This is the continuance of my post about the Blog U ’14 conference, held in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland at the University of Notre Dame of Maryland last weekend, the first weekend of June. The conference kicked off Saturday morning with a Q & A panel of our teachers. Jen Mann, Ilana Wiles, Karen Alpert, Susan McLean, Kim Bongiorno, and Nicole-Leigh Shaw asked and answered questions about their experiences on their journeys as bloggers to writing success and fame. From trolls to book deals, it was entertaining, interesting, and I was overwhelmed by the successes of these women, who apparently never sleep, have obtained.

blog university '14 on

We all chose 4 one hour sessions of blogging education on subjects of interest. My picks for lessons to learn were on Making Money With Your Writing, Treating Your Blog Like a Business, Going From Blog to Book, and Twitter & Facebook use. Takeaways?

Call yourself a freelance writer to everyone you meet. Everyone. Your butcher, your baker, your candlestick maker. You never know who may need something written. I helped a Mom with her kids college entrance essay once. He just graduated with a degree in Engineering.

Shop your work out everywhere and all at the same time. Don’t worry about the editors so much. They take care of themselves. First come, first serve. Be honest but don’t hold your breath and do ask when you can expect a decision.

Do nothing for free. And keep raising your rates. People who ask you for stuff for free (besides Huffington Post) are uncool.

Build a community by being yourself. Facebook is going to disappear (begin to demand money from its junkies) . It will be replaced and you can always take your community wherever you go. They like you for you.

Publishing has changed. You are only limited by your lack of creativity to use the social media well to make it happen. One writer used Kickstarter for money to just promote the book. And asked for the advance copy readers to write Amazon reviews. Which shot it to the top of the best seller list. Creative uses are what get you where you want to go.

Full Tilt beer from the cocktail party at #BlogU14 on
No we weren’t drinking beer at the conference, this was the cocktail party reception the night before.

Know that social media is used by others to see if you are hireable and desirable. I despise twitter and I’ll be making a better effort because I believe what I heard there at the conference.

Huger still, they handed out a paper containing a list of writing submission possibilities and their contact info and how much they pay. Unheard of? Not at Blog U.  

While learning all of this, I was also simultaneously treated to a perpetual dribble down the back of my throat throughout, the first signs that my cold was kicking in. I just thought I was allergic to Notre Dame. Or learning maybe. My stomach wasn’t quite in the mood for coffee provided by Baltimore Coffee and Tea, yet another place I was employed by so very long ago.

blog university on

The courses were highly informative as they know their stuff and kindly answered all of our questions. What was really awe-inspiring was the reiterated concept of supporting one another. If you can include and help your friends, why wouldn’t you? This conference was born out of these friendships for the idea of enabling others to make their own communities. And even though I really wasn’t a follower of any of the teachers, yet, I was very impressed by the intention and integrity of their mission.

Eddie's on Chas Street in Balto, MD from

I took a break before the prom in the evening to go back and relax at my hotel cell. I stopped by my favorite Eddie’s grocery store for my favorite picnic basket filler :  a roast beef sandwich, some organic cherries, Terra Chips, and a thank you card for the Blog U staff. And grabbed a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from next door for hotel wine-d down time. Which I enjoyed immensely as I sat there without underwear fiddling on my phone for a very very long time.

Nick Mom Prom from Blog U on

The prom was a hoot. My favorite gal was the little dynamo, Holly, on the right in the pouffy armed pink number. She was the energizer bunny on the dance floor. People had all sorts of retro gowns they’d gotten from Ebay. I had just gone to my local Goodwill and settled on a long not-so-flash-backy-thing that hid all my bodily sins so I was happy too. The DJ was stellar, although there certainly could have been more light on the dance floor (my husband does event lighting). A great time was had by all except the gal who fell out in the middle of the dance floor but ended up being OK. Perhaps all the candy, cupcakes, and coffee gave her a wicked sugar crash. I’m sticking with that story.

blog u collage from Saturday's events on shalavee-staging-1.local

So now is my opportunity to be inspired, delve into my writing, and pull out the good stuff to send off. And soon, I’ll tell you about how I’ve gotten involved in just the right challenge to inspire me for this task. Next post is my emotional wrap up.

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  1. Oh my God!!! You saw Baby Sideburns in real life???!!! Sooo jealous!…Now back to read the rest of the post. I stopped at Karen Alpert!

    1. Danielle,
      And I’m such a buffoon I had no idea who these women were or the kingdoms they’ve built. But they are really focused Mamas. And creative and funny and kind people. I’m glad you’re impressed.(I always want to say something before I read the rest of the post btw.)
      Thank you so much for being the friend who suggested I go.

  2. Hi Shalagh, I’ve just read both BlogU posts, really interesting! You look gorgeous up on the podium reading your post out in that picture!

    Sounds like you gained some interesting tips and motivation there, good luck moving forwards with it all! 🙂

    1. Vanessa-Jane,
      Thank you for saying so. I was shaking and my heart was thumping something horrible when I read my piece. And I actually would like to do public speaking someday. Ha. I do think the leg and the shoe peeking out from the podium in the first post do a lot for making me look together and professional. Or maybe that’s just outright sexy. As for tipds and motivation, they’re only as good as I allow them to be.

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