BlogHer 16

The general session room before the opening of BlogHer 16.

Greetings from #BlogHer 16, in beautiful downtown Los Angeles!

Eleven years ago, I attended the first, tiny BlogHer conference in Santa Clara, California. At that time, I had been blogging for about 18 months – and the professional knowledge and tools that were presented at that conference opened my eyes to a cornucopia of new possibilities.

I also got to meet dozens of fabulous, brilliant, delightful women – many of whom are still my friends today.

It was exciting. It was inspirational. And as I attended most of the subsequent conferences, I watched with pride as the three dynamic women who put that first conference together grew BlogHer into a powerhouse media company.

But this year, I almost didn’t make it.

I’ve lost my way.

I don’t blog much any more. I don’t have a lot of faith in myself as a writer any longer.

I’m rusty.

In 2005, I really lived my identity as SoCal Mom: My days were rigidly divided between my daughter’s elementary school, afternoon gymnastics and home life, and this not only gave me topics to write about but large blocks of quiet alone time in which to do it. But now that my kid is an adult, I do very little “mom-ming,” so that identity is gone (although I hold on to this domain and my valuable @socalmom Twitter handle).

I have yet to figure out who I really am now.

Nearly three years ago, I went back to work as a marketer for a local IT company and that job is so demanding that I have little left for any of my outside interests, including the MOMocrats, which I still participate in on the Facebook page and podcast, but little on the blog – which is crazy, because this is an election year and THAT’s crazy. I’ve lost friends over this election and am afraid I will lose more of them and I’ve barely taken the time to think about what that means to me. (If you want to know: I’m not happy).

It took me 20 hours yesterday to get to the JW Marriott in Los Angeles, because I spent the last two weeks with my family in the UK. In the old days (five or six years ago), I would have written extensively about my travels over there. In fact, I started this blog in 2003 to document another such visit.

This time around, I simply didn’t have the energy to try. What does that say about me?

My sister and I have put together a few half-hearted little blogs that have mostly fizzled – mainly because I haven’t had the creative energy to contribute to them with any kind of consistency. The only one that has managed to last is called Two Drinks Away, where we are attempting to hold an online conversation about where we are now at mid-life. This year, we’ve written a little bit about the emotional aftermath of losing our mom last December. You would think that event would generate quite a bit of soul searching and reflection – and it has, just not material either of us has had the inclination to write about publicly. It’s complicated.

So that blog is there. But we both recognize we need more direction. I’m wondering if lighting can strikeĀ again.

I’m going in to the sessions here like a blog newbie. As happy as I am to see old friends, I’m determined to make new ones. I am psyching myself up for the conference’s annual Voices of the Year session, where bloggers read their most inspirational posts (as determined by votes from the entire community). Usually, this session gets me all fired up again. But sometimes, it just reminds me of my inadequacies as a writer, and has the opposite effect.

I am going to do all I can to resist my inner critic and stay positive. All posts are diamonds in the rough – it’s just a matter of putting on the polish.

I’m ready.