We’ve heard the same tune again and again over the past few several weeks, ever since the #HLS12 agenda was live on the summit site; shock and awe in finding Rachel Wilkerson’s name on the schedule. We didn’t want to turn a blind eye to the conversation happening on and off your blogs about the fact that this was happening. After all, if more than one person was talking about it, maybe there was more to the story than one might think. Rachel had no problem taking the route I’ve seen her take so often and face the chatter involving her name head on. Here she teaches how you, too, can be the last blogger anyone would expect to speak at the Healthy Living Summit.
If there is one thing healthy living bloggers love, it’s setting a goal, and today I’m here to tell you that being the last blogger anyone would ever expect to speak at the HLS is just as possible as PR-ing in that half-marathon! Here’s how you can achieve this distinguished title.
Start planning in 2010.
Start a health and fitness blog. Get to know other healthy living bloggers and start talking about how frustrated you are by what you see as a lot of problems with healthy living blogs. Some should be small (can we please knock it off with the emoticons, ladies?) and some should be big (OK, but you know this is disordered eating right?); just make sure that to you, all are worth discussing. Get together with some of your health blogger friends and start Hollaback Health, a blog that focuses on improving health blogging.
Get off to a rough start with Hollaback. You should care deeply about improving all blogs, no matter how many readers or sponsors or book deals a blogger has, but even though you personally don’t hate “popular” blogs and even if you aren’t on a mission to bring them all down, make sure the site gets a reputation for being very anti-”popular” blog. Piss off a lot of “big bloggers.”
Be aware of the Healthy Living Summit. Don’t see it as The Worst Conference Ever, but simply as a missed opportunity. Get annoyed because you feel strongly that when you have hundreds of healthy living bloggers together, you should probably talk about the serious issues in your community in between that morning run and cocktail hour. Tell your fellow Hollaback bloggers, “The only way I’d ever attend HLS is if they asked me to come as a speaker.”
Write one of the first community responses to the Marie Claire article. Get some respect from other bloggers who were skeptical of your intentions at first. Lose the respect of those who wanted you to be anti-everything.
Keep up your efforts through 2011.
Make every effort to bring a level of thoughtfulness, responsibility, and quality to healthy living blogs through Hollaback. Weather a lot of shitstorms. Despite the fact that you hate the phrase “everything in moderation,” try your best to remain fair and balanced in a community that often tends toward one of two extremes: fervently defending healthy living bloggers’ behavior, no matter how questionable it is, or virulently ripping every aspect of a blogger’s life to shreds just for sport.
Go for the gold in 2012.
Watch your fellow bloggers evolve. Watch them succeed. More often, watch them fail. Realize you don’t enjoy it when they do. Fail several times yourself. Get eaten alive. Look at your fellow bloggers and say, “We’ve probably been on the same side here for longer than we realized. We might as well stop fighting each other. Wanna be friends? OK, yeah, no…not friends. Want to be friendly…ish? Want to tolerate each other? Want to have a safe space where we can talk about blogging since we all kinda get what it’s like to be a blogger? Totes. Me too. You think if we all had a place to talk about this stuff before hitting publish, maybe we wouldn’t do such stupid crap that pisses off our readers? Yeah, I think so too. So…I know we’re still probably not going to read each other’s blogs, but want to agree to stop rolling our eyes at the very idea of each other? Cool. Because I think we’re all just TOO ENGAGED, MARRIED, AND PREGNANT to care about this petty stuff anymore, amiright?!?! To tolerating each other!”
Grow up, a lot.
Get an e-mail from Then Heather Said. Subject: The Strangest Question I’ve Ever Asked You. It will be an invite to speak at the HLS. Know that Heather understands your love-hate relationship with blogging better than anyone. Think about how much you bonded with Meghann during SXSW and how many great conversations you had about blogging. Know that Heather and Meghann would never ask you to take part in some faux-genuine, ass-kissy, health blogger circle jerk (or whatever the female equivalent of a circle jerk is). Debate whether you can afford it. Wonder what people will say. Know what people will say. Remember that no matter what you do, you’re never going to be enough for everyone. Dig out that old umbrella you have lying around from your Hollaback days and see if it’s still up for a good shitstorm. Consider what you want. Think of the opportunities to learn, teach, and network. Promise yourself that you won’t post a single picture of a bunch of bloggers standing around taking photos of all the food.
Respond to Heather, “Duh. I thought you’d never ask.”
August 2012: Be the last blogger anyone ever expected to speak at the HLS 2012.
Kinda makes running that half-marathon look easy, doesn’t it?