Type A Takeaways

Type A Takeaways

I’m not known for my post-conference recaps. I don’t know that I’m known for very much, actually. But this year, after Type A Conference that was here in Atlanta a few weekends ago, I feel compelled to tell you exactly what I took away from it.

A list will do, right?

1. I love my friends that I have met online – through blogging, social media, and in person at conferences. This conference was the third one that Crystal and I have done together. It was great meeting her at arrivals in the airport, catching up with hugs and glasses of wine/liquor/beer, and having a slumber party late at night! Seeing other people I now call friends makes my heart full. Knowing that at least for some of them, seeing me makes them feel the same way, helps me realize that what I do online isn’t all stupid and worthless!

2. I love my new friends. Oh, where do I start with the new people I met this year. Finally getting to give a few people a hug in real life was great. Running into a few girls, striking up a conversation, and ending up wanting to become neighbors so we can hang out all the time, was even more amazing! You know who you are (yes, I’m looking at you, you, you, you, and you). I miss all of you and hope we meet again soon!

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3. It’s time to Just Write. I want to write. I wish I thought I could quit my job and write full time. But writing takes practice. I went to a session with Vikki and Heather that I thought was amazing. After a year or so of hosting #SOCSunday, and knowing that Just Write was also out there, I finally met Heather. Listening to her and Vikki talk, a little like watching a Delicious Dish sketch on SNL, about how to pull stream of consciousness writing out of your heart and soul and put it onto paper (er, the computer) was earth-moving. That session was worth the price of the ticket and a whole lot more to me. So thank y’all!

4. Sharing my city is fun! On Saturday night, a group of girls headed out to South City Kitchen. This is one of our favorite places in the city, so sharing it with people who “ain’t from ’round these parts” was a lot of fun. Fried chicken and grits, peachy bourbon drinks, and other Southern goodness abounded that night. The next morning was even more fun with a small group at Silver Skillet, a diner made famous in movies and shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. So thanks for reminding me, friends, that my city is fun and hip and worthy of showing off!

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5. Gary Buchanan should never work anywhere but Disney. He is the complete embodiment of Disney in a body that looks like a combination of Dana Carvey and Steve Carell. He reminded us all in his unbelievable keynote, that there are no rules. Creativity should be a fun process. Think like a kid. Ask questions. Collect them and save them or the answers for later. HAVE FUN.

6. Erika Napoletano has amazing boobs. And if I wanted some just like them, I could go to her doctor because she gave us his name. He does excellent work, by the way. So besides that, she basically told us to turn up the volume. Erika is no nonsense, but has a soft side, realizing her limits and realizing that saying no or changing plans mid-flight is ok. I’m not sure exactly what I took from her keynote, but it’s sitting with me. Which means there’s something there… I just have to figure out what it is. Thank you for that, Erika!

7. I know my limits. I had been a big talker on the Facebook group about getting together and running every morning with a group. I made it on Friday. By Friday afternoon, however, I realized I had apparently been without my arthritis medicine for a few days. I hit the pavement on Saturday only to realize after about 14 steps, I couldn’t do it. I know my limits. I’ve said it before while training for races (that still sounds strange to say), I listen to my body. If it hurts, I don’t do it. It’s not worth injuring myself or making my arthritis worse than it already is. Interestingly enough, Dorothy Hamill was on site preaching exactly the same thing. About osteoarthritis. Which I have. So of course, I stood in line for a picture and a chance to chat her up for a few minutes. For those with OA (and I’m on the young end of the spectrum they said – yay me!) check out the Get Moving, America page that was just launched. You’ll find lots of information about OA and ways to help ease symptoms.

It was a good weekend.

And I’m ready to do it all again.

It’s Conference Time!

‘Tis that time of year for mommy vacations, er, blogging conferences.

type-a parent conference

Type A Conference

On Thursday, I will leave and pick up Crystal at the ATL airport and we’ll head up to Charlotte for the Type A Parent Conference. This will be the first time Crystal and I have met in person, even though we’ve worked on Band Back Together for gosh, about 2 years together.

