When I left Opryland Hotel on Saturday, I was full to the brim with emotion. I couldn’t speak and I fought back tears  for forty miles. It was much harder to leave my friends than I thought. This online community that I find myself in is incredible and Blissdom is the perfect chance to blur the lines between our online and offline lives. I learned some valuable  information but more than that, I strengthened invaluable relationships. And rumor has it they are not expanding Blissdom next year, so if you want to go, start saving and planning now. It’s unlike anything you’ll ever experience–it’s just…..bliss.

So, here’s the short list of things I learned.

1. Content is still king.

It’s so easy in blog world to get distracted by a million other things.   Headers, sidebars, platforms, SEO,  social media and on and on and on. It’s so easy to lose sight of the fact that we’re here to tell our stories. And how we tell those stories will always be the most important thing. You might tell your story with pictures or with poetry or with compelling original writing.   But tell your story. Tell the truth and they will come. Let your readers hear your voice and be authentic to that. If they meet you in real life, you want them to say, “You’re exactly like you sound on your blog.” Emily from Chatting at the Sky, who  spoke on this very topic—and who is an amazing truth-teller—gave this quote  by Howard Thurman that has become my new mantra,

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do that.

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

And that is so true with writing/blogging.  It’s tempting to try to decipher what it is that people want to hear.  But what they want to hear is a ‘you’ that is alive and passionate. So do your passion and it will be compelling.    And the best way to get better at writing is just to write.  The second most important thing is to read great authors that you’d like to emulate. I find that the more I read, the more  I have to say. And when I’m ‘fresh out’ of words and ideas, it’s usually because I haven’t been reading as much.
Quick tip: Read great books and tell your story with truth and passion.

2. Live then write.

Striking a balance between your online and offline life is difficult. But you first must live your life to be able to write about it.  I can only sit down on Monday morning and write about Blissdom if I’ve been to Blissdom. If you find yourself at a loss of things to write about, step away from blogging/writing and go live your life. Don’t be afraid to take blog breaks. I have always admired my sweet dear friend The Nester for this. Even though she has a jillion people who read her blog, she seldom posts on the weekend.  I’ve cursed her through my screen and said things like, “Come on Nester girl, it’s been four days, get to it, post something!”

But I do admire the boundary she draws for her family. And Megan from Velveteen Mind took a four month blogging hiatus  and didn’t really worry about what would happen to her blog in the interim. Develop of healthy detachment from your blog.  Don’t let it take over your life.  Blogs make perfect slaves but terrible masters.
Quick tip: Live a full, productive offline life and then tell us about it.

3. Find meaningful ways to connect with your readers.

I haven’t been very proactive with social media. I like interacting with my readers on my blog and their blogs but that can be very time consuming. It’s taken me awhile to figure out how to use Twitter and Facebook productively without them becoming  complete time wasters. Ironically, my husband, who was very hesistant to all social media at first, has taught me the power of Twitter.

{Just read this post if you want the scoop!}

So here’s my advice to you,
get a Twitter account and spend some time figuring it out. It’s such an easy, quick way to interact with people–kinda like group texting— and it’s fun to use. If you have a smart phone, you can download a twitter application. I use tweetdeck but there are others. There’s a function called @replies where you can talk to specific people by using their twitter name (handle) with the @ sign in front of it. There’s also the powerful hashtag (ie #blissdom) which makes it possible to search any topic you’re interested in and it will bring up all the people on twitter who are talking about that topic.  The #blissdom hashtag was going crazy this weekend but it makes  it easy to follow people who have similiar interests as you. Once you figure it out, I think you’ll agree that it can be much more helpful and intuitive than facebook. And there won’t be old pictures of you with big hair and blue eye shadow from high school. You’ll still need FB for that! I still use Facebook some but Twitter is becoming my social media of preference. Steve says it’s the communication of the future. Follow me on Twitter (click the ‘follow me’ button in my sidebar) if you don’t already and send me an @reply to follow you!
Quick tip: Use Twitter regularly to interact with people you love/stalk. Use @replies liberally.

I miss my Blissdom girls already and had a wonderful weekend meeting them all. Alli and Barbara did an amazing job putting this event together. We were treated like royalty and the Opryland staff is impeccable! The sponsors were so generous to us and lavished treats and swag on us like crazy. Add this event to your calendar next year. You won’t be sorry!  I’ll be back with another post on all the amazing women I met. I’m still processing my photos!
Have a great Monday. See you on Twitter!

See other Blissdom recap posts at JoLynn’s blog Musings of a Housewife.

44 comments on “Blissdom Deconstructed: Live, Write, Connect”

  1. What a wonderful wrap-up and tribute to Blissdom. I was in different sessions than you so it is so good to read what you experienced in the other groups. You did an excellent job of expressing yourself and what Blissdom is all about.

    Thanks for sharing-

  2. What a great post! I wish I took more pictures at Blissdom. I was overwhelmed and just wanted to take it in. Thankfully, though I don’t have photos of all my encounters, they are etched on my heart! Including the time I got to spend with you, dear sweet Edie.

  3. Thanks for this. I wished I was there–since I’m a relatively new blogger, I didn’t really consider it. I really appreciate you passing on what you learned.

    I am doing what you suggested–trying to learn twitter. I’ll head to my tweetdeck and follow you.

