The Best Moment, PHX Version

I love an ah-ha moment — it’s one of the main reasons I like attending and organizing events. Conferences are (hopefully) full of those moments during the day, the times that you perked up, laughed, understood something clearly, got a fantastic new idea, or really connected with someone.

I had a number of those moments at Press Publish Phoenix on Saturday. The one that sticks in my mind was when I was listening to Katherine Fritz speak in the opening session, and she said something about how her blog made her feel less alone. I empathized strongly and found myself nodding my head, and happened to see another attendee nodding too. Our eyes met as we nodded, and there was this great moment when we were connected, listening to a speaker talk about connection online… and it was really great. I even choked up just a little — because I am a big softie, in case you did not know — thinking about how blogging helped me feel less alone too, and how connected I felt right at that second with the person on stage and the people in the audience too.

What was your favorite moment at Press Publish Phoenix? Share it with us in the comments!

Press Publish Phoenix Logistics and Updates

Press Publish Phoenix is tomorrow, and we can’t wait to see you! Here’s a big long post with all sorts of handy logistical information. We’ll also send Phoenix attendees this info via email, tomorrow morning.

Before you leave home

The conference will be held at the Heard Museum at:

2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

You’re welcome to bring a laptop or other device, though computers are not required. If you plan to attend the workshops We will have staff in the Happiness Lounge available to give you one-on-one help with your blog, so bring your questions! We’ll also be selling WordPress-branded apparel and other items, accepting payment via cash or credit card.

We’ll have coffee and breakfast breads available at 8am, but if you’re a “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” kind of person, you’ll want to eat before you arrive to the event.

Getting to the conference

Directions to the Heard Museum can be found here:

Parking is free in the Heard Museum lot. The conference will be held in the Steele Auditorium.

Press Publish Phoenix Map

When you park, look for the signs that say Steele Auditorium or Dorrance Education Center (adjacent to the Steele). If you find yourself at the museum entrance, walk south past the cafe to the Steele Auditorium. Check in at the registration table out front of the Steele Auditorium.

What time should I be there?

Registration opens at 8am. You do not need to print out a ticket; just come to registration table at the entrance to the Steele Auditorium. You’ll see a sign that says Press Publish Registration, and that’s where you can sign in to pick up your welcome packet.

About those welcome packets… We made a mistake! The schedule in your welcome packet shows the wrong times for the Writing 201: Clinic and Design 201: CSS Basics workshops.

Design 201: CSS Basics will be held at 1:30pm, and Writing 201: Clinic will be held at 2:45pm. The online schedule is correct.

Opening remarks start at 8:50am and sessions will begin promptly at 9am. We’ll provide light morning snacks, coffee and tea all day, lunch at 11:30pm, and afternoon snacks starting at 2:30pm. When sessions end at 5pm, we’ll continue snack service for a social hour until 6pm so you can chat with your new friends and any of the speakers you wanted to meet.

The main program track of the conference will be held in the Steele Auditorium, with some hands-on writing and design workshops in the Encanto Room. You may move between tracks, but please be aware that due to the hands-on nature of these workshops, seating will be limited.

More details

Social media: The hashtag for the event is #presspublish, if you would like to post about what an amazing time you’re having. 🙂

Lunch topics: Sometimes it’s hard to know where to sit at a conference lunch if you’re not attending the event with a buddy (or even if you are)! At Press Publish, we’ll have signs on all the tables in the Plaza with suggested topics of conversation, like “New to Blogging,” “Themes,” and “SEO,” to name a few. Sit at a table displaying a lunch topic that interests you, chat with like-minded bloggers, and maybe even make a new friend!

Photo policy: For community-building and promotional purposes, there will be photographers and videographers at Press Publish. By attending the event, you consent to your image and voice being used in resulting photos or videos that may show your participation in Press Publish.

Code of Conduct: Automattic wants our community events to be truly enjoyable for everyone. The code of conduct for Press Publish is posted here: If you are subjected to unacceptable behavior, notice that someone else is being subject to unacceptable behavior, or have any other concerns, please notify a conference organizer as soon as possible.

