I have a friend from law school whose Facebook page is covered with images of marathon after marathon where she appears to be not dying. In fact, sometimes it seems like she's hardly finished one before she's posting photos of another. And from her status updates and comments, it's clear that finishing a race just makes her more excited to sign up for the next one. Running begets running.
I ran a marathon once.
At the end, I never wanted to run again. And I rarely have. Since then, I've only put my sneakers on sporadically. After that, I've never been what I would consider a runner.
I'm afraid that the BlogHer conference felt to me a bit like a marathon.
The adrenaline, the shared enthusiasm, the need to tap into your deepest resources to keep going.
Did that last one seem like it came out of the blue?
Look, BlogHer was fun. I met a ton of awesome people. I laughed - a lot, especially listening to other bloggers read their incredibly funny writing.
But when I walked through the door of the Hilton for the sixty hours I spent there, I didn't know anyone. I had commented on a few people's blogs or chatted with them over twitter or perhaps even over email, but I'd never met a single soul - not even the roommate I'd spend the majority of my time with. And when I left the Hilton, I had spoken to hundreds of people - many of them one on one.
It was this, over and over and over again:
Hi, I'm ________.
What do you blog about?
And then we were off.
It was a lot of talking. A lot of talking about blogging. And thinking about blogging. And asking questions about blogging.
I'm sure that for some people this would've been the greatest thing they could imagine - and again it's not that I didn't enjoy myself - but for me, it was exhausting. All of that going and going and being on. I'm a friendly person, but I'm a little shy and not really an extrovert. Talking to so many people (and being excited! and confident! and interesting!) wore me plumb out.
When it was over, I felt more like I had at the end of that marathon (proud of myself but also frazzled with wobbly legs) than my marathon-running friend does when she passes the finish line on her way to the next race sign-up.
Since I got back, I've been loathe to miss a day of posting. I don't want to give in to this feeling, but the exhaustion hasn't gone away. And I feel sort of off kilter on here.
After a weekend spending every waking moment talking and thinking about blogging, I find myself with more questions than answers. (I should probably be used to that.) What is this blog about for me? What do I want to do with it? Nothing? A lot? What are my skills? Talents? Do I want to monetize? Not? More writing less crafting? More crafting less writing? More photos and crafting?
I'm going back to my old trick of Just Keep Writing and hoping that, in the process, I'll answer at least some of these questions for myself.
Though I couldn't get in a comfortable sleeping position or walk down stairs without pain for several weeks after that marathon, I've never been sorry that I did it. And I'm not sorry that I went to BlogHer. In fact, it's the opposite. As tiring as it was and as off balance as I feel now, I would do it again (and may!). I've been around enough to know that these questions are good - they're the beginning of work. Important inside work about what I want, what feeds me.
So while I'm not hobbling over to the next sign-up just yet, I'm guessing this wasn't my last finish line.