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
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…..