Conferences, when organized and full of energizing personalities, can be so rejuvenating. I loved being surrounded by others who thrive on writing, even if I'm too shy to really chat it up with them. I attended sessions on topics like "Editing Your Own Photographs", "Structuring Your (Non-fiction) Storytelling", and "Lead Writing". I got many tips for revising, fighting through writer's block, and making bad stories interesting. In general I found the presenters to be engaging and informative. One session stood out in my mind as a favorite, above all the others. Come on now, you can guess the topic, can't you?
If you guessed a topic focused on blogging, you'd be correct. I attended a session titled "How Much Shall We Share on Our Blogs?" by Anne Clelland (click HERE to check out her site). It wasn't just that the session centered on blogs that drew me in. I was captivated because Anne was a dynamic storyteller who wasn't afraid to let her personality shine through. She was the type of speaker who drew you in so that 45 minutes later you felt as if you knew her. Even though you hadn't exchanged a word.
Anne hit upon my personal writing weakness during her talk. Which is sharing. Letting people in, showing emotions. I struggle so much with allowing people to see my vulnerabilities. My imperfections. My struggles. Yet those are the things that make me human and real, and that will help me grow as a writer. When I write a blog that lets my readers inside, I always question if I really want to hit the publish button. After all, it's much safer to post a recipe. A couple of times I've written a post and wimped out. I haven't posted it. But a few times I have opened that door and let you in. And after listening to Anne, I'm going to try to challenge myself more often by letting readers get glimpses into that deeper layer. Not every day, mind you, because I like posting on a variety of subjects. But as Anne said, "What's the worst that could happen?". Not to be all doomsday, but I could think of quite a few things (serial killers could show up at my door, my parents could disown me, I could get my first hateful commenter). But I'm going to work on it. Because I want to grow as a writer. And I want you - my readers - to feel like sometimes, I truly hit a level with my writing that you feel is meaningful and engaging. So stay tuned!
In the meantime, here is a picture of me with my Mom at the conference:
And if you don't want to wait, here are a few post links where I feel like I let my readers inside my head, just for a brief little spell: