I just got back from four days in Chicago at the 9th annual BlogHer Conference. If you’ve ever been on this sort of business trip, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say the days have blurred completely together (although that may have something to do with my having slept on the curb at LAX on Wednesday night after Delta misplaced a crew member and cancelled my redeye flight, rebooking me on American and sending me across the airport to a terminal which wouldn’t open for another three hours. But I digress.)
For four days, I spent time with women I only get to see a few times a year. We pooled resources. We shared information. We counseled each other on opportunities. We ate Italian Beef Sandwiches at 3am.
I started blogging nearly five years ago, and these conferences I attend have helped me grow personally and professionally from shy newbie to confident speaker and it is thanks in no small part to the support and inspiration of my fellow travelers on this wild Internet ride. I couldn’t be more grateful to have been folded in to this community by those who were there before me, and I couldn’t feel luckier that I get to now share some of what I’ve learned with bloggers who are just starting their crazy journey.
This weekend I taught a photography course (iPhonography) to a class of 150 with no co-pilot. Later that evening, I stepped up at Listen To Your Mother’s open mic night and read my most embarrassing blog post ever aloud to a room of both supportive friends and totally bewildered hotel staff. Five years ago I couldn’t have done either of those things. Two years ago I couldn’t have done it. I’m growing! I’m growing! I’m not afraid of life any more!
Being at the conference also reminded me that I am a person who thrives on the energy of others. So I’ve made an executive decision coming out of this year’s BlogHer that working from home is just not working. As of today I’m on the prowl for a coffee shop or a coworking space to call my own. Wish me luck friends and lurkers. I have some challenges of willpower ahead of me in the weeks to come. But I think it’s going to be awesome.