I promise I didn’t mean to fall off the planet after the Type A Conference! All of the travel and sessions induced a flare (which I expected) and I had a visit with my endo doctor where we decided to start a new treatment as a last ditch effort before considering surgery #7 and the side effects of said treatment have been kicking my butt. Hopefully they will ease up as my body gets adjusted to the new medication.
Even though it wore me slap out, Type A Conference was definitely worth it! It was refreshing, inspiring, and educational. I not only learned a lot about blogging and my future aspirations for blogging but I learned about myself as a personal as well.
Here are the top 5 things I learned at Type A:
1- We are a collection of our experiences, for better or for worse. Its what makes us who we are. Amber Nasland kicked off the conference with an incredibly empowering keynote entitled, “The Other Side of Courage: Embracing Fear, Taking Risks, The One Truth You Need To Know.” For the longest time after being diagnosed with chronic illness, I kept waiting on life to return to “normal.” I was constantly telling myself “when I feel better I can to this” or “after this happens I can do that.” I was constantly putting my life on hold waiting on the next doctor, treatment, or surgery to allow me to return to the life I once knew. It has taken me a lot of time and a lot of wrestling to realize that I will never get that life back and that is ok. My illnesses have shaped me into who I am and not only helped me become a better person but a deeper and more enriched person because of my experiences. Do I grieve my last life and miss the things that I used to be able to do? Absolutely but I have realized that while the book has closed on that chapter of my life, a whole new book has been opened full of amazing experiences and opportunities and for that I am thankful.
2-Blend your passion with your actions and your voice. One of the sessions I was looking forward to the most at this conference was on Cause Blogging and The New Media Activist as obviously I am very interested in using blogging and social media as a way to bring awareness, resources, and education for important causes. I found it very empowering to be in a room full of fellow bloggers who had the same heart and passion as I do. One of the important points that was reinforced in my mind was taking our online passion offline. I am very passionate about the yearly Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign (and this session definitely gave me some ideas on how to enhance the campaign for 2014) and now I feel empowered to find a way to get involved hands-on in the community through the Million Woman March for Endometriosis. While I am unsure at this point if I will be able to attend the march in Washington DC personally, I lend my voice and social media platforms to get involved.
3- Light is the essence of photography. Jenn Hethcoat put together an amazing session on “Blog Photography for the Photographically Challenged.” I was blessed with a great DSLR through a random act of blogging kindness and have been trying to figure it out ever since. Jenn made this session so practical that it just clicked in my mind and finally things started to make sense. I never knew that shade produces a much better picture that direct sunlight or using texture to make photos more interesting. As a result of this session, I was able to come home and catch the best photo I have ever taken!
4- In understanding SEO, the important thing to remember is relevance. It was tough to decide which hands-on session to try to get into because there were so many amazing options but in the end, I signed up for a SEO Basics session because in all my years of blogging SEO still makes my head spin. Dan Morris (who is also a part of Blogging Concentrated) led the session and once again it was the practicality of the information that made it so valuable to my blogging experience. Never in a million years would I have guessed that talking about a bathroom would help me understand how SEO functions which is working to build your credibility as being relevant to the topic you blog about. For example, I want to be known as relevant to endometriosis awareness so it is important that I build my credibility as an “expert” through using post titles, keywords, and meta descriptions. Now that I feel like I have a foundation to build upon, I am going to start working through Mom Blog SEO (which was written by Type A Con founder Kelby Carr).
5- Choose your own adventure. It is no secret that anything Disney makes my heart go pitter-patter and I was very stoked that Disney Parks was a conference sponsor and that Gary Buchanan, the social media managing editor from WDW, would be leading one of the keynote sessions. I will totally confess that Gary made me cry. Twice. Between this DJ Steve Porter Disney video and his description of the clouds in Toy Story, I totally reached for my tissues. Yes, I am completely a sap. I blame the first set of tears on exhaustion (though I agree that Disney is magical) but the second set of tears came from the creative spirit that is embodied in everything Disney. One of my favorite Walt Disney quotes is “It is kind of fun to do the impossible.” Sometimes in life we need to take that chance and step out on faith. Gary said, “It’s not where you take thing forms. It’s where you take them to.” I want to take A New Kind of Normal to bigger and better places. This is my passion and my purpose and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead!