The Only Thing You Need to “Succeed” In Blogging

I have been in the online space for two years now and it didn’t take me that long after diving in to realize that the numbers game in the blogosphere just doesn’t add up to success. At least not the kind of success I want. At that time, there was so much chatter about numbers and traffic and SEO and it was really distracting. And it still is I think to many bloggers. Especially those in the online mom space.

But if you take the time to define what your goals are in this space, you can step out of the haze of chasing meaningless numbers and step into the clarity and power of realizing that the only way to feel like you are achieving success out here is by sticking to your path. Because in my opinion? That’s the only path that matters.

For me, I identified a few things early on that helped get me started on my path which I feel is leading me to the kind of success I desire:

1) In my real life, I’m a person who would rather hang out and really get to chat with five people than party with a 100 people and just get a few minutes with each person.

2) I value my time as a professional and have no desire to “work” for other people for free.

3) Hanging out with like-minded creative people fuels my soul and inspires me to continue reaching for the creative, professional goals I want to achieve.

These realizations helped me to decide that:

1) I was not going to spend hours and hours chasing the surface comment reciprocity that the mom blogosphere is known for, and I was not going to write content purely to try and attract traffic.

2) I was not going to get distracted by the endless stream of work-for-free opportunities.

3) What I WAS going to do was foster relationships with other women I encountered in the online space who were original and creative and passionate and genuine and who also had an interest in bringing their creative ideas to life in one way or another.

I will be the first to admit that I am technically “nobody” in this online space. Since numbers are not important to me, I do not have them. Since work-for-free opportunities are not for me, I don’t really work with most brands.

But I DO have what I consider to be the most important element to achieving success – I have authentic alliances with a small but mighty group of creative online women. Women who know who I am, what I dream about and what I stand for.

When I went to my first blogging conference, BlogHer ’09, I left feeling both clear and confused. Clear about what I didn’t want but confused about what to do next. What I knew about myself (see first three items listed above) didn’t really match up with what I experienced at that enormous conference. But the one thing that BlogHer ’09 did provide me was an opportunity to meet in real life some of the like-minded creative women I had stumbled across in the online space. And that was an awesome and important step for me.

Meeting some of those women at BlogHer ‘09 proved to be an essential building block for what happened Oct. 15-17th in Ojai, California at a gathering called Creative Alliance ’10.

I spearheaded CA ’10 along with Jessica, Cynthia, and Andrea with a clear vision – to try and create an intimate, genuine atmosphere where authentic alliances could be formed with other creative online women. An experience where the distracting chatter of what to wear and what party to attend wouldn’t exist. A gathering where meaningful face-to-face conversation ruled the agenda. A “boutique” conference filled with support and advice based on our own individual experiences in our online journeys.. An authentic environment where we could talk honestly and openly about the truths and untruths that exist in this space. A weekend set in an inspired setting where our souls would be refueled with creative energy. An experience that would hopefully become a part of a solid creative online foundation for each us – a foundation we could stand on, lean against, and call upon when needed.

On a personal level, I’m not sure I’ve really been able to process all that was achieved at the inaugural CA ’10. The organizer/founder part of me knows it was an insane success. Personally, I am just a girl out there in the world with some dreams that often times I don’t feel that I’m pursuing as I should. For fear of failure, most likely. Or maybe it’s laziness. But I know that being with this group of women at CA ’10 reached deep into my core and inspired me to keep facing whatever it is that prevents me from achieving what I want.

I started this space right here back in October 2008 with one mission in mind – to have a creative outlet for myself as I struggled to “become” a mother. Not physically, rather emotionally. Spiritually even. I had no idea that mission would lead me to CA’ 10 but it has. And CA ’10 will lead me towards other creative horizons, I am certain.

So am I successful? Maybe, maybe not depending on your definition. But in my book? I am successful in that I’m being true to my creative path. But in order for me to keep working towards the kind of success I want on a creative business level, I know I need one thing – authentic alliances. Women who are friends, colleagues, fellow dreamers, entrepreneurs. Women I can call when I’m feeling like there’s no way in hell this Creative Alliance thing is gonna come together and who will listen to me and calmly tell me it’s all gonna be okay. Women who will support me in most whatever way I ask of them because they know me and believe in me. Women who will offer up their expertise because we are kindred creative spirits. Women who will lend their own creative vision to mine and in the end, both visions will be greater because of the other.

So numbers and stats and SEO and exclusive party invites be damned. In my opinion, there’s really only one thing you need to succeed out here in blogland or anywhere else for that matter – authentic alliances.

I am so damn thankful for mine.


