September 19, 2011

What I learned at the MN Blogging Conference is better than a Blog Her swag bag

I told Solitary Mama last night that my post today was going to expand on the comment I made about having Tom Selleck's babies. Check it out in the comments section here, two posts down, and one past the free cheese. But I can always post about having Tom Selleck's babies, well maybe for the next 5 years, until I've reached the point where I really shouldn't be having children anymore. Which now really makes me think 5 years goes by pretty quick; I'd better start stalking Tom ASAP!

I decided to write a short little post about the Minnesota Blogger's Conference I went to a week ago! I'm not going to post about ALL the awesomeness, because I'm vlogging about it. The vlogging is taking longer than anticipated, but I want to use all the tools I learned from WCCO's, Erica Mayer, as not to disappoint. And well, my other vlogs stink, so I can only go up from here, right?

Besides the fact that the conference was FREE, and amazing, I got to connect with bloggers I knew and met some new ones too, I did walk away with something big.  Bigger and Better than a Blog Her swag bag!  After reviewing my notes, I realized, I found my blogging voice!  {Insert angelic choir-type singing here}  As you can see by the long-ass rambley intro, my voice needs to dial it down, but it's stubborn, and it talks a lot, so it is what it is.

I, friends, am a lover of words: big words, words rarely used, absolutely mythical made-up words, slang, love them all. By reading my blog, you would not know this. Most often times a 5th grader could out write me.

I may have mentioned I journal. As in pen to paper, old school journaling. When I write for myself, it sounds nothing like my blog. I have to admit, it's rather beautiful.

At conference, I participated in the amazing Kate Hopper's creative writing session. Whoa! I kinda have a writer's crush on Kate Hopper. {No worries Kate, I'm stalking Tom Selleck at the moment, no need for a restraining order.}

We did two exercises, the first of which was to write about a childhood memory using as many descriptive words as possible. She wanted us to write about the smells, tastes, sounds, pictures, all things sensory. I wrote about the honeysuckle vines in my backyard as a child. I must say, inspiration was oozing throughout the room, because I was totally into it. The blogger's who shared their pieces were phenomenal as well. My writing was rather charming; I'm just going to say it. Initially, I included it in this post, but as I re-read it, it sounded really Danielle Steele-ish. I may have a writing career in the trashy romance novel genre.   Thank you, Kate!

Long and longer of it, what I journal, what I wrote that day, is not what you get on my blog. Some people voiced that in the session as well. We discussed quality vs. authenticity. What's the point of writing like Frasier Crane if no one connects with it?  We have to find the balance.  If I wrote all lovely and trashy all the time, it might reach you at some level, heck it might even touch you. But why are you reading my blog? To read about me waxing poetically about a plant? No. Not very sticky.

Then I was forced to ask myself, "What is it that I'm doing here?" {and why am I not blogging on Wordpress for Pete's sake?}. Am I dumbing down my writing? Admittedly yes, yes I do. But then over the course of discussions with my fellow bloggers, Gretchen says this to me, "Cari when I read your blog, I hear your voice in my head." To be honest, I hear that a lot.  I also may or may not hear voices in my own head, to be determined.  I also take that as a compliment, thank you Gretchen, and various family members, oh and that one person in Oregon.

So even though my words may not be profound, or exquisite, or even make sense half the time, I'm connecting with you. If I make you laugh, or cry, or swear, or even say, "I'm not reading this crap anymore", my job is done. That's my blogging high. I am a junkie in smile and laughter seekery.

Ever notice how when you smile at someone, they automatically smile back? I'm smiling at you, thanks to all my loyal readers who smile back. Oh, and deep down every blogger is an egotistical narcissist, and we kinda love there's that.

Stay tuned for the MNCON vlog post, you'll more than likely be disappointed, but mildly entertained.

Thanks to the event coordinators and speakers who gave freely of their time {sorry for the many I missed}:
@MarketingMama      @arikhanson        @ericamayer        @MNkatehopper

@Kare11       @Leeodden         @Toprank      @glimpsesofsoul    @AllinaHealth

And check out these people I met at the conference and now stalk their blogs:

Gretchen from Salt in Suburbia
Jackie from Teal & Lime

Deb from A Dose of Happy

Bonnie from Fragile X Files

I've surely forgotten hundreds of you, and I apologize.  Minnesota has a great blogging community, and they are all so flipping nice.  See you next year!


  1. I've been waiting for this post and can't wait to see the vlog. I'm not doing another one until I get some tips from you.

    I love your voice. I write the way I talk which explains why my grammar and punctuation are always so weird. So I understand your voice and totally hear it also. I think people will read your work as long as it is honest--and being true to our own voices plays a large part in that.

  2. Thanks for stalking my blog! I love your "voice" so I'm glad you're going to just keep doing what you're doing.

  3. Great post! So glad you found the conference helpful - and by the way, I intentionally keep swag away from this event. Less focus on companies/samples and more on why we are there and what we are meant to do. :)

    Just added your post to the blog roundup of conference posts over here:

    Hope to see you at the next one (or sooner!) :)


  4. I'm smiling back at you and looking forward to the vlog. Can't believe the conference was free! Awesome!

  5. Did you learn about memes? I hope so cause you got one.

  6. @Christina- Love the way you write too! My grammar is that of a second grader, eh. Biggest struggle I'm having with the vlog is making that baby under 3 minutes. Might be talking like an auctioneer.

    @Gretchen- Thanks for your sweet words. Had fun with you at the conference. Looking forward to next year!

    @Missy- Thanks! You seriously blow my mind. You are amazing to put that together. And I'd rather have it be free with an awesome FREE Taco bar, than have a swag bag anyday. Thanks for all you did!

    @Cam- :) And now I cannot get Britney out of my head and I blame you entirely.

    @Kara- *&%$, I'll be over soon to check out the damages.

  7. It's so nice to read this post of yours Cari. I have never been invited nor attended any blogging conference yet so reading your experience is a treat!

    I'm so glad you had fun! I'm taking notes on the tips to write creatively. Sometimes I feel there is more room for me to grow in this field. I often face writer's block so end up not writing at all.

    Keep posting and will look forward to see you vlog :)

    Ria C

    It's My Party
    Home is Where the Heart Is
    Red Lips and Pinky Toes
    The Travel Bug
    Handmade with LOVE

    Watch Tom's Selleck's tv series, Blue Bloods and you'll surely swoon over him ;)

  8. It was SO great to meet you first thing, Cari! You are a very talented writer and I've enjoyed reading your posts. Keep in touch and hope we meet again soon! xo


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