I went to Type A last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very anxious and nervous about meeting so many “big bloggers” and all kinds of silliness like that.

This year, I’m feeling pretty dang relaxed. I’m excited about seeing friends from last year and making new connections with people I know online.

There are a few of the sessions I’m REALLY pumped about. And of course the parties will be fun. But mostly, I’m looking forward to hanging out and being in the presence of so many amazing women (and a few amazing men who come).

BlogHer '12BlogHer 2012

A few short weeks after that, I’ll be headed to BlogHer in NYC. And I’m just beside myself excited about it. You’ll remember Jason made me get a ticket when I found out about being a Voice of the Year honoree.

I love New York so much, I’m going without any plan whatsoever. Either I’ll hook up with people and go out gallivanting or I’ll just do my own thing.

So here’s hoping I come home from both conferences with new ideas, new enthusiasm, new motivation and new friends!

If you’ll be at either, let me know!

Friday Five: Goals Made and Reached

Friday Five: Goals Made and Reached

While at #TypeACon, Becky and I moseyed over to a noodle house for a late lunch/early dinner. After having a great time and pondering all manner of world situations we need to fix, we got our fortune cookies. I always save good ones. Today I came across mine in my wallet.

In my pre-con post, I stated five goals of things I wanted to achieve at the conference. I’ll put them here to remind you!

  1. Inspiration and courage to write even MORE from my heart, without feeling censored or that I have to please everyone. (though y’all know that will be hard for me to do)
  2. Friendships. I already call a lot of these people my “friends” but once a name has been put with a face and I’ve gotten a gut feeling, I’ll know that they’re TRULY my friends. In more of an acquaintance way than an OMGBFF way, but friends nonetheless.
  3. Ideas for growth. Whether this means by monetizing, getting a bigger sponsor or more freelance work, I want to grow. I want to make this work for me, I just don’t necessarily know HOW.
  4. A swag bag. Everybody always tweets about the awesome things they get at conferences. I’m hoping for some kick-butt stuff!
  5. Band Back Together information. There are several sessions geared towards group sites and newsletter production. I hope to take away (well, we BOTH hope to) great information to help us run BB2G even MORE successfully.

Until I ran across this fortune in my wallet today, I was kinda wishy washy on what I personally took from the conference. I know I enjoyed it and I know we, as Band Back Together, made some wonderful connections… but what did I take away from it?

I was thinking about the five goals I made while I watched the kid ride his bike in circles like a BMX racer, only shorter, and I realized I DID fulfill my goals. I really did. And I’ll tell you how.

  1. Inspiration and courage: Patti Digh told us to look around for “our story.” That can be anything that goes on in our daily lives, big or small. All the small moments together create the blueprint for our book, whether it’s written or just lived. We shouldn’t be afraid of our truth. Maybe our truth is easy and G rated. Maybe our truth has some dark spots and will make some people uncomfortable. The bottom line is, this is MY story. It’s MY site. It’s MY truth.
  2. Friendships: Oh, where to begin. I’m pretty sure I can’t even BEGIN to list all the people I met that I liked before and absolutely ADORE now. I’m going to leave some out, but here are a few. @2princessmama, @firemom, @evolvingmommy, @cecilyk, @robinplemmons, @allthingsfadra, @womanonajourney, @frelle, @guavalicious and SO MANY MORE I can’t even think of them all right now.
  3. Ideas for growth: Well, nobody handed me a million dollars to write about dish detergent or anything but I did get some great ideas on how to make my non-niche site even better… without having to find a niche. Which I don’t want to do. I like being multi-faceted because I AM multi-faceted. I know now that I pretty much can make my own fate. I can grow if I want to. I can stay this size if I want. The world is my oyster! (ooh, yuck, oysters = food poisoning = ER visit = bad)
  4. A swag bag: DUDE, DID WE EVER get a swag bag! There was so much goodness in the swag bag, I can’t even begin to name everything! But here’s the kid with a sampling of stuff. Thanks to ALL the sponsors, especially @ubisoft (wii games), @whonudelivery (delicious and healthy cookies) and @ovaltineUSA (uh, Ovaltine… and the kid SQUEED when I gave it to him).
  5. Band Back Together information: Yes. Yes. And yes. We got SO much inspiration, love and support for BB2G it’s overwhelming. People wanting to work with us, submit stories, help with outreach. It’s just amazing. So much excitement going on with the site… and so little time to do it all! It was exciting to see what all we learned for the site, especially from Katherine Stone (@postpartumprogr) in the Cause Bloggers session. She has such wonderful insight into wearing your cause on your sleeve and becoming the face of whatever it is you’re passionate about.

