Blogger Week UnConference 2017
The Blogger Week UnConference, held on August 12, 2017 at Trinity University in Washington, DC, was a chance to network with and learn from other bloggers and writers of color. Being my first time at this conference, I had no expectations, but wanted to see what it was all about while making some connections and learning how to grow and strengthen my blog. You know a conference is good when you leave with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation, and that's exactly how I felt.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the conference was not only about improving your blog, but also other forms of writing. One of the sessions that immediately caught my eye was "Blogger to Author: Why Bloggers Are Perfect for Writing Their Own History," led by Joi-Marie McKenzie, whose name I recognized as the blogger for The Fab Empire DC. The session included useful information about writing, getting published, and marketing a book, but it also gave me a spark of motivation to keep writing and, most importantly, to make a writing schedule and stick to it.
In the past, I hadn't necessarily connected blogging to becoming an author. There are a few bloggers-turned-best-selling authors like Luvvie Ajayi, who has a massive following, but those are outliers. This session reminded me that writing a book is completely within my reach and putting myself out there in the form of this blog is a start.
I also found a session called "The Fly Girl Guide to Branding, Advertising, and Sponsorships," led by Carla Thomas of The Fly Girl Guide, to be one of my favorites. Carla's confidence in knowing her value and her boldness in asking for compensation that matches that value was infectious. Because blogging may be a fun hobby, but at the end of the day, I have enough hobbies and not enough funds to pay off all my debt.
Rounding out my three favorite sessions was "Creating a BHAV (Big Hairy Audacious Vision) For Your Blog" led by Chantl Martin of Thrive Lounge DC. This session focused on uncovering and being able to communicate your purpose in creating a blog. I found it helpful to practice clearly defining my own purpose in writing a blog, or just writing in general, because when I have so many other priorities and interests in my life that writing takes a backseat I can remember that purpose and be drawn back into what I love to do.
In addition to learning, networking, and meeting a lot of interesting and talented women, the parting gift bag was a nice end to the day. Pretty much every item got an audible reaction as I pulled them out one by one. Natural hair and body products from Eden Bodyworks (including full sizes), healthy granola bars from Junkless (a girl needs her snacks), a bluetooth speaker, vitamins, earrings, a book, and more - there's no better way to make sure people go home happy than with some great swag.