My take aways from #AWBU (updated)

When a person goes out in the woods to hang out with 99 other women for a weekend, one doesn’t really know what to expect. Will there be girl fights? Hope not. Will there be cookies and Kumbya? I hope so. Well, at least the first part.

The truth is, I didn’t know what to expect when I went to my first Arkansas Women Blogger Unplugged conference at the Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center. It was the third time they’ve had the event and everyone I’ve known has come home on a high of great friendships, ideas for the blogs and rejuvenation for their soul. I finally decided I needed to get my butt to one of these events and figured that since I’m now able to monetize my blog a little bit, I can use some of that for the conference.

Boy, am I glad I did!

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Ferncliff was a gorgeous, creation-conscious location for this conference. It’s located outside Little Rock and I can’t wait to go back some day.

I was a little shocked when I went through my pictures and realized I didn’t take any pictures with friends, including my lovely roommate Beth from Masterpiece. I proved that I’m more of a words girl and took plenty of notes, retweeted lots of other people’s notes and had a grand old time meeting friends I’d only known before online, learning more about “real life” friends I already had and just generally getting a good, well-deserved break.

Feelings, we gots ’em

For me, the emotional feeling that I came away with was a more defined sense of “I’m not alone.” I already knew bloggers were kinda my tribe, because it’s with them I feel a sense of acceptance even if I know they don’t agree with my beliefs.

There are a few beliefs I’ve had for years (not religious or political although some might disagree!) that I finally felt comfortable letting out during this conference. I figured if I was judged, it would at least be in a nice way but ultimately, I decided it was OK if I was different than others. What I found was, I wasn’t alone! Not everyone held the popular belief and they too knew that it was not really a cool thing to let that out. Love it.

Lots of learnin’

I wanted to sum up a few ideas that caught my attention, taught me something new or reaffirmed something valuable I already knew. This is by far not all of my notes! These are just some of the ideas that I thought could translate well to help others who weren’t in the sessions.

From Kerri Jackson Case: Authenticity Vs Word Vomit

  • Just because you have a set of facts doesn’t mean you have a complete story
  • Authenticity is a set of deliberate actions every day.
  • Allow yourself to be seen, but establish boundaries and show compassion to self.
  • Having boundaries are not the opposite of authenticity
  • You can’t be compassionate if you feel resentment and not having boundaries can lead to resentment.
  • Share only what you are ready for people to know and what you might be risking judgement for sharing…it will happen.
  • Share your own truth, not someone else’s truth.
  • People will say stupid/insensitive stuff…just educate.
  • Not everyone has earned the right to know your truth.
  • Everyone ha an opinion-it doesn’t mean you have to put value in it. No matter who that person is.

Graciousness and gratitude never go out of style.

Blogger Legalities and Best Practices

  • Common law rights are good, but are strengthened by registration (in the world of trademarking)
  • FTC disclosures must be at the top because the FTC considers it misleading if the person has to scroll to find the disclosure. People using mobile devices have to scroll!
  • If you use an image for your disclosure, someone who is visually impaired and using special software can’t read it. Place the same disclosure in the alt text of the pic file to solve this problem.
  • The form of disclosure must match the medium. In other words, if you have a video blog, you must disclose on video if you have been compensated. If you have a mixed medium blog, it’s a best practice to go ahead and disclose in all media forms.awbu2013Sponsors_edited-2

Kyran Pittman-Personal Narrative Workshop

  • Stories connect us to ourselves, our meaning and each other.
  • Personal stories are interesting if they are inviting, immediate, intimate and illuminating.
  • Quotes are a powerful way of establishing immediacy.

Gwen Rockwood/Shannon Magsam-When Blogging becomes your Business

  • It takes a village to succeed
  • Choose your own yardstick for measuring success and celebrate your milestones!
  • Don’t give away your business. Free work won’t inspire paid work.
  • Stay true to your readers before advertisers.
  • All businesses have baggage-work through yours. There will be parts you don’t like.
  • Looks matter when it comes to how you present yourself on your blog
  • Sometimes you just have to leap.

Author Roundtable

  • Research your desired agent/agency. The better you know them, the better your query letter will be.
  • If writing non-fiction, you must write a book proposal.
  • You have a story that is only yours. If you sit down and just write, you will tell it well.
  • You have to do what’s best for you-it’s going to have to be a tailor-made journey.

Robin O’Bryant-Is Self-publishing for You?

  • If you write a good book, your following will sell it for you
  • Ask readers to review your book on Amazon-it helps the rating!

Jacqueline Wolven-Stop Doing What the Other Guy is Doing!

  • Pick the blogs you read carefully-pick what uplifts you and don’t pick what makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, you are enough.

Mari Farthing/Heather Davis-We Go Together (Collaborating)

  • Be honest with each other, but be nice
  • Know your roles
  • Commit to the relationship and honor your contracts!
  • Having an exit strategy established before it’s necessary is best.
  • The moment you publish online, you are a professional writer so act like it. If you want it private, buy a diary.
The view behind our cabin. Beautiful lake, cross and grounds.
The view behind our cabin. Beautiful lake, cross and grounds.

22 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great notes! Kyran was a great influence on me last year. Thanks for the post, it’s so easy to forget this stuff when you get bogged down in the noise of every day.

    1. Laurie-this was how I could best remember. I’ve tried to live tweet before and didn’t remember much. So I take decent notes and either tweet or blog them later to share with others 🙂

  2. Jamie,

    Thanks for the takeaways. I was at the very first Arkansas Women Bloggers get together and it was a very positive experience as well. I hope to go to the AWBU next year and not just read the twitter feed like I did this year 🙂

  3. What an awesome recap! I should have set next to you in school. Or at least borrowed your notes. There are some great sessions i didn’t make it to because i was in others and now I can still get the great insight. AWBU was an awesome experience for me too.

  4. So good to see you again at camp! Loved reading your notes for some of the sessions I didn’t get to attend. There were so many great topics covered it was hard to pick which session to attend sometimes.

    1. Gina-That’s one of the nicest compliments you could give me! It was great to finally meet you too. Now if I could only get Twitter to keep me following you…

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