|This is the print from Be Small Studios that I received in my gift bag.|
Friday afternoon, I found my friend Tobi in the hallway, in between sessions.
I had spent the last two sessions sitting on the floor. I don't have the greatest back, and I was wearing low-rise jeans, so all I was really looking for in my final session of the day was a chair.
We found a session that neither one of us were planning to attend, and there were many seats, so - we sat.
The session was okay.
But what happened afterwards was the reason we were there.
I met my new friend Stacy, from Texas. Stacy and I had connected on Twitter, just before Allume. Stacy has a heart for a community that is near and dear to my heart - wounded warriors and their families. She lives in San Antonio, and works at a hospital in hospice care. One of her friends is a newly injured wounded warrior. Tobi also shares this heart for wounded warriors.
We three were one, as we talked about wanting to help these young men and women and their families, after they return from war. It was so cool!
Now, on to Saturday.
The morning keynote was more from Darren Rowse, aka Problogger. It was called "From Little Big Things Grow." It was so neat hearing the stories about Darren's journey. And there were some great nuggets of wisdom in his talk, such as:
-"If you change one reader's life, small may be big enough."
-"Aim to have a big impact on those you already reach."
-"Look for sparks." (what gives you energy, where is your momentum growing, what is God prompting you to do?)
My favorite part of his talk was the illustration he shared about mud cake. He talked about sliding his fork through this perfect, moist, chocolatey goodness, for a bite. Then seeing a little girl attack a piece of cake, sans fork. He challenged us to go at it that way.
John 6:57: "Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me."
Late morning I went to a session about building your personal brand, by Stephanie Bryant. I was one of three ladies in the room with the infamous blue bubble necklace.
I sat on the floor and took good notes. There was TONS of good information about being real online, and how people can tell when you're faking it. I left patting myself on the back. I'm pretty good at this already! Yay for me for stretching my authenticity muscle regularly! I downloaded Stephanie's book to my Kindle, and I'm going to come back to it and dream a little about a new look for the blog.
I went to a session all about ebook publishing, which completely intimidated me, and made me realize I need to wholly re-package the ebook I wrote this Summer, and I think I'm going to have to outsource the technical part of it to my husband, because I just can't deal with technical stuff. I'm not wired for that. I'll be coming back to that project after the election.
At lunch, I had one of the highlights of my weekend. I met Amy from Blogging with Amy! She puts together these really easy-to-understand tutorials. My blog (and marriage) would not be what it is today without Amy's help! Such a blessing to meet her and hear about why she does what she does - to help people get their stories out there! So neat.
Saturday afternoon, I went to a panel titled "So, You Want to get Published."
It was the scariest hour of my recent life.
I got a seat, thankfully. On the very front row, right by the podium. I felt like I was either the biggest nerd in the class, or late for church and had to sit in the front row, because that was all that was left.
There were three publishers, a book agent, and a published author on the panel. They were not generally very optimistic. I'm telling you - they were scary.
I asked the last question. I asked about writing a memoir. Because that's what I want to write, but I keep reading everywhere that writing a memoir right now is a horrible idea, unless you're well known. Really well known - like it will only work if you're the President of the United States or something.
But you know what? They were actually encouraging! They said there is always room for good writing, unique ideas, and anything with a "wow" factor. Okay. So let me get right on that!
I spoke with two of the publishers after the panel and they were interested in what I had to say!! I had NO saliva in my mouth, and I was having flashbacks of my lips sticking to my upper gums during cheerleading tryouts in middle school. (Your mental image here should be of Fire Marshal Bill from "In Living Color," that's what I'm talking about as far as dry mouth goes.)
Later that night, on my way to the bathroom, I randomly ran into the book agent. We had a great conversation. Needless to say, I'm SLIGHTLY excited about the possibilities, and I know what my big project will be for 2013!
The number one takeaway for me from the publishing panel: "Every generation needs it's own voices." That hit me. Because I feel like so many stories that are similar to my own have been told before. Even more dramatic stories. Stories that were well written. And yet, here I am, with this dream.
I'm so afraid.
But, I'm trying to ignore the fear.
Because usually fear paralyzes you.
And there's a reason you're afraid anyway.
I think when you're afraid to do something, you're probably safe to assume that means you're supposed to do it.
One more takeaway from that publishing panel: "Steel your hearts if you're going to get into this business."
By the time for the big keynote of the Allume weekend - Saturday night - I was just completely spent. Emotionally and spiritually. Physically, not so much, but the first two had me pretty fatigued. I took great notes when Ann Voskamp was speaking, but honestly - I don't remember much.
I do remember that she had us type a note in our cell phone of what our fear was - and then we held those out, and she talked about a "City on a Hill," and then we sang a praise and worship song. I could tell it was powerful. But, like I said, I was just spent.
Allume was an INCREDIBLE experience. I'm so glad I went. Even if it was 10 days before Election Day. I have so many goals to work on as soon as we have a new President! Most importantly, I left with purpose, passion, and feeling closer to God. Eager to get home to my man - and dream together about the future.