This time last year I was doing a lot of the same things I did today, packing and preparing to attend BlogHer’s annual conference. However, in 2012 I was flying to NYC with my sister for the big event, my first BlogHer conference, and I was a speaker there.
For my second go around I am lucky enough to have the BlogHer conference taking place here in Chicago and have no official role, other than blogger/attendee. I do not feel the level of anxiety that I did last year, mostly because I truly didn’t know what to expect from the experience, even though I had read every blog post I could find about BlogHer conferences.
I wrote a lot about BlogHer`12 in the months and days leading up to last July:
My Blog No Longer Fits Me (June 2012)
BlogHer State Of Mind (June 2012)
Less Than Three Weeks Until (July 2012)
An Ode to BlogHer’12 (July 2012)
I even shared a post in which I highlighted some of the best posts I had come across about BlogHer and how to prepare/make the most of the conference:
What Works At BlogHer Conferences (July 2012)
When I returned I shared this video montage to music giving a glimpse of the incredible time I had at BlogHer`12 and linked to some of my friends’ wrap-up posts about their/our experiences together:
BlogHer’12: Time of My Life (August 2012)
I also wrote this “epic” post (as one of my bloggy friends, who I got to meet in person at BlogHer`12 refers to it) about my first day at BlogHer, including my experience traveling from Chicago to NYC:
BlogHer’12 Day 1: Great Expectations (August 2012)
I always intended to do three subsequent posts about Days 2, 3 and 4, but the time got away from me. Maybe I will still someday, as I have a lot of notes from BlogHer`12 that would help me to do so.
Finally, I wrote this post after I got curious to know more about the history and evolution of BlogHer conferences:
BlogHer My How You Have Grown (November 2012)
This year/summer my family and I have been so ridiculously busy (though having a wonderful time) I have barely had time to think about BlogHer`13, which starts tomorrow, let alone blog about it…
That said, I am very excited for my second BlogHer conference this week!
I look forward to seeing some of my friends/favorite bloggers, meeting some bloggers that I adore in person for the first time (one of the best things about BlogHer IMO) and connecting with other bloggers.
I have tentatively planned my schedule, in terms of which sessions I plan to attend (there are so many great ones to choose from), and can’t wait to learn more about the topics that thrill me (such as those found in the Writing and Technology tracks). I am attending Pathfinder Day for the first time this year (it takes place tomorrow) and am really looking forward to participating in the Blog to Book track (yes, for those who don’t know, I am working on a book proposal/manuscript).
I am blown away by the keynote speakers that BlogHer has brought in this year and am especially psyched to be in the audience for Voices of the Year (VOTY) for the second time. VOTY was a highlight of BlogHer`12 for me and I know this year’s selections will be just as moving, entertaining and thought-provoking.
Speaking of VOTY, last year during “speed dating” at the opening session on Friday morning I met a friendly and quirky blogger named Casey. We didn’t get to chat for long, but exchanged business cards and connected via social media soon after that. Over the past year our friendship has developed through Twitter, our blogs and eventually Facebook. We have bonded over shared interests, including staying up all night (though she did snooze for a few hours) tweeting when they were trying to catch the Boston Marathon bombers in April. Casey is also one of many friends who helped open my heart and mind to marriage equality. So you can imagine how proud I am to know that I will get to see Casey on stage reading one of her own blog posts at VOTY this Friday!
Two of my friends and favorite writers/bloggers who I got to spend a lot of quality time with at BlogHer`12, Mel and Justine, will also be at BlogHer`13 and I couldn’t be happier knowing that I will get to hang out with them again this year. Mel is also one of the two speakers/leaders of the Blog to Book track at Pathfinder Day tomorrow.
I wish more of our Adoption/Loss/Infertility (ALI) bloggers tribe were going to be here, including some of those who were with us last time in NYC. But I realize that this will also be an opportunity to connect with others, which is not a bad thing. Especially with BlogHer’13 being here in Chicago I have loved meeting and getting to know better so many more local bloggers at pre-conference/unaffiliated events for bloggers that I attended earlier this week (#WCSoiree and #CBSMom), which were so much fun.
I am also very excited to finally meet in person, for the first time, another friend, blogger and fellow bereaved mother, Amy! We have a special local connection and she is one of those kindred spirits who I bonded with from the first time we spoke (over the phone).
There are other awesome bloggers that I have plans to meet up with too, but I am getting tired and need to try to wrap this up. So please don’t take it personally if I didn’t give you a shout out here. I still am very excited to see you soon!
Now I need to try to get a good night’s sleep, as I have a full four days ahead of me, which will culminate not with a BlogHer event, but celebrating my sister’s son/youngest nephew’s first birthday with our family on Sunday!
I will be doing a lot tweeting, along with some Google+ and Facebooking throughout BlogHer’13, so if you are interested in following along and don’t already follow me on social media, you can click-through on the links below and/or check the #BlogHer13 hashtag on Twitter for all things BlogHer`13!
Facebook: Bereaved and Blessed
Google+: Kathy Benson
I still remember sitting at home during the summer of 2011 following #BlogHer11 on Twitter and feeling like I was somewhat a part of the action. It was in those moments I made up my mind that in 2012 I would be at the BlogHer conference in person! I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be participating another BlogHer annual this year!
I was about to post this when in my multitasking craziness, I clicked over to check something on Facebook and one of my newer local Chicago blogging friends Kim, who I actually knew briefly many years ago (long story), had just posted a reflective and inspiring status update on the Eve of her 5th BlogHer. She wrote about her gratitude to the women who first got her involved with BlogHer conferences and the opportunities, especially the friendships, that have grown in her life since. I loved the last sentence of her post and couldn’t agree more:
We were all part of something special and so amazing for its time.
So true and it is not lost on me how blessed I am to be a writer/blogger in this day and age.
Bring on BlogHer`13 Chicago!
I am ready!