The Blogosphere

29 12 2013

Year’s end is a natural time to stop and look where I’ve been. I started my blog because I needed a place to express my creative voice, which is why I call it My Creative Journey. All journeys have twists and turns that lead us to unexpected places. My blogging journey is no exception.


It was last year on Huffington Post that I stumbled on a bloghop by a group of midlife women. I then found this group on Facebook, and in what was a bold move by me, asked to join. It was through this warm and accepting group of fabulous women that I became comfortable calling myself a writer.

More importantly, I developed new friends over the last year and I want to introduce you to some of them. Each has a unique and authentic voice that I admire.

Midlife Boulevard is a great group of women with a great website. It’s is run by friends, Sharon Greenthal of Empty House Full Mind  and Anne “Not a Super Mom” Parris.  I’m thrilled to be a part of this group and their monthly bloghops have both pushed and challenged my writing.

Generation Fabulous is now organized by Chloe Jeffreys, an OB/GYN nurse. My day job is at a woman’s specialty hospital; the challenges in today’s healthcare market are something we both care about. Her journey has taken her to Haiti this year and she brings her readers on her life journey at Chloe of the Mountain.  

Another group that I discovered and now write for is Better After 50 (BA50). This is yet another group of powerful women writers. Their tagline is real women, real stories.

It was because of the connections to these groups that I went to BlogHer in Chicago this summer to meet my new friends IRL. I roomed with someone I had never met and only knew through blogging. Virginia Sullivan and I became instant BFFs. Virginia can be found at First Class Woman.  She writes from the point of view of being a professional woman in corporate world.  I know we have something that we are going to do together in the future; we’re not sure what it’s going to be, but look out when it happens!!

I have several friends who have health blogs and the following three have all been nominated for a prestigious award, the Wego Health Activist Award. Check them out (the award link is on their name) and give them a vote.

Cathy Chester is one of the kindest women I’ve ever met. An Empowered Spirit is about life and about living with MS. Her sweet spirit shines through her words in every post.

Ruth Curran writes Cranium Crunches.  It’s about keeping your brain active and in shape. She was inspired by my post on New Orleans as a way to keep your senses fully engaged.

Walker Thornton is another fascinating writer I’ve come to know who writes about sex at The Diva of Dating. I admire how she puts her life’s experience out to the world over a subject she believes all women should embrace and enjoy fully.

Lois Alter Mark is another new friend. She just won Blogger Idol, Woot! Midlife at the Oasis always brings a smile to my face. (She also went with Oprah to Australia—how cool is that.)

I’ve become friends with women who live far away from my little Louisiana world. I enjoy the words of Karen and Wendy Irving, sisters who share writing duties at After the Kids Leave. One sister lives in Canada and the other one in England.

Amanda Fox of The Fur Flies is another Canadian with whom I’ve connected through the blogosphere. While we live miles apart, we share a similar sense of humor and have discovered unexpected similarities.

I made an instant friend at BlogHer from New Orleans, Cheryl at A Pleasant House. I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting Cheryl’s beautiful and very pleasant house. I know my love of New Orleans and cocktails will bring us on adventures in the near future.

I love when synchronicity happens. While I’ve developed friends near and far from blogging, it’s the two women in my own backyard that have been the best gifts this year.

Lisa Froman and Melinda Walsh and I have all had similar career paths, are close to the same age, live in the same town—where all of us advertising types know each other. And even though we have many of the same friends, we somehow didn’t know each other. It was the blogosphere that connected us in a way that our careers never did. We now don’t let many weeks go by without getting together (and we are overdue).

Lisa has written an insightful book, Tao Flashes. Her blog is a continuation of the book’s insights.  She looks at the Tao through the eyes of midlife and writes of how to bring the Tao’s age-old lessons into our lives. We even guest blogged on each other’s sites.

Melinda is a storyteller and her blog is how we are in charge of our own story.  It’s called Love Applied and if you go to her blog you can see the pictures from her recent wedding!