Heard Museum Access: Press Publish Phoenix attendees have free access to the Heard Museum on the day of the conference, from 9:30-5pm. Just keep your blue lanyard on so the museum staff will know you’re part of Press Publish if you decide to visit the museum on Saturday.

Help us improve: We will send you an attendee survey on Sunday; please give us feedback on how we can make Press Publish better in the future!

We hope you find inspiration, learning, and camaraderie at Press Publish this weekend. Thanks for choosing to spend the day with us!

Meet the Crew (They’re Speaking, Too!)

Press Publish Phoenix is tomorrow, isn’t it great? Tonight we’ll hold an opening mixer for registered attendees from 5:30-7pm. Attendees can pick up their welcome packets, check in, and meet the amazing people who will be taking the stage and helping out on Saturday. Check your inbox; logistical info about the location of the opening mixer has been emailed to everyone registered for the Phoenix event!

We’ve introduced you to all the featured bloggers who’ll be speaking in Phoenix, and we wanted to introduce the rest of the folks you’ll see working and speaking at the event too. They’re all super friendly, so if there’s someone on this list you’d like to meet, please say hello and introduce yourself at the event!

The Theme Teachers

Themes and easily customizing your site is such a huge part of why people choose WordPress that of course we’d have speakers to talk about help you make the most of your site design. Kathryn Presner (Montréal) is a Happiness Engineer focused on helping people customize their themes. She’s a patient teacher, and in addition to speaking at a number of WordCamps, is involved with other organizations that help bridge the gap between being a blogger and being a site builder. She’ll be doing a short talk about Widgets in the first hour of the day, then leading all of our design workshops throughout the day — taking you through menus & widgets, CSS basics in the first three, followed by running an open CSS clinic to help troubleshoot common CSS display issues toward the end of the day.

Erick Hitter (Ventura) works at Automattic leading an outreach team focused on increasing WordPress adoption. Previous to that, he lead a team which developed customization tools for users to take our beautiful themes and make them their own. Erick’s an experienced speaker at WordCamps and a patient instructor. He’ll be teaching a design workshop on using the WordPress Customizer and helping Kathryn teach the other design workshops throughout the day, as well as giving a short talk on using Jetpack in the afternoon.

Lance Willett (Tuscon) has been with Automattic for five years now, leading the Theme Team for much of that time. He’s currently on a team focused on improving the quality of the experience. Raised in Mexico, Lance is an experienced conference speaker in English and Spanish. When he’s not helping out in the Happiness Lounge, Lance will be presenting a session about the recent changes to the design of the dashboard. He’ll also talk about Jetpack Manage, a new Jetpack feature which will be of interest to self-hosted bloggers.

The Shopkeeps

Got a question about a upgrade? Marjorie Asturias (Dallas) is a Happiness Engineer focused on helping people who use the Store. Before joining Automattic last year, Marjorie worked as a social media and content marketing consultant. She’s an experienced speaker who’s presented at technology and business conferences. Marjorie will be speaking in the morning about making money through your blog using ads, affiliates, and ecommerce; then in the afternoon, she’ll team up with Josepha Haden to present a session on search engine optimization, social media, and public relations.

Chris Lauzon (Ventura) leads the team of Happiness Engineers who help out with the Store and has worked for Automattic for two years. You’ll find him at the Happiness Lounge on Saturday. He’s incredibly friendly and patient, so don’t hesitate to ask him any WordPress question you’ve got. Chris is a self-described nerd who is currently obsessed with the new Star Wars trailer.

The Editors

Cheri Lucas Rowlands (Redwood City) has worked as a Story Wrangler on the editorial team for 3 years. She was Freshly Pressed a few times and got curious about who was handpicking the blogs for what was at that time the  home page, and ended up working here! Cheri helps teach Blogging U classes and works on a number of cool outreach and curation projects, helping bloggers meet their creative goals and calling attention to great WordPress bloggers. She’ll be leading two of our writing workshops and presenting a short session on how to get more readers on

Grace Park (Los Angeles) has worked as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic for 2 years now, helping people in the Forums and, more recently, supporting Blogging 101 students at Blogging U. Grace will be speaking in the morning about making the most of your Premium upgrade (don’t forget to activate yours if you haven’t already!) and  helping out with the writing workshops in the morning and afternoon. She’s a warm and confident speaker who loves helping people make the most of their blogs.

