01 June 2010

a blog conference, part one

okay let me just begin. after attending a whole blogging conference about blogging, finding your niche, breeding new readers, managing online time wisely, photographing your family in their best light and branding your blog, i feel a bit shy to even open my mouth, so to speak. i came away with some serious insights from the CBC conference. mostly i've rediscovered a love for blogging and where it resides right now in my life. an ever-growing question.

i now know my blog doesn't fit into a nice and compact category like the experts taught me about. i don't think a niche can define this space. and come to find out, that could be detrimental to the success of the blog. i feel it's a diary of my life, the dreamy things i see and love. the thoughts i think, the feelings i feel. the inspiration that surrounds me. as i came away from the conference i realized where the blog belongs in my priority list. yes, i love blogging. yes, i think you should own up to it and make room for it in your life (if it's a passion of yours). yes, i agree that you should try to keep your audience interested and hopefully entertained. (all things i mentioned–or think i mentioned–when speaking on my panel.) however, after a whole weekend of living real life, i realize my online life is an itty bitty piece in the whole scheme of things. it definitely has a place, but i must admit, it is not the entire place.

let me give you the backstory. thursday night i was marching into a design deadline like a fearless soldier into combat. i've told you before, that when it rains, it pours around here and this weekend was no different. i was finishing the layout & design for another 100+ page book, the one i mentioned here. two printed proofs were due. i had to have them done, off my desk and off my chest before i went to speak at the conference on saturday morning. this was completely do-able, i knew. i have conditioned myself to get 'er done when a deadline is on the horizon. by one-thirty in the morning, i was double checking the final draft for correct pagination and updating the table of contents. then the ritualistic final look-through and the burning of the cd. done and done, without much drama. hooray. i love a drama-free deadline.

like an alarm, my little boy began to cry. he was awake and burning up with a fever. we traded off rocking him and holding him all the night through. this is exactly why you shouldn't leave projects to the last minute, i scolded myself. i then warned my future self to be much more on the ball. grateful that the project was at the print shop, i charged benj into the doctor's office the next morning. leaving with a determination for wellness and a lollipop. we took it easy all friday and did the classic clean-up before a trip tradition, between discussing benji's symptoms with the doctors that are in dan's family. i am all about getting a second and third opinion.

as the laundry whirled and i wrapped my hair into a muddle on my head and curled up with curious george and my own little monkey, i laughed more than once about being asked to speak on a panel about blogging zen and giving tips on balancing your life. how could i possibly give tips on this subject when my life felt like it was balancing on the cusp of chaos? i wondered and laughed and was thankful my boy's cheeks were no longer burning up. later on, we headed out with a smiling little boy and a completely patient, amazing, lovely hubby. times like these i am so happy he is so perfect for me. we drove to utah with bags packed and medicine handy and a notebook in my lap. i had free time on our long drive which meant enough time to get really nervous about speaking. not to mention, leaving my little one all day. dan soothed my worries, said he'd call if he needed me, and told me to have lots of fun.

we arrived in town, just to turn around to see my little boy in the backseat playing giddily with the hangers that were supposed to be keeping my conference outfit free of wrinkles and/or crumbs. right then, i stopped taking myself so seriously and gave them kisses.


tune in tomorrow, i'll mention a few tips we discussed about blogging zen. thank goodness the ladies on my panel were so prepared and so awesome.

22 comments:

Jeanette said...

I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I need some tips on finding some balance for sure.

Andrea said...

Alas, I have a life blog too. They keep telling me it won't work. But that IS my niche. If I did anything else, I would be a big fakey fakerton. Can't wait to read the rest of your story!

Hannah said...

I'm a lifestyle blogger as well. I skipped out on that niche class because I didn't want to be told I was doing it wrong. hehe.

Your class was one of my favorites.

makingtime said...

