t's been over a month since Texas Style Council's final conference, CAMP, but I'm still feeling inspired by my weekend surrounded by amazing women. With founder Indiana now living in Atlanta, GA, Texas Style Council pulled out all the stops for this final event. I've always appreciated Indiana's focus on community and connections rather than stats and sponsors when it comes to the content of the conferences. TxSC has been the one conference I choose to attend simply because of the more down-to-earth vibe. Big conferences with the focus on networking and business connections and becoming the biggest, richest blogger on the block, they're just not for me. A weekend in the woods with my favorite ladies, casual style, sessions on journaling and confidence, and s'mores? That's what I'm talking about.
And you know what? Even though I didn't attend any sessions on making connections with big brands, crafting super pinnable content, and growing your audience, I left feeling so much more motivated to make this space meaningful, healthy, and inspiring. I suppose, since CAMP stood for "Create A Meaningful Presence," that means the weekend truly lived up to it's intention, eh? One of the big reasons I'm going on a new Brave trip and starting my podcast is because of TxSC and the encouragement from blog friends to just go for it.
I co-lead a session with Megan from Greetings From Texas about what to do when your blog becomes a slog. The word for the session was "SHIFT," but Megan aptly noted that perhaps it should be "SHIT." Like, oh shit... this used to all come easy and I had tons of ideas and sponsors were interested in working with me and I was excited and now I feel all blah and don't know what to say anymore and sponsors don't seem to give a shit about my blog, and being a full time blogger just isn't what it used to be. We talked about shifting focus to keep the passion alive, or even shifting to different goals other than blogging, even quitting blogging. We talked about how in the past year or two there's emerged a huge gap in terms of income between the top 200 bloggers (in terms of income) and the rest of us and how that's affected monetized bloggers. We talked about finding new passions through blogging, and focusing more on quality than quantity when it comes to blog posts. Megan was way more on top of her stuff and actually had someone tape a little snippit of our discussion, which you can find on her blog here.
I had learned about Megan last TxSC when I attended her + Becky Murphy's session on book writing. Megan wrote a book about her experience with Ovarian cancer and adoption, which is hilarious (despite those topics not seeming immediately hilarious), but I hadn't really read her blog until learning that we'd be co-leading our discussion session. Julie, Jen, and I were supposed to be rooming with Moorea, but after Moorea had to cancel her trip to TxSC, Megan took her spot in our room and I was so glad she did. It was a blast getting to know her and I feel like I gained a brand new amazing friend.
Hanging out with blog friends I've known since 2009, I realized that they aren't just blog friends. They're truly some of my best friends. I've known these women since before they were married, or had kids. I've watched them change careers, get new jobs, start their own businesses, write books. They saw me graduate college, drive around the country, get married, and buy a house. All of a sudden I realized that these aren't just "blog friends," they're full blown real friends I just happened to meet through blogging. We pick up right where we left off (when we hung out at TxSC in 2013!), and stay up till 3 in the morning chatting in our bunks, cracking up, sharing secrets and dreams. The sessions and workshops at these kinds of blogging events are nice, but those are the things that stick with me, not the notes I jot down listening to keynote speakers.
I'm sad to see TxSC go, mostly because this last iteration of the conference was my absolute favorite. I mean, you know me, I love camping, so a weekend full of inspiration with rad chicks in the woods? Such a perfect event. Honestly, I wish I could put something together like TxSC Camp here in the PNW on a yearly basis. I feel like we don't need more blogging conferences, there are plenty of those. But a weekend getaway where you get to meet up with old blog friends, meet new blog friends, and feel encouraged and inspired to go after the dreams you feel you were meant to live out? Heck. Yes. More of those, please. Less feeling not good enough. Less stressing about looking fancy and impressive. Less strategies. Less networking. More connection. More friendship. More empowerment. More soul-feeding conversation.
Over the last five TxSC conferences, Indiana and her team put in countless hours of work, dozens of sleepless nights, and some serious blood sweat and tears to bring a truly inspiring event to life each time. I'm so thankful for Indiana, both as a friend, and a "friendtor" (a term we learned from TOMS' Bethany Joy Clark at CAMP). She poured her heart into each TxSC, from the very first meeting of a few bloggers over Costco quiche during SXSW, to a full on sold-out ALT style conference, to a weekend glamping retreat in the woods. This lady is a powerhouse and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeves next.
photobooth photos by Logan Pearce Photography, other photos by Liz Morrow Studios, Chelsea Laine Francis Photography, and via instagram.