Happiness Engineers

Ash Rhodes (native to Phoenix!) works for Automattic as a Happiness Engineer, focused on helping people via the free Forums. Ash is an accomplished photographer and can answer domain/hosting questions better than anyone I know. He’ll be helping people in the Happiness Lounge nearly all day long as well as taking pictures of the event for us. If you notice him yawning a little, it’s because he’s got a newborn at home, so be gentle! 😉

With three years at Automattic under her belt, Karen Arnold (Albuquerque) has helped a lot of people with WordPress as a Happiness Engineer. Her current focus is on hiring more Happiness Engineers so that Automattic can provide exemplary service to the people who use She’s spoken at WordCamps all over the world, in both Spanish and English, and is an experienced WordCamp organizer to boot! How she does all this and still homeschools her 4 kids is beyond us, but we’re excited that Karen will be presenting a session on using the WordPress mobile apps — if anyone knows how to blog on the go, it’s her!

The Community Builders

Cami Kaos (Portland) works with volunteers all over the world in her role as a WordPress open source project community organizer, and has done so for the past two years that she’s worked for Automattic. She’s an experienced podcaster, blogger, and event organizer. Cami will be emceeing in the Steele Auditorium.

Josepha Haden (Kansas City) also works for Automattic as a community organizer for the WordPress open source project; before joining the company, she worked as a content management and social media consultant for ten years. Josepha will be presenting a short session on the less-known features of the WordPress editor and co-presenting with Marjorie Asturias with tips on how to do a fantastic job on your own SEO, social media, and public relations.

Ian Dunn (Seattle) develops and maintains the tools that the WordPress open source project’s community organizers use to create great events. He’s worked at Automattic for two years now, and he’ll be helping out at the Happiness Lounge all day on Saturday. Ian can help you with your questions about and self-hosted blogs; he loves to find solutions!

Jen Mylo (Portland) has been with Automattic for over six years now. In that time, she’s worked as the project manager and design lead for the WordPress open source project as well as, more recently, the community organizing and diversity lead for the open source project. This year she and Andrea Middleton have focused on launching Press Publish, a new event series for bloggers from Jen will be presenting a session after lunch on ways to post more often with less effort. You might also find her at registration and walking around the conference, making sure everything is running smoothly.

Andrea Middleton (Portland) has worked for Automattic for 4 years… Hey, that’s me! Most of my time in the past 4 years has been focused on working with volunteers for the WordPress open source project all over the world. This year, I’ve been working on launching this new event series called Press Publish, a blogging conference from I hope you like what we’ve put together for you! I’ll be at registration or buzzing around the conference space, keeping the trains running on time.

Whew, that’s a lot of people! I look forward to seeing you at tonight’s opening mixer (remember, details in your inbox) and tomorrow at the Heard Museum for a great weekend of inspiration, learning, and meeting new friends!

Phoenix Writing Clinic: What to Expect

As a story wrangler on the editorial team at Automattic, I read a lot of writing published on, discover new blogs and bloggers every day, and am always looking for great posts to feature on Freshly Pressed, The Daily Post, Hot Off the Press, Longreads, and our new, soon-to-launch destination site called Discover.

At Press Publish Phoenix, I’ll be leading a one-hour session called Writing 201: Clinic, where I’ll talk a bit about what makes a great post and what catches my eye, and then open up the discussion to conference attendees who have specific questions about their writing or would like feedback on a particular piece, whether previously published or not.

The bulk of this session focuses on sharing storytelling and self-editing tips and offering peer-to-peer feedback with one another, pulling from our own writing experiences as well as the ideas and techniques from our Writing 201: Finding Your Story workshop-style course on Blogging U. If you’re interested in attending this workshop, you’ll benefit the most if you come to the session with a draft in hand or in your dashboard — but please note that this isn’t mandatory, and all are free to attend, listen, and ask questions.