Please, more about the niiche/no niche thing! I think they'd tell me I don't have one either, but isn't blogging about your life the original purpose of blogs??? They're my favorite kind to read, too, as long as I like the blogger's style.

Carly said...

i love your take on blogging, and i think you have found a great niche for your blog even if it isn't neatly categorized. family vacations, photos, quotes, random thoughts, things you love, occassional interuptions-your blog seems to capture life and that's why we love reading it.

Abby said...

What a great post about real life. I love it! Can't wait to hear how the conference went.

Sassy Sarah said...

I say forget what "the experts" say and continue to be you! I have loved reading every facet of your blog. I love that it delves into various parts of your life rather than into one tiny, categorized package. You are an excellent writer and designer. Keep up the good work! :)

Barb @ getupandplay said...

You were great on the panel and it was fun to meet you! I had to leave a sick baby at home, too, and I worried about him all day. It's a hard balance to strike, isn't it?

Katie {My Paisley Apron} said...

I like the life blogs, like yours, best. The ones that have too much of a niche (all crafts with no personal, or vice versa, etc) I get bored with. Fast.

letterstobetsy said...

i love your take on blogging as well. I think most blogs do not fit into a category of fashion, design, diy ect. That is the whole point it is own personal view which is different every day.
xoxo
KC

Diane L said...

I'm loving hearing about the conference - can't wait for more.

Niche? Yours is ideal. That's why I read it.

Anne. said...

I can't wait for tomorrow's post! I agree with the other commenters in that it becomes borderline "meh" whenever blogs get stuck in their respective niches. It's nice to branch out once in a while, and personal stories about their lives are always a favorite read. It's interesting to see minute details about their real life, not just "Oh, this looks pretty, I'll blog about it!" But not that there's anything wrong with inspiration blogs, either!

Travelin'Oma said...

All the threads in your blog tie up in a perfect blog package. martawrites is a niche of its own.

Anonymous said...

A lovely and thoughtful post, Marta. Your posts are always filled with profound questions and wisdom. I, operate in the same way in terms of work and procrastination. Sometimes, I think spurts of creativity rise from situations such as these.

My blog for me will always be evolving...as I learn and grow from life, my blog will too. I agree with you that a blog and its contents should come from a source of pure intention.

shopgirl said...

p.s. Sorry I didn't mean to sign off as Anonymous...I 'clicked' too quickly.

Rambles with Reese

summer said...

wow. marta. i read and re-read paragraph no.2. i'm completely hooked. cannot wait for more 'unpacking' from the conference!

i love how your mom describes your blog- i couldn't agree more! this space is perfect just how it is. we tune in because we love to see 'u being u'. you are just cool enough to have your own species of blog.

happy you're home! hope benj is all better!

Eileen said...

I think that the personal blog is it's own niche, one that you have tapped into beautifully! These are my favorite kinds of blogs; I find them so inspirational. Different niches serve different purposes. Personal blogs that hits on different aspects of the writer's life, when done well, are so much fun to follow.

I am glad to hear that your panel went well, and looking forward to hearing more! Isn't it so energizing to share your knowledge in a conference format? I find my work improves vastly after coming away from a good conference experience :)

Christina said...

Your panel was fantastic, Marta- definitely one of my favorites! It was so good to see you up close and personal. Your preparation for your class was very obvious and also very appreciated, something I didn't see in every session. Hope your sweet boy is back to himself. Can't wait to read more of your cbc recap!

The Schoonmakers said...

It's called the "Marta Niche" and we all love it! Don't change a thing.

Whatever Dee-Dee wants said...

I think it's far more important that a blog has voice rather then fitting in a perfect little classification. You have done that and that is why so many people love your blog!

KJ said...

I have no niche with my blog, but i've never really had a niche in my life, either. Never fit one particular mold. The blog is just a place for me to be...me, connected. wish I could have gone to the conference.

Sarah said...

I don't think you need a niche necessarily. I think your blog is just great - that's why they asked you to speak, because its working!

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