    I guess you can only learn by doing,huh?


  4. Soooo fabulous to meet you.

    On my to do list for next year: Take more pictures! I got a few…but I was sooo busy soaking it all in.

    What a grand time!

  5. Edie, I’m so glad I clicked on your link today. 🙂 It’s fun to read everyone’s recaps of who was “out and about” at Blissdom, but for those of us who didn’t get to attend, posts like this are gold. 🙂 Thank you for the encouragement and the information!

  6. Thanks for posting this!! As a “simple” blogger, I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog and my writing skills along with it! I must say that I think I enjoy reading blogs, rather than writing one. I’m so glad I found yours!!

    PS. Loved the bookmarks that you posted about the other day!

  7. Hi Edie,
    I read your blog more or less everyday, I don’t comment very often and don’t blog myself, I think it would be a blog of mostly moans which would be boring for everyone including me but I do very much enjoy reading what you have to say. Does the Twitter thing apply to me? I don’t have a clue about it; I’m only now thinking of using Google reader.
    Best wishes

  8. Hi Edie!

    I’m relatively new to your blog, but it is just delightful. Thanks for sharing your life! I’m particularly drawn to you because of your background in medicine–I’m in my second year of med school, and I sometimes [all the time] struggle with wanting my life to be a certain way and wondering how [or even if!] medicine will ever fit into that. I’m learning daily that I have to trust our Lord and His plan for my life instead of leaning on my own understanding! Anyways, sorry to ramble–just wanted you to know this single girl down in SC loves reading about you and your sweet family! Have a great week!


  9. I love the quote that Emily used in her talk….it’s one of my favorites…have it listed on facebook. YAY! I’m so glad you had a great weekend…and I have to say a big “thank you” for all the wonderful advice in this post! As a new blogger, this will help keep me grounded and focused on the main thing…and that’s living my life to the fullest.

  10. What fun! Love this post. I made your mocha chocolate cake! Posted a picture and link to your site today. I hope that was ok! It was one of the best desserts I have ever made. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! I will def. try more of your yummy dishes!!

  11. I’m so glad you got to go! What fun y’all must have had. The photos certainly include lots of happy-looking faces!

    I was staying at the Opryland Hotel the night Jack proposed to me–25 years ago! It’s really grown since then. But it sounds like it’s still a good place to hang out. . . and hanging out with blogging friends would really be great.

    Glad you made it safely home!

  12. Great blogging tips ~ thanks so much for sharing! I am somewhat new to the blogging world, but I am learning more every day from great bloggers out there like you! Come check out my blog when you get a chance!

  13. Thank you for sharing these great tips with us.

    Love the pics of you and all the blogging gals at Blissdom. It seems like a spectacular time. Glad to hear you had fun.


  14. Great info Edie. I’ll admit I’m glad Blissdom is over, it was hard not to think of all the fun being had several times a day. I just wrote ‘one of those posts’…the ones that leave you thinking twice. Eek! Oh well, I am trying to live my truth, even if that means I won’t get the popularity vote! Peace out.

  15. Oh honey bunches, I miss you already.

    Please please please send me the orig of that pic of us together at LARGE res. I must have it. None of mine of us turned out.


    Can't wait for the next convention so we can have another excuse to hang out.

  16. What a great post – and you have challenged me with the whole Twitter thing which I have been avoiding.

    For me, to attend a conference like this is virtually impossible given my location, so I really appreciate reading your insights.

  17. Thank you for sharing this.
    I am a really new blogger and this weekend I got swept up in one of those “Mclinky blog hop” things where there was a suggested topic each day. I was excited since it does seem like when ever I do the “McLinky” thing on someones blog I meet a lot of new, super cool people… the problem was the post was forced and I literally dreaded writing the next one… not a good sign. I dropped the idea altogether and told everyone honestly why… but I did feel like a bit of a failure… Thanks for sharing that first point… When I write my posts I always try to think, what would I tell a friend if they dropped by for coffee right now… and just type that. It was nice to read this and remember to be authentic… PS. My goal is to be at Blissdom next year… I’ll be the chubby girl laughing a little too loud… please say “hi”…

  18. hi, I just came over from Rhoda’s blog. She had a picture of you and I am head over heels in L.O.V.E. with the sweater you have on – it is gray with rope detail and buttons. would you mind sharing where you got it?


  19. Great advice! Especially #2 – sometimes those boundaries are so difficult. Also, I hate it when something interesting/important happens in your life and then you think “Oh good, I can blog about that!” – but you’re already planning the all-important post before you’ve prayed about it, talked to anyone about it, or really put any meaningful thought towards the subject. I need to work on that – living first 🙂

  20. Edie,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and all you learned at Blissdom with us. It’s truly appreciated. I posted today about the conference I attended in NJ this weekend.

  21. The quote you cited in #1 has been living on my wall for the last 5 years or so. When I started my blog I put it up there too. Definitely words to live by!

  22. Wow! Edie, you are amazing! Just found you through The Reluctant Entertainer, the Nester, and Like Merchant Ships. I’m Southern, gave up professional education outside the home, and began homeschooling in 2001…can’t believe my youngest begins kindergarten in the fall. Thanks for sharing yourself…you have a beautiful way with words and I love your blog. I’m looking forward to learning more from you…btw, I just turned 40 too!

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