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Finding my people

standard October 24, 2011 13 responses

The morning before I left for BlogHer Writers I received my first rejection from a literary agency.

The afternoon before I left for BlogHer Writers I packed up my desk at work and traded in my gainfully employed status for the more uncertain status of entrepreneur/freelancer.

The evening before I left for BlogHer Writers both girls melted down completely and utterly at the news that mommy was leaving town… again.

The night before I left for BlogHer Writers I discovered tat I’d flubbed my plane reservations; instead of coming home mid-Saturday afternoon, I was scheduled to arrive at 9:30pm… three hours after the planned start of M’s surprise birthday party.

To say that I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to travel cross-country to attend an event that I really didn’t feel like I deserved to attend is putting it lightly.

I almost cried while waiting to board my plane.

A writer’s conference for me, wannabe novelist who had just been rejected? What was I thinking?

Another trip with the family after the utter debacle of the last one? What was I thinking?

Another expense after giving up my regular paycheck? What was I thinking?

And yet… I went.

And I’m so glad I did.

I’ve been to a writer’s conference before. One for more “traditional” writers and I felt so out of place there. Those authors saw being online and active in social media as a chore. A thing they “had” to do to appease agents and publishers. As an active and avid user of social networks and blogs I was an oddity, a not so welcome oddity.

I’ve been to blogger conferences where most people focus on how to make blogging lucrative, how to turn social media into a bill paying, family sustaining career, not as a simple vehicle for writing. I’m an oddity there too. I created my blog as an outlet for my words. The marketing part came after and has always remained secondary in my heart.

BlogHer Writers was the middle place. The reunion of the bloggers who blog to write and the writers who write in a social space.

Again and again I heard it:

“It feels like I’ve finally found my people.”

I’ve never wanted to join a writing group because I knew I’d feel out of place among “traditional” writers. I worried I’d become their social media tutor rather than their writing peer.

This week I finally felt what it would be like to be surrounded by writers who truly “get” me and how I work.

It was incredible.

Yes, of course I learned more than just that. But aside from some practicalities about the craft itself, this was my take-away from my time in New York.

I’m not alone in this. My people exist and I’ve met them. 

And yes, sometimes you have to ignore the voice in your head pointing at all the signs telling you not to do something and follow your heart instead. My head yelled at me and told me to leave the airport and go home. My heart told me to board the plane.

I’m so very glad I did.

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13 responses

  • Jessica, I loved seeing your tweets while you were at BlogHerWrite. You seemed comfortable and relaxed despite the other issues you were managing.

    Change isn’t always easy. But if you can’t get to your destination on the path you were on, then you either need to find a new one or make your own.

    Shine on, my friend, shine on!

  • Wasn’t it amazing? I was so excited about the conference, until the day before. All of a sudden it hit me. What was I doing… I felt in over my head, and feared I would be the only person with a dream to write, and not the actual words to show for it… I almost abondoned my train and headed to work. But, I am so glad I didn’t. It was amazing, and like you, I feel I found my people,

  • This is awesome. SO glad you had a good time! I wish I could have been there. I, too, don’t consider myself a “traditional” writer but writing is my passion, and I love writing online and hope to make it more lucrative as time goes on. Best of luck to you in your new endeavors!

  • I am so glad to hear that you had a fabulous experience!

  • It has been so great to read everyone’s follow ups to the conference on their blogs. It was a great experience that I am still processing, thinking about everything I learned and how I need to change my process and be more brave. Great to have such a community to share with!

  • That is so wonderful to hear, Jessica. I know what it’s like to not feel like you’ve found your place. It sure seemed like a magnificent conference. Wish I could’ve been as brave as you and made it happen!

  • I’m glad that you went. Now you have to share the bounty of that conference! Love to hear what you’ve learned. xox

  • It’s all part of the wings of change. Did you think it would be easy, my love. No. Taking risks, having courage and stepping out from someone else’s dream and into your own–that’s hard stuff. But you’re well on your way. Good things come to those who try.

  • I’m so glad to hear how this stacks up against traditional writers conference. I was having the very same epiphany about how all of the blogging conference I’ve been to are all about monetizing your blog. While often a necessary evil, I felt how much everyone there was really about the writing. I guess we are a special breed. I felt completely comfortable in that group even though I still have no clue what book I have in me.

    So glad to share the conference with you!

  • I am so glad that the trip across the country and the hectic time surrounding it was worthwhile. You WILL get this book deal and your people will be there to support you all the way.

  • SO SO SO happy for you!!!!

    …but I still have to ask, can I still be your people, too?

  • I so hope they have another blogher writers. Because I really want to go next year.

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