I’m headed to Press Publish, WordPress’ first-ever conference for bloggers at the Embassy Suites in Portland, Oregon. I’ll be speaking at three sessions on Saturday, March 28:
- Blogging for Obama (10:15 am) – I will share my B.L.O.G. mantra and how I began blogging for personal reasons and evolved into a social media leader for the White House.
- A Tale of Two Sites: A Case Study (10:45 am) – The session will be led by WordPress developer Michelle Langston, the chief web designer of my new and improved AnandaLeeke.com. Like many people, I had an older website in addition to my blog. Michelle will discuss how we worked together to combine my two sites into one that would truly express my personality and meet my online goals. I will chime in with the challenges I faced in creating the web content for my new site.
- From Blog to Book Panel Discussion (4:15 pm) – Andrea Middleton will moderate a panel of bloggers/published authors Mary Laura Philpott, Cecilia Gunther, Jerry Mahoney, Christine Lee, and myself. We’ll talk about how we came to publish books and how blogging influenced our journey to publication.
If you are unable to attend the conference, you’ll be able to watch the sessions in the Queen Marie and Fireside rooms via livestream (you’ll be able to see my sessions — just remember the time difference between the East and West Coasts). Click here to sign up for a free livestream ticket.
I have included a summary of my Blogging for Obama session below.
The session will start with a short introduction and a digital wellness exercise. Take a few moments to read my Press Publish Speaker Spotlight bio to learn more about me. The digital wellness exercise will focus on deep breathing. When you breathe intentionally and deeply, you invite yourself into the present moment. The more you breathe intentionally and deeply, the more open you become to PEACE. When you have PEACE, you are free to IMAGINE. Your imagination helps you DREAM. Your dreams help you CREATE and INSPIRE others in your blog and life.
Find a comfortable seated position in your chair. Come to the edge of your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. If you are wearing glasses or shoes, take them off to relax. Create hip width distance in between your legs. Take a deep breath through your nose and exhale it through your mouth. Notice how you feel. Now do it SEVEN more times. As you exhale, release or pause any thoughts or to do lists you carried with you into this moment. To learn more about creating a digital wellness plan, click here for tips.
B – Be yourself in your blogging process. Give yourself space to manage the fluctuation of your energy, focus, and passion with digital wellness. I define digital wellness as a gift you give yourself to help manage your time online with mindful self-care practices. Mindful self-care practices encourage you to slow down, become aware of how you spend your time online, and identify and take small steps towards having a healthier digital life. Examples include breathing exercises, journaling, massage, meditation, physical movement (walking, running, yoga, and aerobic classes), rest (naps and a good night’s sleep), setting time boundaries, and using time management tools (HootSuite, TweetDeck, and an editorial calendar) to schedule your blog and social media posts (excerpt from my book Digital Sisterhood: A Memoir of Fierce Living Online).
My blogging helped me connect with a diverse group of bloggers and social media influencers who discussed topics relevant to my novel and its characters. It also created an audience for my book before it was published. When my book was published, I started telling stories about my writing journey, the lessons I learned during the publishing process, background information about the novel’s characters, book readings, and radio and television interviews. These efforts led me to share stories about my life as an artist and yoga teacher. I ended up creating two different blogs and blog space on numerous online communities and social networking sites. That’s when trouble began. Blogger burnout. In 2008, I was overwhelmed by my self-made digital footprint. Following the advice of my life coach, I took a leave of absence from my blog. Stepping away from the blogging process helped me recharge. I also realized that I was in control of how much I blogged and it was okay to take breaks. So when blogger burnout happened again in 2011, I didn’t hesitate in taking a break. That same year, I decided to institute a monthly unplugging practice that turned into the Digital Sisterhood Unplugged (#DSUnplugged) Weekend.
- Creativity through a book blogging effort that produced my creative memoir, That Which Awakens Me.
- Women in social media which inspired a book blogging effort for my technology memoir that gave birth to the Digital Sisterhood Network, Digital Sisterhood Radio, and Digital Sisterhood Month.
- Social good initiatives like Macy’s Heart of Haiti Campaign. I became a Macy’s Heart of Haiti Campaign blogger ambassador in 2010 after learning about it during the Blogalicious Conference. A year later, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Fairwinds Trading, and Macy’s selected me to travel to Haiti. In 2012, I started working as an AARP blogger ambassador on caregiving issues and long-term care planning for women.