aiming to suck less

2 11 2010

I learned a lot at the Blissdom Canada conference last week. Namely, to suck less at writing. And I’m going to do my best.

At the first Canadian social media conference for women there were sessions and dialogue centred on blog writing, monetization, working with brands, blogging for social action and more. Here are a few key points that struck a chord with me.

Find your voice, your niche, your ‘twist’

  • create great content and you’ll rock; this means taking risks, being controversial, being authentic
  • find your voice – it’s OK if you haven’t discovered it yet, but get started on the journey (writing lots and reading other blogs will help)
  • seek mentors to emulate (aka: read lots of other blogs)
  • change up your writing style (not your voice) – shake it up with prose, top tens, subtitles, photos, videos, etc.
  • while the story may have been told before, the twist is you; your viewpoint, perspective and experience

Be mindful

  • be mindful of yourself – know why you’re online, what your goals, priorities, principles are
  • know in advance how you will deal with negative comments (especially the vicious ones) because you will receive them
  • develop your personal brand; it’s important – know your identity and create content around it
  • be mindful of your audience – who are you writing for anyway?

De-clutter (cleanliness=less sucking)

  • edit your work. Then edit it again. Go away. Come back. Do more edits. That’s how you’ll become a better writer; that’s how you’ll become a content creating Ninja (ker-plow!)
  • go with a simple, clean design to make your blog inviting; people want to see you, not all the flashy ‘blog jewellery’

Cut yourself some slack

  • as busy moms/women, we can’t be everywhere; quoting Kathy Buckworth, “We’re not Mrs. Brady. Besides, she had a maid.”
  • it’s not so much about work/life balance as it is simply a matter of ‘being’ where you need to be
  • there’s a reason there’s an off switch; you really do have to take  a break from blogging

Creating change in the world

  • social media can be used as your voice for change; it enables you to create room for voices that haven’t been heard
  • even if your audience is small, your voice is powerful to them and offers encouragement
  • be kind (on Twitter, on  your blog, in real life); it goes a long way
  • be inclusive; don’t alienate new readers by talking in jargon or with inside jokes

Don’t do it for the money

  • it’s really hard to make money off your blog so blog because you love writing, not because you want the cash
  • that if you’re looking to work with brands, go to the small- and mid-sized businesses in  your neighbourhood/that fit  your niche
  • don’t wait to be pitched; find brands that are already open to the mom/women blogging market and pitch to them
  • know in advance what is and isn’t for sale on  your site

I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend Blissdom Canada. I met so many interesting women who are doing wonderful, amazing and powerful things through social media. It truly was inspiring. I left wishing the conference could go on forever, and through Twitter and other blog recaps, I guess it will.

I’m motivated to keep writing until I find my voice. To take the risk of sucking, but to try to suck less.



19 responses

2 11 2010

Great recap. I’m trying to process all I learned and apply it to myself. So useful, so much work!

Great seeing you in Toronto!

2 11 2010

Me too. I think it will take a while to put what I learned into action. Funny that we had to go to Toronto to see each in person. LOL – busy lives. DD and I will get out to a Kids in the Capital tweetup soon!

2 11 2010

What a great recap. And I don’t think you need to suck less. You don’t suck at all-you are a wonderful writer as well as a great person. Glad to know you, and here’s to many more great conferences!

2 11 2010

Thanks Mara. I knew from our first tweet exchange I was going to like you. 😉 Here’s to a Blissdom Canada 2011 reunion!

2 11 2010
sweetsalty kate

Chickymara, I’m piping up to clarify because a few people took the concept the wrong way, as though it had been me speaking to individuals from the starting point of ‘you suck’. I apologize for how it may sound out of context. It’s a healthy deconstructing of our need to be perfect, or to overthink things. It applies to me just as much as anyone else. It’s kind of my mantra. It keeps my ego from getting in the way. Embracing imperfection, not overthinking things. Small improvements adding up to confidence. Forward movement. That kind of thing. I’ve commented below, and I hope that clarifies. 🙂

2 11 2010

Kate, your message is clear but it’s wonderful of you to offer clarification.

2 11 2010
Redneck Mommy

Awesome recap!!! Thank you so much for this post. It’s great to hear it live but I find things are better reinforced when I can actually read them.

2 11 2010

Thanks Tanis. I really enjoyed your words of advice. Oh, and I appreciate that you found my iPhone (and then found me). 🙂

2 11 2010
sweetsalty kate

“To take the risk of sucking, but to try to suck less…”

That’s exactly it. Fear of sucking can be such a barrier to entry, even though we all have to go through creative infancy and pubescence. But until we gain confidence about how we write (or sing, or paint, or anything) we can at least make our creative space (or identity, platforms, principles) consistent and memorable. And that’s totally accessible. It doesn’t take much effort. It’s just that mindfulness.

Thanks so much for summing this up, as well as so much else that I learned too. It was a great conference. I’m already lobbying for Catherine to hold the next one at Peggy’s Cove. We’re going to call it LobsterDom.

2 11 2010

The conference made me realize it’s ok not to have discovered my voice just yet. To keep going, keep trying to write better. That advice was reassuring. As for LobsterDom – I’m so there!

3 11 2010

Great post. I loved BlissDom so much, for so many reason. I’m trying to gather my thoughts so I can write my post and I’m having such a hard time. Much harder than after BlogHer, which tells me this was a conference I enjoyed even more. And I loved BlogHer.

3 11 2010

Thanks Loukia, it’s too bad we didn’t get a chance to introduce ourselves at Blissdom. We’ll have to wait until the next tweetup, social media event. 😉

3 11 2010

After ShesConnected this is what I needed to remember “it’s really hard to make money off your blog so blog because you love writing, not because you want the cash”. Thanks for your great re-cap.

4 11 2010

Hey Sara,

I so appreciated your live tweets at Blissdom Canada. Great resources to come back to and to of course, share with others:

4 11 2010
Jenn @

Excellent recap; thanks for sharing it with those of us who were unable to attend!

4 11 2010

Thanks Jenn,

Glad you found the post informative. I learned a lot that’s for sure. Have some planning and blog re-jigging in the near future as a result! 🙂

4 11 2010
Customer Service: Be Proactive & Suck-less (Plus a picture of Justin Bieber) « books&brands

[…] BlissdomCanada conference I wrote about in my last post delivered two key phrases:  One Word and Suck-less.  The former was delivered during the closing panel by Catherine Connor (@herbadmother), and the […]

15 11 2010

Thanks for taking the time to write this Mel. I hope everyone who went to Blissdom realizes just how much sharing this info is helping those who didn’t go! After hearing and reading so much about what was said, I’m inspired as well.

4 10 2011
Gearing up for Bliss « Mel Gallant

[…] came away with a broader understanding about how to find my voice, my niche, my twist. I learned something else important too. That when it came to writing for my blog, I was letting […]

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