For those looking for concrete feedback, you’re welcome to share a piece of writing in advance and drop a post URL below in the comments section now. I’ll select a few examples that we can talk about together as a group. I’ll also have a piece or two on hand to discuss if the group is more interested in observing and talking about other examples of writing.

Looking forward to meeting you and chatting about writing!

Speaker Spotlight: Katherine Fritz

Katherine Fritz
Katherine Fritz

If we had high school yearbook-style titles for our featured blogger speakers, Katherine Fritz’s would be Most Likely To Succeed At Starting A Blog On A Whim To Tell A Story That Was Too Long For Facebook And Then Go Viral About A Month Later. It’s a coveted category, and Katherine pretty much owns it. She might have invented it, in fact. I’m 95% certain she created the Satirical Feminist Fashion Blog genre when she started ladypockets.

Stay on-trend with Ginsberg, Steinem, and Goodall by reading
Stay on-trend with Ginsberg, Steinem, and Goodall by reading

When asked in third grade what she wanted to be when she grew up, Katherine answered “a movie star or someone who puts the makeup on them.” Almost at the same time that she discovered she was (in her words) “a lousy actor,” Katherine also learned she was pretty great at costume design. When she graduated college with a double major in English and Theater, she received one of six internships with the Arden Theater Company, and went on to become an award-winning costume designer who lives and works in Philadelphia. Katherine is the only non-actor member of the Philadelphia Artists Collective, and she’s also worked as a guest lecturer at Temple University and an autism outreach instructor through Theatre Horizon. Somehow, in her completely-not-very-much-free-time, she also mentors high school and college costume designers.

Since Katherine inadvertently became a very popular blogger, her words have been published by the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and MTV Style. The New York Times also published a small piece of her writing as part of their “First Crush” series. She also finally told her mother about her blog.

Katherine will be flying in to Phoenix from Philly this week to speak at Press Publish on April 18. Her talk Also, My Blog Made Me Happy will include her love story with blogging and the blogging community. In the meantime, you can learn more about Katherine by reading the interview below:

Katherine FritzQ. What made you start blogging on I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog?

A. I wish I had a really impressive-sounding answer to that question — that I carefully thought about it and started a blog because I wanted to experience the world in a new way, or that I had a deep need to tell a certain story, or that I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and a creator. The truth is that I got really drunk, accidentally dyed my hair orange, and wanted to share the story with my friends… except it was too long to fit on Facebook, so I started a blog. In my kitchen, nursing a massive hangover, entirely on a whim. I still can’t believe that something that I thought about so little managed to completely change my life in such a significant way.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. Because I love it! Because there’s this deep place inside of me that just wants to experience and understand and process the world around me, and I love using this platform to start a conversation about the things in my life that I am experiencing. We’re also constantly evolving, us human beings, and I love having the freedom to experiment with format — to ask some tough questions or to talk about social justice, but also to share goofy doodles I’ve drawn, to try to make someone laugh, to trying my hand at satire.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

A. I have a few favorites! I feel proud of my work on “Race Ya,” an extremely popular and occasionally polarizing piece I wrote in response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri. I have this secret soft spot for a post called “I’ve Lost My Red Umbrella” — I was experimenting with form, and it’s really a simple little explanation of loss, but communicated entirely though pictures and metaphor. My all-time favorite has not been my most popular, but it’s the one that speaks to a very important part of me — a post I wrote called “For Reuben,” about the death of my friend Reuben Mitchell.