So see, I came away with more than I thought I did. I’m still processing it all and trying to sort through all the stuff in my brain (and on my dining room table). There will be more posts inspired by #TypeACon, I’m sure.

Now I’m craving Chinese food… if for no other reason than I need another fortune so I can make it happen.

 

Moving {and Blogging} With Intention

I had the pleasure of hearing Patti Digh (@pattidigh) give the opening keynote at Type A Con this weekend. She spoke about writing the story of your life, saying “The story of your life is something you create every day.” Living your life with intention will help you see the story in nearly every situation.

She shared stories from her life and ways that we can be more deliberate and intentional in our lives, be it from the way we write, the way we move, or the way we spend our days.

I later had the chance to go to her session about Overcoming Writer’s Block. And I have to say, it helped tremendously. I can’t wait to get my hands on her books and dig in more.

On my way home, I realized that I was paying more attention to things around me and to things going on with my own self.

I could feel myself breathing.

I could feel my eyes blinking.

I walked from the car to the rest stop bathroom and was paying attention to each and every step.

Once home, I am calm and rational.

My thoughts are clear and bold.

Maybe it was because I am relaxed after a wonderful weekend or maybe it’s because one little thing she said resonated with me, whether I really knew it or not.

I know it’s not just from what she said, but from everything I gained this weekend from many different people.

My goal is to be more deliberate and intentional. In life and in work and here. Patti Digh said, “You have a blog. You have a voice. What are you saying with it?”

I want to find out what I am truly saying with this site. I think I know, but a little more thought never hurt anybody.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

Silent Road Trip

Aah… silence. Right now, I’m sitting in the Asheville, NC airport in baggage claim waiting for Becky. Although she’s yet to actually BOARD her flight in Chicago. I’m an earlybird.

I would have gone ahead to the hotel and checked in and whatnot, but the airport was actually on my way into Asheville so I decided I could have some down time before hitting the full-on-action of the Asheville Renaissance where the conference will be held.

It’s super quiet in here. It’s a teeny tiny airport.

I’m at baggage claim and I see six people. Six. That’s it. Three work here. There’s music playing but nothing else. (well, except for the loud tap tap tapping of my keys on the keyboard…I’m a loud typer)

I drove the last 20 miles or so with no noise. No music. No talk radio. No nothing except the buzzing in my head.

The mountains grew bigger and the silence grew more soothing.

We surround ourselves with so much noise. All the time. I’m 110% guilty. If I’m the only one at home, I have to have the TV on. Not music. TV. I need to feel like somebody is talking to me. My son has to have something on — TV, DS, wii, whatever.

I know this weekend will be busy and wild and loud and exhausting. But one reason I was glad to be able to drive was so I would have the QUIET at the beginning and end of the weekend.

My brain needs quiet. My body needs quiet. My soul needs quiet.

In the poignant words of Depeche Mode… Enjoy the Silence.

ps: Now there are people around and I see people that are probably TypeAConners, but I don’t know so I’m going to keep on my shy pants until I have to do something like actually TALK TO PEOPLE!

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