Sorry, But I’m Falling Victim to the Requisite “Surviving the BlogHer Panic” Post.

Picture by Mandy

I think it was around this time last year that I was sitting in my therapists’ office coming up with all the reasons that I should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES follow through with my plans to go to the BlogHer Conference, as a veritable blogging newbie…and all the way in New York, with Dee in tow to boot.  Yes, I spent actual money to discuss the decision with a professional, that’s how freaked out I was.

I didn’t think I was strong enough to put my best foot forward.  I didn’t think that I would come off well…that I wasn’t this person you see on this blog in real life (Sara assures me that’s not true – that’s I really am this frenetic and scattered and wacked out in person, lucky me) and that also WHAT THE HELL BUSINESS DID I HAVE GOING TO A BLOGGING CONFERENCE… AND WHILE WE’RE YELLING, I MEAN, WHAT AM I, A TREKKIE?

It’s because of the wall of doubt I faced, even as the event invitations started to arrive and the “OMG I CAN’T WAIT TO SQUEEEZE YOU!!!” tweets started to show up in my mentions column, that I am writing this post.

This is going to sound dorky, but going to BlogHer last year literally changed my life, in at least three ways I can count, and so I am going to encourage all you Nervous Nellies and Curious Carrie’s out there to take the plunge and make your plans to be in San Diego on August 4th…and it’s not just because I’m speaking this year.   Which I am.   Have I mentioned that?

Anyway, here’s my best BlogHer survival tips:

1.  Have biz cards.  Don’t go crazy – you can get them free or cheap online, but everyone will be handing you theirs, and you are going to want to have something to hand back.

2.  Say hello to people who’s blog/twitter handle you recognize.   They probably know you too, and you’ll have an instant friend.

3.  Everyone is freaked out.  We’re all antisocial and popping Xanax.   It’s not just you.   There…doesn’t that take a load off?

4.  If it can be avoided leave your kiddos at home.  I brought Dee last year, and it was FINE, but it definitely made life (and partying) more complicated.

5.  Get room mates, but don’t panic if you can’t find someone you know.  I haven’t had roomies either year (last year, or this year, because Sir Scotticus will be joining me, along with my fabulous sister-in-law Maegan, and her hubby Peppers – family trip!) and I did feel like a bit of a lone wolf at times.  I think staying in the same hotel will eliminate that feeling for me this year, even though I’m not shacking up with other bloggers.

I mean, Last year I didn’t even stay in the same burrough as the conference.  That was a mistake (except I had a kick ass time with Lindsey in between conferencing that made it totally worth it)  I’d say stay as close to Conference Center as you can, because you will be blue if you have to board the last train to Brooklyn (or whatever) while everyone else is still munching CheeseburgHers.

6.  DO NOT STRESS ABOUT YOUR WARDROBE.  I changed after the daytime festivities on Day One only to find that I was uncomfortable and would have been fine in what I was wearing.   Some ladies will have fabulous shoes and cocktail dresses.   Some ladies will wear cargoh pants and flip flops.    Wear what makes you feel the most like you so you’re not simultaneously self-conscious about the cellulite on the back of your thighs AND your blog-writing.    DO NOT under any circumstances pull-a-Morgan and wear horizontal stripes at not-your-thinnest to a tragically-not-air conditioned Martha Stewart party in the middle of a hormonal sweat attack.

7.  Do not get swag fever.  If you do, you’ll come home a little embarrassed and toting truckloads of mostly branded swag you don’t need.  So yeah.   A word to the wise. ;)

8.  You’ll find your friends, and everything will be fine.   Relax.  It’s supposed to be fun.

Me and my blog-love-of-my-lifes on BH10, night 1.  Yes, we’re all in the ladies room.
And I stole this photo from one of them, but I can’t remember for the life of me who.

But the point is this.   Last year I went as a newbie.   This year I’ll be there as a BlogHer Editor and Pathfinder Speaker.  Quite a difference a year makes, and I owe all of those changes to coming out of my shell at BlogHer ’10.

Last year, as BlogHer approached I was depressed – like mega depressed – and I couldn’t fathom going to a place where I had to be “on.”   But those three days of being ON-ish?  Combined with THIS INCREDIBLE MOMENT {which possibly did more for ME than anyone watching at home} and some really smart advice from this girl, snapped me back to reality in a way that nothing else had been able to force me to do yet.   Grandiose, I know, but it’s true.   BlogHer ’10 kinda changed my life.   If you’re on the fence about BlogHer ’11, c’mon and give it a chance to change yours.   If nothing else, I’ll be nice to you, and squeeze your hand if you need me to.

I dunno – what am I forgetting?   It’s not High School.   You won’t get left out.  I have no idea what parties are happening yet either, so there you go, you’re not the only one who is behind on this stuff.   And if you have questions, I’m pretty friendly on twittter.

What’d I miss?  Anything you want to know but have been afraid to ask?   C’mon – you know I’ll be honest.

Feed Me Seymour