I just realized all of my favorite pieces aren’t the funny ones, which is interesting because those are my favorites to write, so let me include my first “Inner Monologues of the Urban Outfitters Models” post. I’m not usually so dopey as to admit that I crack myself up, but when I invented Mr. Chicken … it still makes me giggle. And obviously, Ladypockets is an entire category onto itself … Ruth Bader Ginsburg is still my favorite.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine? Do you edit a lot or not at all? Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

Katherine Fritz having a great time blogging.A. I’ve been experimenting with this for awhile, to be honest. At one point, I set myself to a strict “once-a-week at minimum” schedule, and I found that the quality of my writing diminishing when I was just trying to meet an artificial deadline. I really prefer sitting down to write because I have a point to make or a story to share. A friend recently told me that she stops everything when she sees my latest post in her email because she knows that if I’m posting something, it’ll be worth it — it was such a huge compliment, although frankly I think it’s gotten inside my head somewhat. I mean, that is a lot to live up to!

I try to edit as I go, and I revise constantly. Inevitably, I catch two typos in the moments immediately after I press ‘publish’ … the worst!

I do sometimes find it difficult to find time to blog — my other life as a costume designer and a teaching artist is extremely busy, and those are both jobs which require my full focus to be in the room with other people. On the other hand, I find that those parts of my life feed into my blog completely — there’s so much rich material to draw from.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I’m so fortunate in that most of my responses have been extremely, extraordinarily positive. So many women on the internet are not so fortunate, and I feel really lucky that I’ve never dealt with anything that comes close to a legitimate threat. Some of my readers are truly incredible people, and I’ve loved getting to feel like I know them intimately through the comments they leave on my blog. Every now and again, I can feel my ego getting a bit puffed up with all the love and admiration that is thrown my way, and it’s really useful sometimes to take all of that in, to smile and be grateful, and then let it all go and get back to work.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. On the advice of my friend Zach! He’s extremely funny and no longer has a blog, but it was hilarious while it lasted. I trust him with most things, and he definitely didn’t steer me wrong here.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Does it have to be just one? Because I can’t really pick between all of these: Relax. Breathe. Calm down. Enjoy the compliments and the attention, but don’t let it get to your head. Let go of your expectations. Trust yourself. Write. Write. Keep writing.

Speaker Spotlight: Russ Crandall

Russ Crandall, sitting on steps
Russ Crandall

Russ Crandall stays busy. He works full-time as an active-duty Russian translator and teacher for the US Navy. Every Tuesday he publishes a newly developed recipe on his award-winning blog The Domestic Man, which has a following of more than 64,000 people. He’s published two cookbooks and has a third coming out this summer. Plus, Russ is a regular contributor to Food and Wine magazine and was recently featured as a Yahoo Food Blogger of the Week.

Russ brings a candid but nuanced approach to food blogging, informed by his background in history and languages. He focuses on traditional, unprocessed, Paleo-friendly foods, and many of his recipes are inspired from cultures around the globe. Russ came to the Paleo movement after suffering a stroke at the age of 25 and then being diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disorder called Takayasu’s Arteritis in 2007. After three years of frustration with the continuous steroid and immunosuppressant therapies used to treat his condition, he happened upon an article about how this crazy new thing called the Paleo diet could reverse autoimmune symptoms. Since Russ started eating a Paleo-friendly diet, he’s been able to end steroid treatment and look forward to a long, healthy life.

The stunning photographs that Russ takes of his food also makes The Domestic Man a treat to read. He currently uses a Canon 6D with a 50mm lens, and the care he puts into his photography and the overall look of his site really shows.

We’re so excited that Russ was able to tear himself away from his home in Pensacola, Florida, to present How I Found My Voice at Press Publish Phoenix on April 18 (and you can still get a ticket!).  We know you won’t want to wait that long to know more about him, though, so here’s our traditional speaker spotlight interview with Russ:

Q. What made you start blogging on The Domestic Man?

A. My friends and I had started a blog in 2007 that focused on movie, music, and video game reviews.  It was a lot of fun, but we had outgrown the concept by 2010.  I still wanted to keep blogging, so I started up The Domestic Man to pursue one of my other passions: cooking at home.  It was pretty haphazard at first, but I changed my eating habits later that year to focus more on the burgeoning Paleo movement, and it was only then that I found my voice and direction.