I’ve made so many blog friends this year that this post would go on for days if I listed them all. I look forward to where this journey will take me in the New Year. One thing for sure is that there will be unexpected twists in this journey that will lead to new adventures that will lead to new stories to tell.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.

Adventures From BlogHer; Chapter 1

31 07 2013

BlogHer, the world’s largest blogging conference for women was a remarkable event to be a part of. 5000 bloggers there equaled 93 million followers and Midlife Bloggers was among the most mentioned topics.  I kept trying to be profound while attempting to write this and then I’d just start laughing thinking about all the adventures I had. I started writing and then kept writing. This post got real long, it’s turned into a novella, so I’ve decided to break it down into three chapters. I learned blogs shouldn’t be as long as a novella. This is Chapter 1 of 3. 

Business Cards are big at BlogHer. You start handing them out to everyone you encounter from the moment you step off the plane.

Business Cards are big at BlogHer. You start handing them out to everyone you encounter from the moment you step off the plane.

Thursday’s Adventures
I started blogging last summer. A few women I sincerely respect told me I needed to go to BlogHer.  I saw some buzz on the Generation Fabulous  Facebook page and decided on the last day of the early bird special in January to sign up. Virginia Sullivan, First Class Woman and I had met in the virtual world and only know each other through this fabulous blogging group we’re a part of. (I learned that’s how you introduce yourself at BlogHer; your name, your blog name and a very quick sentence that says everything about who you are and then you hand out your card.) We were both looking for roomies.  Two other women decided not to attend after agreeing to room with me, so the universe kindly put Virginia and I together.

I wasn’t concerned with rooming with someone I didn’t know. She was from wine country, so I figured, hey, I bet she’ll at least have a glass of wine with me.  We arrived at the hotel within 30 minutes of each other and immediately agreed to get out and walk Chicago on that beautiful, cool day. It was my first visit to the windy city and it is beautiful. Our hotel was within sight of the blue waters of Lake Michigan. We found an outdoor café and by the end of lunch we had become instant friends. We’re both extroverts, view life from the same lens, are the same age, empty nesters, happy in our lives, we’ve been blogging around the same amount of time, both have corporate day jobs and were newbies at BlogHer. And yes, she liked that occasional glass of wine too.

After a brief adventure of “where did Connie lose her glasses”, we made it over to the exhibit hall, which was Brand Mecca, all the vendors wanting to be in fellowship with you. All had fun, clever ways to interact, sample their product, tweet their message out and were eager to have real conversations with you.

Before and after eating a Snickers bar.

Before and after eating a Snickers bar.

Virginia and I are both talkers.  We whispered to each other as we walked past the AARP booth that we were a bit in denial about the age thing and that we put their direct mail in the trash. We couldn’t help ourselves and started talking to them anyway, we even confessed our ageist attitude. They laughed and said everyone throws their mail away. But they weren’t only about people in retirement homes; they were also for working women like us who had to care for those parents. It made me look at them differently, and next time I may actually open their mail. This was a turning point for me about this exhibit hall. It was about connections; just like what all of us bloggers are trying to do. Connecting to others in a real, authentic way, not just grabbing Snickers at their booth, which BTW was yummy.

That evening was the “non-event” event that all the GenFab women who were attending had set aside to meet each other. We packed the bar. It was great to see faces light up when recognition struck. We hugged, we talked, we laughed. I was a little jealous of someone who had just been interviewed by a dominatrix (who was not a GenFabber).

Virginia’s BFF status was sealed when she came back looking a little dusty from the ladies room. Apparently the lock had broken and she had gotten stuck in the stall. The only other person in the restroom was a young woman whose only help was to say that she wouldn’t Instagram her crawling out of the stall.

So ended my first day in Chicago, hours past my bedtime.

Blogher b cardClick here for Adventures From BlogHer; Chapter 2 

Click here for Adventures From BlogHer; Chapter 3 

Hi, I’m Connie McLeod of My Creative Journey, I write about my creative life.  If you like my adventures I’d love for you to follow me. I promise no spam. Here’s my card (imagine I’m shaking your hand). 

I’m proud to be a GenFab blogger!