Only One More Year Until Blissdom ’11 – Part 2

photo by Secret Agent Mama

The sessions on writing at Blissdom were my favorite part. It was a remembering for me, to recall the whys and the hows of writing. Before the Wisdom Workshop on Writer’s Craft, my computer completely crashed, and I cried for my lack of hard copies, of poetry and of photographs and of music. I cried for all the preparation I’d done on a book and on the conference session I was within hours of leading.

Oh, but the space within a heart extends the chest. I have practices and roots and passions that won’t burn or be crunched into mechanical oblivion. So I met with Deb, Megan, and Arianne about our Writer’s Craft Wisdom Workshop, and I must say that it fed me heartily. I’ve let myself forget a little how it feels to talk about craft and language. I forgot how hot my face gets, and how I fall deep in love with the ones sharing in such conversation. I was shaken, but these women led me so gently that when workshop time came, I confidently entered a room with 20+ other amazing women, and we spoke of the things we love.

{photo bt Secret Agent Mama}

We asked each attendee to free-write, and I challenge any reader here to explore this topic next time you’re away from home. It was  “What I Left at Home,” and as women began to run their hands across scribbled paper, a few eyes welled up. A few had mascara hit their notepaper. It was good hard, a testimony to the power of writing it out, the power of story, and the power of WORD.

We talked about our Writer’s toolbox, so I made a tab for a few of those resources at the top of this screen, under Toolbox. Besides that, I have slept so little between then and now, and I had written so little in preparation that I don’t remember what all we discussed, which reminds me of one of my major points in the Content is Queen Session.

{photo by Secret Agent Mama. I love it because it looks like they shoved me in a water pitcher.}

There were a lot of people in that room. There was a platform, and there were lights shining and microphones and name tags and cameras. No big deal. I’m just saying that I hadn’t prepared myself for that. I was nervous. The notes I had passionely jotted to make do without my computer were in loopy scribbles I had to turn sideways to read.

The wonderful Deb led the conversation, and she asked a great question. I forget what it was. And as I was speaking, mid-word, pondering an intelligible response, I noticed the most amazing chandeliers overhead. I thought to myself, “Whoa. This place is so fancy. Look at how many lights – one, two, three … Who are all those people? Hey, there’s Deb. What do you want, Deb?” 

Thankfully, I caught Emily’s gorgeous brown eyes, and she directed all attention away from my completely public SPACE OUT MOMENT! Oh, she was amazing.

Later, I was encouraging attendees to be prepared. If you’re a writer, you have to write it down. Even if you have to pick up a stick and trace it in the dirt, even if you’re scribbing on pre-school crafts, write the thought down when you have it, or you’ll lose it. I got to use my space out moment as an example of what happens when you don’t have it written down. We all giggled and moved on.

The biggest topic we tackled was finding and maintaining an Authentic Voice in writing. I mentioned being writers who are honest and not self-conscious, writers who write often, and writers who live a real life away from the computer. Even out of my own mouth, I heard things that I need to put to practice. I’m grateful to the attendees for these lessons, to those who partnered with me in session (thankful to AlphaMom), and to those who made Blissdom happen. Thank you Thank you Thank you.


You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to photgraph your own back. Thank you, Mishi for this pic! Please note, also: everyone was wearing a boa. I’m not that cool.

About me


Reply February 11, 2010

love it. the recap. the writing. the tat.

thanks for being an authentic voice!

looking forward to honing mine. what a fun journey in.


Reply February 11, 2010

The stories from blissdom tug at my heart strings like when you were in high school and wanted to go somewhere all your friends were going and your Momma said no. I've never felt more like I was supposed to be hanging out with a bunch of strangers and wasn't there! Thanks for the recap and the continued encouragement for the beauty of the craft that is writing. Perhaps I won't be 7,500+ miles away from the next one!

Reply February 11, 2010

it's gorgeous! love seeing the final healed product. it's inspiring and looks so right. i hope you love it :) and so glad blissdom was incredible...loved reading about it. hope to see you soon!

Reply February 11, 2010

I was in the Content is Queen session and learned so much from it! My only regret is not making plans to come in earlier and attend the Writing Workshop. Thank you for honestly leading and sharing through your own authentic writing!

Reply February 11, 2010

Amber, the panel that you were on with Emily was so inspiring. I came home and couldn't stop talking/thinking about it. In the craziness I forgot how much writing as well as writers, inspire and challenge me. I forgot my passion for it and this workshop awakened it. I'm inspired and a tad scared :) Thank you.

Sara Sophia
Reply February 11, 2010

I want you to be in my house right now.
For Coff.Eeee.


So when's our next date?


Ashleigh (Heart and Home)
Reply February 11, 2010

Your space-out was most noticeable to you, sweet Amber, and made you all the more endearing, being the rest of us usually have space-outs once every five minutes.

Also, I first recognized you from behind on Thursday night, simply because of the tat and the picture you'd tweeted of it. Love, love, love it.

the scooper
Reply February 11, 2010

The peony is beautiful.

Reply February 11, 2010

some how I stumbled upon your blog. I'm glad I did.

"write the thought down when you have it or you will lose it" - so so true!

"writers who are honest and not self-conscious" - the self conscious part is the hard part for me. I've had a blog that thus far has been a journal to my children of our lives but I want to develop it into a letter to them so they know all about their Momma, the good, bad and not so pretty. I'm having a hard time turning the corner and opening my soul because I'm self conscious, because I know my audience.

A blog post of yours along with a comment made by Werethatfamily has encouraged me to take a step towards finding my authentic voice!

Secret Agent Mama
Reply February 11, 2010

I love how my camera captures you. In a water pail and all.

Reply February 11, 2010

the fact that you can sit on that platform and have coherent words come out of your mouth astounds me. i cannot speak in public. i admire those who do.

Reply February 12, 2010

Thank you, thank you for the writer's toolbox! A practical and inspiring resource. Thank you so much for sharing.

"If you’re a writer, you have to write it down." I have GOT to learn this. You know what would really help is if I kept a pad of paper and pen within arm's reach of the shower. All my best thinking/writing is done in there. :)

Reply February 12, 2010

i haven't forgotten your poem. i just ain't finished it yet.

To Think Is To Create
Reply February 12, 2010

You are so so special to me. Words fail.


Boy Crazy @claritychaos
Reply February 12, 2010

OOoh!! Love the tattoo. It turned out great. (But it's giving me the itch for another....!)

You know, I don't have much of a drive to go to Blogher, but after reading about Blissdom from you and Steph, I sort of want to go next year! We'll see. :)

Thanks for sharing. OH how I'd love to chat writing with you.

xo elizabeth

Reply February 16, 2010

Looks super exciting. Love your tat.

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