Russ holding The Ancestral Table
Russ holding his first cookbook, The Ancestral Table

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. Initially, I used the blog as a way to keep me accountable.  I figured that if I publicly declared that I was trying a new way of eating, I was going to have to stick with it.  After a while, I realized that other people were actually reading and using my recipes, so I felt accountable to them, too.  At this point, I like to think of my blog as a service to my readers.  Many food bloggers and cookbook authors seem to eventually move away from the “dirty work” of developing recipes and shift to a more lifestyle-centered blog.  I made a decision early that I’d always focus on the food, and everything else would be a bonus.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

Russ Crandall's Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken
Russ Crandall’s Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken

A. It’s hard to only pick a few — I think I’m my own site’s biggest fan!  One dish in particular that I am really fond of is my Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe.  Initially, I tackled the concept of re-creating a Chinese-American classic with pretty low expectations; but once I made it, I was blown away at how easy and tasty it was.  My readership agreed, and it’s been such a great experience that I’m writing a cookbook on that very concept (Paleo Take Out, out this summer).

Another favorite post is this one called A Brief History Lesson: Beef Bourguignon.  In the post, I deconstruct the individual history of every ingredient used in the dish, to show the amazing amount of history in every bite we take.  It was a lot of effort to check all of my work, but it was totally worth it.

Tendergrass Farms, photographed by Russ Crandall
Tendergrass Farms, photographed by Russ Crandall

Lastly, I really enjoyed writing this post about visiting and staying at a local farm for a weekend.  I spent the time discussing not only how the farm operated, but really dug into some philosophical questions about the direction of our farming industry.  It was enlightening and fun to spend time to think a little more deeply about how the food we eat gets onto our dinner tables.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine? Do you edit a lot or not at all? Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

A. I’m active-duty Navy, so it is difficult to keep the blog afloat.  In my first year I realized that I couldn’t post more than one recipe a week, so I made that my self-imposed requirement.  It’s worked, because I haven’t missed a week since I started the rule in 2011!  I learned early on that I needed to batch-develop most of my recipes in order to keep up with that schedule.  So on the weekend I’ll develop and shoot several recipes, which I can then spread out over time.  That night I’ll usually process the photos (tweak their attributes and resize them). I won’t start the front-end of the recipe (the history behind the dish, variations, etc) until a few days before I publish it, and I like to go over it at least three times before hitting the “Publish” button.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I get all walks of life reading my blog, from the diehard Paleo eaters, to foodies looking to branch out, to harried parents just looking to put something on the table.  Each one responds differently, but I’ve found that despite blogging about food and diet (both very personal subjects), my commenters are really civil!  The feedback to my posts are mostly questions about the recipe – variations, clarification, or suggestions.  I love that, because it helps me tweak my recipe development and writing style.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. I played around with other blogging platforms first, but kept coming back to WordPress.  I love the simplicity and all-inclusive nature of platform – every tool I need is easy to find in a single source.  The social approach of WordPress is awesome too – from troubleshooting to sharing, I always feel like part of a community.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Quality is always more important than quantity.  It’s better to write one unforgettable post than ten mediocre posts!

Speaker Spotlight: Emily Austin

Do you ever wonder how successful bloggers became successful? Emily Austin of The Waiting ( started blogging in 2011, and by 2014 her blog had over 13,000 followers. In 2014, she was also selected as a BlogHer Voice of the Year and landed a job as a communications specialist for a local non-profit. Not bad, right? So how did she manage it?

Emily Austin with her daughter
Emily Austin with her daughter

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Emily is a gentle person who is funny, loves to write, and yearns for connection in a way that has served her well in her blogging career. When she writes about trying to blog, her daughter’s 8-month birthday, or finding your people, Emily does so with empathy, frankness, and humor. You get the feeling that she’s a lot like you; she’s got some thoughts, and she just happens to write them down and share them with you on the internet. Her blog happens to have over 14,000 subscribers, but her voice is as candid and personal as when she started 4 years ago.

In Phoenix on April 18, Emily will be speaking about how she built her blog’s community of followers in a session titled, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” It’s full of not-easy answers to the question of how she got to where she is today via blogging, and we’re pretty excited to share it with our attendees. (In/near Phoenix? Get your ticket!) To tide you over until then, here’s Emily in her own words:

A photo of Emily AustinQ. What made you start blogging on The Waiting?

