Thursday, July 21, 2011

NOT a BlogHer primer - or - Don't take advice from ME!

OK, so this IS kind of a BlogHer primer, but I'm warning you: don't be relying on me for practical advice!*  

My good bloggy friend Alexandra (The Empress) is going to be one of my roomies at BlogHer. (Yay!) As it's her very first conference, she's feeling a bit nervous and anxious (though, of course in a very funny way on her blog).

Since she knows I was at BlogHer last year, she has asked me for advice & reassurance. Ruh, roh.

Now, while I rarely lecture here on my blog, if you know me at all in "real life," you'll know I'm a big old know-it-all. I love, love, LOVE to give advice, often unasked for, and whether I have actual expertise in the matter or not.

Yes, I really have to bite my tongue to make myself stop when I sense my generously shared wisdom is unwelcome. (You should see me around an autistic kid whose parents are clearly clueless and clearly do NOT want to know. I actually twitch from the effort to keep my big mouth shut.)

And this time I have been ASKED for advice, whoopeeee! Permission to blather on granted! And so instead of just sending my wonderful friend an e-mail (which I also have, since it seemed impolite to make her wait) I have decide to share my garnered wisdom with all of lucky you.

I mean, everyone who is anyone in the bloggosphere is offering their take on how to prepare for BlogHer to the nervous newbie, and so I figure I'd better follow suit. It's pretty much REQUIRED, at this point. And I always do as I'm told. (snort)

The problem here is: I don't really know how to properly advise a BlogHer newbie, having never *quite* been in those shoes myself.

For you see, even though last year was my first BlogHer ever, and even though I'd only been blogging 6 short months when I went? I wasn't actually a nervous newbie. Not at all, not by a long shot. (In fact I wrote a post about THAT last year & you can read it here: Look, Ma, I'm going to BlogHer)

In a nutshell, I am so un-nervous about these things because in my prior-to-parenting, prior-to-blogging life? I was in the media business (film/tv/video/music publishing) and went to and also worked at a lot of conferences.

So my advice is probably useless to you if you are quaking in your boots about being at a conference with 2,950 really nice women who want to meet and connect with you. (And, yes, about 50 competitive, nasty, narcissistic jerks.)

My best advice: ignore the 50 jerks. That's really all you have to do, and you'll have a great time.

My other main advice to you, even if you've never been to conference before in your life is: Don't Panic.

Also (get ready for it): Be friendly. Make plans, but be receptive to serendipity.

That last bit is the big one. (And kind of covers everything.)

I showed up at the Toronto film festival not knowing a soul, and ended up at a wild party with a bunch of Icelandic filmmakers, at dinner with Agnes Varda, at an amazing event at the Shoe Museum...  all because I talked to the people who stood next to me on lines, and said "yes" to everyone who asked if I wanted to come with them to do something.

And THAT was at a snooty film festival filled with narcissistic posers.

And THIS? Is BlogHer we're talking about... basically just a big ol' family reunion! These people are OUR TRIBE, remember?

Actually it's even better than a family reunion because no one has generations-old grudges they are holding, and hidden agendas, and they don't care who mother always favored or who was seated at a "bad table" at your cousin Susie's wedding.

No one has come to judge you or make fun of your shoes. Everyone wants to connect, to revel in being with others who understand why we feel compelled to turn our lives into prose and blast it out into the bloggosphere. We are family! (And how many more cliche catch phrases from books, songs & TV can I slip into this one post?  Let me work on it.)

Also? I know some of you are nervous about the travel itself, having never flown alone into a city you don't know.

OK, you may not have done THAT, but you have been in an airport and flown before with your family, right? OK, same thing, but this time there's no one else's nose you need to wipe - a win!

If no to that one... well, you've seen airports in the movies and TV, right?  And unlike in those shows, no one is trying to hunt you down and shoot you, honest.

Also? Airplanes?  Just buses with staler air; buses that fly in the sky. And airports? Train stations with tighter security, more expensive food, and MUCH better shopping. Really. Mostly, they are BORING and you will spend much time sitting around in them, so bring a good book or two.

And sit right by your gate from an hour before departure on. Really.

Because I *might* have once been so engrossed by a book I was reading in a quiet little spot a bit far away from that pesky, noisy gate that I nearly missed my fight, had to beg them to NOT shut the gangway door in my face.

And finally, because SOMEONE should learn from my past mistakes (and it's certainly not going to be me):

DO remember to pack underwear.

And? Good Luck!

* If your really want some wonderful, practical help-you-plan-for-your-first-BlogHer advice? Or even just someone else's take on the whole thing? Go read these great posts from these wonderful bloggers:

Try BlogHer Bound: San Diego, Here We Come from Mo of One Ping Only or this funny one, How to Prepare for BlogHer from Sherri of Old Tweener. Gigi from Kludgy Mom offers this advice for quelling your anxiety: Get Over It (and have fun).

And if you're stressing over whether or not private party invites have been arriving in your inbox? Read this: The Private Party Predicament at BlogHer at 5 Minutes for Mom.

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