I bet it was really lonely being creative a long time ago. Very rarely do you ever read about groups of great creative minds hanging out with one another, sharing ideas, critiquing each other’s work, or generally being a support system for one another. And as far as teaching their tips and tricks to younger creators to hone their skills – forget about it. In fact, most creators that we read about from years past seem to be lonely, angry, and kind of all curmudgeonly and shit. Hell, half these mofos died alone, or spent their free time hacking off body parts for no good reason…I’m looking at you Van Gogh, you creepy-ass dude.
Thankfully that’s not how things are today. I ain’t got time to be slicing off no body parts for inspiration; healthcare what it is and all. Now, writers/bloggers have any number of conferences to choose from, where at each and every one they claim to be able to teach you how to be successful, but not necessarily how to find your tribe. So, what do you do if these conferences don’t work for you? Or, what if you find your tribe, but don’t feel like these group settings are giving you what you need, or what your tribe needs in order to succeed? Well, as the saying goes, if the door won’t open, then build your own door….or something like that. I don’t know, I don’t do inspirational shtick.
That’s exactly what blogger/author Stephanie Giese did. Stephanie is the creator of the blog Binkies and Briefcases. She started her trip into blogging in 2010. Many of the big mom bloggers you see on Facebook right now started around that same time as well. Stephanie connected with a few of those ladies online, and they were connected with others, and so on and so on, and that’s how a tribe is formed.
Sometime between 2010 and 2013 Stephanie attended one (or more, I’m not sure) of the numerous blogging conferences that are out there designed for moms. While many of her friends were there, she came way feeling unfulfilled. Rather than brushing that feeling aside and hoping next year would be better, Stephanie had the idea, What if I got all my friends together and created my own conference? And in 2014, BlogU was born.
I talk a lot about BlogU as it is THE place I will always point back to for where everything all started for me. This conference means so much more to me than just a week get away to party with my creative friends – which is what a lot of these other conferences boil down to. BlogU is the place where I met so many of the amazing writers I know today. It’s where I got to meet one of my favorite people and writers, Jen Mann. It’s where I learned I could succeed in this writing game, and to believe in my content, and that I was good enough to be on the same stage as any other content creator out there, and I have Stephanie to thank for that.
A teacher by trade, Stephanie brought together some of the best and brightest ladies on the internet. These women are nothing short of amazing. You might think someone who knows the kinds of super successful women Stephanie knows, and the connections she had to make BlogU power-packed, might go to that person’s head, but not with Stephanie. She’s quiet, yet inviting, and as friendly as they come – even to the only guy who decided to attend a conference that was tailored towards women, and held at an all-womens college campus…that was me btw.
And don’t get me wrong, while I mention that Stephanie knows really successful women writers, she herself is on par with all of them. Stephanie has had several post that have gone so viral, they crashed her hosting site. One in particular was a great post about the difference in boys shorts and girls shorts offered in retail stores (specifically Target). That post literally BLEW UP, becoming one of Huffington Post’s most shared articles of the last decade. She’s been interviewed by the likes of the Today Show and Glenn Beck, been featured in several anthologies, AND written her own children’s book. To top it all off, Stephanie and her husband Eddie are about the cutest damn couple you’d ever be lucky enough to meet. It would gross you out if they weren’t so damn awesome, and their relationship that started way back in high school, with a cheesy joke from Eddie and quick kiss, is literally a love story…no, seriously, it is. Check it out here.
I admire Stephanie for a good many reasons. But, I very much admire her for her drive and vision to create BlogU. I think I can speak for many of the attendees when I say that Stephanie provided us with a space, our space. A space where we could find ourselves, support one another, and grow into the creators we always wanted to be. I will never be able to repay her for what she provided me, but I know she isn’t looking for that anyway. I just hope it can come close to enough when I say,
Stephanie, I admire you.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these: