a week's worth of clothes so I could have choices and blend when I got to the Xona Resort, which was nice because I seriously looked like an asshole next to the people flying in from other states with those adorable little over-nighter suitcases. (Note to self: I will not be repeating this mistake next year.)
(Okay, that was a total lie.)
I may not give a damn about SEO (mainly because thinking about it makes my head hurt) or have plans for monetizing the blog. But I did learn to keep an open mind when entering into each and every new situation. Because as I listened to authors who blog talk about making their dreams a reality and to presentations on vlogging and branding yourself, I realized I fit right in with every other mom blogger in the room with me as we work on leaving our marks in the world with our words and figure out how to stay sane while doing it.