What’s a Middle-Aged Goober Doing at Blissdom?

I don’t really know from blogging. As a professional writer and editor who has worked in the publishing world for 25 years, I know about words. As a woman nearing fifty, I know about marrying late, burying my father (the first love of my life), caring for my elderly mother, and wondering if I’ll get it all done before my time is up. As a retreat leader and workshop facilitator, I know it’s the sharing of our stories that saves us. And here I’m talking about the tough stories, the ones about loss, and grief, and regrets, and dreams denied that all too often our society/family/religion/ego wants us to keep to ourselves.

But this whole blogging thing has me a bit stymied: Do I need a catchy theme, with a title that enhances SEO? (I do actually know what that stands for, thanks to Randy Elrod.) Do I have to be a “mommy blogger”? If so, I’m screwed, because I blog under my own name and I do not have children. So where does that leave me, a middle-aged goober who encourages women to write their hearts out?

For starters, it leaves me looking for all the guidance I can lap up. So last week I headed out to Gaylord Opryland Hotel and attended the Blissdom Conference. (I was miffed last year when I heard about it after the fact, and couldn’t believe I was so out of the loop in my own town.)

I walked in knowing I would see at least one familiar face, because we’d promised one another we’d take turns rescuing whichever one of us was feeling more vulnerable, as we were both stepping outside our comfort zone. I ended up knowing several folks, and even ran across a co-worker from Her Nashville. But mostly I interacted with women I had never met or even heard of.

And here’s what I learned:
There are women—women just like you and me—doing amazing things online: advocating for charitable causes, exposing issues surrounding small farms and raw foods, inspiring better parenting, making all sorts of crafty items, cooking healthy food, finding their way through addiction. The list goes on, and that list can be both freeing, “there’s room for everyone,” and intimidating, “who do I think I am.” What the Blissdom panelists and speakers modeled for me is that there is still plenty of room, and that if I think I’m the one to tell a certain story in a certain way, then I am. Funny, that’s exactly how I advise the women in my writing workshops: you’re the only one who can tell your story and yes, the world has room for it. Let’s write it, and then we’ll worry about what to do with it.

But there was more: conversations with women from all over the country that I never would have met otherwise; time for socializing in an environment free from competition for who has the most Twitter followers (not me); great swag, really, the best conference happies ever; delicious food; and the playing of “Party in America,” “Party in the USA,” which made the menopausal me burst into tears (in a good way). On top of all that, I heard Brene Brown, whose book The Gifts of Imperfection is already informing my work; and Scott Stratten, on whom I think I have developed a crush. (Please don’t tell Precious.) I think I even made a few new friends.

In the end, there were women there who’ve been blogging longer than I have, and women who have just started; women who have confidence in themselves, and their words, and women who wonder if they’ll ever bring themselves to hit “publish”; women who are younger and thinner, and women who share my creaky knees and desire to lose weight. But our common denominator remains: we all have stories worth telling.

12 thoughts on “What’s a Middle-Aged Goober Doing at Blissdom?

  1. patty says:

    hello amy-
    i’m a little late. i met you briefly at blissdom and am trying to get around to say hello online to those i met in real life. enjoyed your recap of your experience at blissdom {as i agree completely!} and some of your other posts i read while here.
    wishing you well!

    • hamblett says:

      Hey Patty! Thanks for stopping by. I still haven’t made it through all the notes I took at Blissdom…hope to do that this afternoon. I found myself both inspired and a bit intimidated…

  2. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Hi Amy, it was a pleasure having lunch with you at Blissdom! I hope you’ll come visit my blog! In fact, since you mention ‘creaky knees’, here is a blog with a video of a blogger from Nashville that I met last year after Blissdom.

    http://hartkeisonline.com/natural-health/natural-cures-blog-carnival-on-joint-pain/

    She and I both have found relief from knee pain by following the Weston A. Price dietary guidelines.

    Anyhow, there is definitely a place for your voice to be raised in blogdom, go for it!

    • hamblett says:

      Kimberly,
      Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your having educated me a bit about the plight of some small farmers. I passed along your information to the DC folks I mentioned at lunch. Keep up the good work! And thanks for the creaky knee information.
      See you online…
      ALW

  3. Lisa~ says:

    I met you one day over lunch and listened in on your conversation about small farms and laws for selling diary and it was very interesting. I am so glad I got your card. I love that you are a goober….makes me feel normal. Nice to have met you, looking forward to getting to know you more. Lisa~

    • hamblett says:

      Lisa,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I enjoyed meeting you at Blissdom. That conversation enthralled me, even though that is not a typical area of interest for me. Although it may become one! I hope we might keep up a bit online. I’ll stop by your blog asap, one goober to another…
      Looking forward,
      ALW

  4. Cece says:

    Love your spirit and your candor. The timing was perfect for me to read this. This evening I was feeling pretty well *done* … ready to cross on over. Lol. What you reminded me to do is write my way back. Times are tough, but in the grand scheme it’s just a bump in the road. Thanks for stearing me back.
    xo

  5. hamblett says:

    Gwen,
    I think all of us have a lot to learn about this storytelling business, so we’re in good company!. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
    ALW

  6. Gwen says:

    I have a great deal to learn about this storytelling business. I don’t even know if I have a niche…. all I know is that I am writing fiction. I think. 🙂

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