BlogHer 10 in New York: A Sea of Estrogen

Closing keynote in the Hilton's Grand Ballroom.

Imagine 2400 excited female bloggers, half of whom have never been to a conference before, not to mention New York. Many were away from their kids and husbands for the first time.

They were there to learn, to party, to get swag, and to talk. Sometimes it seemed like they were all talking at the same time. That was sold-out BlogHer ’10: Noisy and thrilling. Think high estrogen count.

According to the founders giving the keynote, there are now 67.5 million women who blog. It felt like ALL of them were at the conference.

Last Friday and Saturday, BlogHer featured two days of sessions on 7 tracks, including the writing lab, geek lab, and the job lab (since we’re still in a recession). My favorite was on humor writing, moderated by Awesomely Luvvie. It featured the co-creator of the Jon Stewart show, Lizz Winstead, and comedian Jessica Bern. These women write and speak on the foolishness of everyday life, and spent a lot of time encouraging the women in the room to have confidence.

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the Jon Stewart Show

“Curiosity is our greatest asset,” said Winstead, who researches her topics like a madwoman. (Click on her name above to see her rant on Phyllis Schlafly.) “Hone your voice and write about what you care about. Be articulate, creative and smart and people will find you.” She also said “Don’t write about stuff you don’t know about.” Good advice.

Winstead encouraged writers to take a position, comparing it to driving down the middle of the road. “A car in the middle of the road causes accidents. Pick the left or the right. If you don’t you’ll need my self-help book called ‘F**k You,'” she concluded. Keep in mind that someone will always be offended by your position, she said, because “even asserting a point of view will offend.”

So now that you’ve read that, I’m going to take a position. I have never spoken with so many people who [Read more…]

The Writing Process: Are you an Introvert or Extravert?

Just got off the phone today with the group of bloggers I’ll be on a panel with at the upcoming BlogHer annual conference in New York. And what a group it is: funny, thoughtful women, all prolific writers. I’ll be the moderator of the session, called How to Use Your Blogging to Make You a Better Writer. Here’s the line-up:

  • Humor writer Mary McCarthy of Pajamas and Coffee, who posts about such things as testing a duck-shaped dildo
  • Suzanne Reissman of Cuss and Other Rants, a New York public policy wonk by day and writer of various rants on her blog
  • Jennifer McGuiggan of The Word Cellar, who ‘s working on her MFA and blogs about the writing process.

After the session on August 7, I’ll be signing books, so if you happen to be at the conference, please stop by and say hi.

Elisa Camahort, one of the co-founders of BlogHer, was on the call and brought up how the writing process can vary  based on whether you’re an introvert or extravert. When she [Read more…]