Some of the CA ’10 group  – not all


A Session in the Yurt


Cyn, Andrea, me and Jess

Me and Ann cropped

The Epic Ann


The Glorious Heather

…and more….


This is Part One in what is sure to be a series of reflective posts about the journey that ended in Ojai and was called Creative Alliance ’10.

Here’s to success…..

35 Responses to “The Only Thing You Need to “Succeed” In Blogging”

  1. Corinne says:

    Lee – it looks like it was such an incredible experience. I would have been there in a heartbeat if it weren’t for other circumstances, but know I was thinking of you all that weekend 🙂 (might be selfishly hoping for a CA ’11…)
    (and ps. I don’t even know what SEO stands for… doh…)

    • Lee says:

      I hope there’s a CA ’11 too – now who will organize it??? 🙂

      And I don’t think you even want to know what SEO stands for. 🙂

      Happy Friday!


  2. Karen Duggan says:

    I’m just so glad you pushed through all the challenges that came to meet you to get that thing rolling! Really… Thank you again and again and again. I met some remarkable women that weekend that I feel will be a part of my future. How cool is that?!

  3. Ann's Rants says:

    Beautifully articulated, my beautiful friend.

    You inspire me.

    • Lee says:

      Hey friend,

      I hope you know this line is about you….

      Women who will lend their own creative vision to mine and in the end, both visions will be greater because of the other.

      I can’t even imagine another CA without LTYM. And according to the survey, no one else can imagine it either.


  4. Ree says:

    Brava my friend!

    • Lee says:

      HEY!!!! How are you?? I was just thinking about you!! I really was – I often think about all of the cool blogs I never visit anymore. 🙁 Thanks for cruising by and how is your new life in Chicago? I guess I should go by your blog and find out…..


  5. jessica says:

    You are the one that pushed me to reach beyond what I thought I could achieve and I will always love you for that. You are an inspiration to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for ignoring me when it came to my worries about CA ’10 and for giving me a new life as a Transportation Coordinator or as what my title now is, which is, “Shuttle Driver”


  6. Lee, I tried to put into words what the conference meant to me, but I couldn’t. You did. This is wonderful writing, inspirational, and it speaks to the real power that women have in the world–one alliance at a time. I am so blessed to have heard about the conference, and I almost didn’t go. Whew. I hope you do one every year. Signing up in advance. Love to you, Molly

  7. Andrea says:

    Lee- Thank you so much for including me in the planning and execution of this! I loved talking to you “everyday”:0 No really you are always a very honest and real voice to depend upon and for that I am SO grateful!

  8. Dude.

    I love you. I’m so glad you’re here because you taught me this perspective that was in my heart and I didn’t know it was there. Starting with BlogHer ’09 when I was so overwhelmed and you saw my heart and knew more than I did what I wanted. You’ve encouraged me to be simply be exactly who I am ever since, and for that I’m so grateful. I’m sure I would have known all the stats and SEO stuff wasn’t my gig anyway, but you have always articulated why in a way that helps me feel confident in doing this thing my own way, following my creative heart-gut.

    CA was such a great experience, I’m so glad you’re sure of that.

    I love this post.

    The End.

  9. Oh. And I’m also glad you’re here because I just love who you are…not just cause you taught me stuff.

    But you knew that…

  10. Ellie says:

    Oh, I had goosebumps reading this. I’m still walking on air from the whole experience of being with such strong, creative, focused, compassionate women.

    I am so grateful for your vision, your huge heart and your passion that lead you to gather us all together for what was for me a life changing experience. I left motivated, inspired and rejunvenated.

    Thank you, Lee – and all the other core members of CA10 – for embodying what it means to be a creative, strong, compassionate, professional, successful woman.


  11. I was inspired in so many ways at CA10.

    Ready to ad some depth to my online presence that I had always shied away from before (weird, cause me and “shy” don’t know each other that well).

    Thanks for providing me a space to share, to learn, to be inspired.


    • Lee says:

      Oh girl – this comment means a lot to me. And yeah, you? Shying away from anything? Fascinating. Your presence at CA ’10 was such a gift – the clarity of your message is something to behold. Thanks for being one of those creative kindred spirits who knew jack shit about me but who was always willing to lend a helping hand when needed…’s to all kinds of cool future things…. 🙂


  12. This is what I love about you, Lee. Passion, creativity, authenticity, motivation. Would have loved to have been at CA’10 but the timing just didn’t work with the projects I was committed to here in this physical space of mine. I hope there’s a next time.

    We keep saying this but we should catch up by phone. I want to hear more about what you’re working on, and I’ve started moving forward on one of the things I mentioned in my last email to you. To be honest, watching you move on your dreams and ideas was part of my inspiration for taking the first step instead of sitting under my dream immobilized until someone else out there got the same idea and did it themselves.

