Blogging conferences, to me, have always been places to finally breathe the same air with those people who know you so well through your writing. Some of my deepest, strongest friendships have come from the world of online content, and I relish the opportunity to see these pillars of my life, hug them, and soak in as much time as I can in their presence.
What they definitely are not to me, are places to learn a damn thing. I’ve been writing online in some capacity for sixteen years, and if I haven’t learned it by now, I’m never going to. That’s not to say that you can’t learn something at any given moment of your time – you can! But I don’t have the type of personality that thrives sitting in a conference while an expert talks about traffic or metrics or social media or anything else. It’s not how I learn, and it’s not who I am.
Over drinks the other night, I was talking about my disdain for organized religion, comparing it to LOLcat pictures. “I can’t follow what someone else says. I need to do it myself. I need to lead, or, if I can’t lead, I need to take my own path. That’s why I never share funny memes or pictures, either. I’d rather create my own.” That brings me to this monstrosity of an event, occurring in thirty-two short hours from now:
The Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference (FLBlogCon for short, or Flahblahcah if you’re really lazy), the best conference in the Southeast (and I’m not just saying that because I was one of the speakers last year and I’m on the planning committee this year), has graciously lent its name and support to a one-day, hands-on, intense, clothing optional (not really) writing workshop, developed solely by me and social media manager/producer/blogger/mom/health nut Katy Widrick.
The idea for this writing workshop occurred to me because I was trying to think about what I would want to learn from a blogging/social media conference if I was going to stop being an obnoxious asshole and actually learn. And I found that above all else – working with brands, marketing myself, driving traffic, proper tweeting protocols – I would want to know more about creating content.
Writing is one area where each of us can always improve. Every day I write, I learn invaluable tools about editing. I hear my voice coming in clearer. I recognize what works and what fails. And, most importantly, I constantly evolve. (As a writer. I don’t physically evolve – I will perpetually be a gorilla.)
So for six hours on Saturday, Katy and I will be focusing on creating content. Unadulterated, virginal, context-rich, consumable, engaging content. What shouldn’t you do? What should you do? How do you edit? How can you avoid alienating your audience? How do you find and develop a distinct voice?
I’m not an expert. I’ve published a book, but only one, and it was a blip on the radar. I have a distinct voice, but other voices are stronger and more unique. I’m intelligent and savvy about writing, but I don’t know everything. I don’t even know a small percentage of everything.
But that’s okay. This isn’t about us being experts. FLBlogCon*Tent is about two people with a not-minuscule amount of talent and knowledge, sharing their years of experience in the hopes that maybe someone will learn something they never considered or be moved to write more. Maybe passions will be ignited or inspirations created out of thin air.
I can’t wait to see our efforts reach fruition. Saturday, for six hours, we will do our best to give our audience something tangible and infinitely valuable in their individual quests to become the best writers they can.
This is going to be something. I can feel it.
As long as I don’t fuck it up.
So I should probably go finish writing the sessions instead of blogging about them.