    Any plans to head back to the midwest this winter/spring?

  13. When I try to put into words what Creative Alliance is, I will come here.

    When people ask me what Creative Alliance is, I will send them here.

    When Creative Alliance #11 comes back to town, I will be there.

    This was the perfect post. It completely embodied the experience in amazing words.

    Thanks for your vision.

  14. Scary Mommy says:

    If I cut out a little picture of myself and Photoshop it in, will it almost be like I was there? Because I really wish I had been.

    • Lee says:

      Oh yeah Jill! That would’ve been awesome! It was an epic event – no doubt about it. We’ll see if there is a CA’11 and we’ll have to rope you in. Hope all is well in your scary world!

  15. Ash says:

    The one thing my two years of blogging has done is teach me that, when this crazy ride finally comes to an end, only a handful of opinions will truly matter.

    Your’s being one of the few.

    Hope you don’t mind if I Photoshop myself in to that group shot.

    Three cheers for you success!! As if I ever doubted.

  16. Nap Warden says:

    OK Lee, can I just copy this and put it on my blog. Everyone has been asking me about CA’10 and wanting me to post about it (non-blogger folks) I have been laboring over a post and you summed it up PERFECTLY. What a great experience…well done my friend=)

    • Lee says:

      Yes you may put it on your blog. 🙂

      Hey the founders of CA ’10 are having dinner tonight – so why don’t you come on over???

      Chat soon – maybe. 🙂


  17. Alexandra says:

    This is just what I feel.

    And you came out and said it.

    “The comment reciprocity that is the mommy blogosphere.”

    I almost killed myself without sleeping, just trying to get back to everyone that commented b/c “that’s what you’re supposed to do or they’ll never come back to your blog again!”

    I couldn’t keep up. It’s all I did all night, when the kids were in bed. Comment back, go visit, send an email saying thank you.

    It sounds horrible to say, but I had to let it go.

    Just awful to say. Yes, traffic has dropped down at my site to 1/2 of what it was, but I kept thinking, “this is no fun anymore.”

    This event sounds like it was such a life experience. Your post here reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “that which doesn’t bring you life, is too small for you.”

    This post says it all.

    Thank you!

    • Lee says:

      Thank YOU for this awesome comment. More of us need to be telling others to chill out on the comment reciprocity. I mean it’s cool and all but not enough to be losing sleep over. It reminds me a bit of being a hamster in one of those little wheels. You know? And yeah you’ll pay the price in traffic but depending on your ultimate goals, does it really matter?? Hmmm……

      And I love your quote – thank you for that. I will remember it. ANd don’t worry you never have to comment here again. I get it. But hope we can hang out sometime…


  18. Lolita Carrico says:


    You are amazing, incredible inspiration. CA ’10 was amazing.

    I’m honored that I had the opportunity to learn/share/hang in what was absolutely the perfect setting with such a powerful, proactive and generous group of women.

    And? I, I’m sure with many others, will help you with CA ’11.

    • Lee says:

      Cool sister. Maybe instead of helping with CA’11 – you can just handle the whole thing. 🙂 Really Lolita – your presence meant A LOT and your advice and support throughout my online journey has been so appreciated….I hope you know that.


  19. This sentence: …. I have authentic alliances with a small but mighty group of creative online women….. is, I believe…. not only at the heart of CA10, but at the very heart of WHY we succeed in this space…. because we are willing to align ourselves with other mighty women, because we are willing to recognize our own gaps and where that ‘mightiness’ fits right in to make us whole…. with that one sentence you captured WHY I wanted to be a part of this magical event and you have put into words what has been swimming in my brain for the last two weeks… many more hugs.

    And thank you, thank you…. for THIS.

    • Lee says:

      Danielle – absolutely. It is exactly why we succeed and hopefully more women will realize that it’s enough. Having authentic alliances is enough to feel like you are succeeding because like in anything it’s all about who is with you on the journey. And for any of us who plan to be hanging around in this space for a while know that it’s gonna be a journey….so we might as well grab a hold of a couple other cool people and move forward. Thanks again for trusting in the vision even though we knew nothing of one another really…..that’s an awesome leap of faith so thank YOU.


  20. Jillian says:

    Reading this post this morning allows me to continue the reason I began this in the first place. Like minded women.

    The best post I’ve read in along time.
    Any other ways I can connect would be appreciated if you come accross anything.


  21. Anna Lefler says:

    What a fantastic post! Amen and hear-hear and I agree wholeheartedly and very well put!

    It was a magical weekend and you are a magical person.



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