A. I had planned on starting a blog during the summer of 2011. I was about to turn 30 and I realized that there were still a lot of fairly basic grown-up things that I was inept at. The blog was going to chronicle me learning how to type (and yes, I am a professional writer who does not possess by-the-book keyboarding skills. There’s hope for us all.), how to change a tire, and how insurance actually works. Then, right as this blog-that-never-would-be was starting to take shape in my mind, I found out I was having a baby. Obviously, since no one blogs about their family and people who cannot operate a Xerox machine without spraining their brains should *totally* make small people, I decided to throw my hat in the parenting blog ring.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. I’ve heard quite a few bloggers say that blogging is a lot cheaper than therapy, and this is totally the case for me. I need to write to retain what shred of sanity I still possess. It’s also a great way for me to chronicle my daughter’s development and my own decent into toddler madness.

Q. What are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

Picture of Emily Austin looking unenthusedA. The Reluctant Mommy Blogger is special to me because I wrote it out of pure frustration for being “just a mom” not only in my life but in my writing as well. The actual act of writing that post made me recognize the root of a lot of the malaise I was experiencing at the time. It also really struck a chord with other moms, so that was awesome.

I’ve also written a fair bit about my dad who died when I was in college, and I invariably love those posts. But my favorite is Meet Ed Pate, Salesman because it 100% celebrates who he was rather than the feelings of loss I associate with him.

Finally, I love this post that I wrote on my daughter’s first birthday. Reading it still makes me tear up a little. I seldom get all the words just right, but I think I got there with this one.

Q. Tell us a bit about your writing process: do you keep to a set routine?

A. When I was posting on The Waiting 2-3 times a week, I definitely had an organized routine, mostly because I was also a stay-at-home mom to a baby. I wrote when Cee slept, and luckily, she was a really good sleeper. Now that I’ve gone back to work full time and a significant portion of my job (and energy) is managing other blogs, my writing “routine” — if you want to call it that — basically consists of me writing until I fall asleep at the keyboard a couple times a week. Where I am right now, it’s more important for me to write a couple times a week than it is for me to actually post.

Q. Do you edit a lot or not at all?

A. It depends on the post. For the more cathartic, journal-y posts, I really only line edit and make sure there are no glaring errors, and I also make sure that I haven’t revealed anything so personal that it would violate the line of discretion I have around my family. I edit and polish the general parenting and humor posts a lot more heavily so I can cross-post them to websites and blogs other than The Waiting.

Q. Do you have trouble finding time to blog?

A. “Yes,” she types on her phone while making a lasagne and erecting a Duplo tower with her child.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. I am still absolutely astounded that anyone reads my blog at all, but I know better than to question it. I’m very blessed to be surrounded and supported by readers who run the gamut of parent and non-parent alike. Even though The Waiting is most easily categorized as a parenting blog, I like to think of it as a human-ing blog. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’re given, and I think that’s the chord my stuff strikes with folks.

Q. Why did you choose to blog with WordPress?

A. My husband suggested that I set my blog up on WordPress because, ahem, it’s easy to use and the tech support is great (I would need ease-of-use and support…a lot). Considering that he took me to see The Ring on our first date, it wasn’t the worst suggestion he’s ever made. I’ve stuck with WordPress over the years because the community of bloggers and readers I’ve found there are supportive and discerning. Everyone’s voice has validity.

Q. If you could go back to when you were getting started blogging and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A. Don’t ever hold back. The regret you’ll have for being completely candid pales in comparison to the regret you’ll have for never having written at all.

Press Publish Portland recap posts

We had such a great time at Press Publish Portland last Saturday, and it’s been amazing to read the recaps posted by our attendees. We’ve collected all we could find via Twitter and pingbacks so you can check out what Press Publish attendees (both in-person and via live stream) have to say about their experience at the event:

The Rebirth of a Blog

I Went to Press Publish and Got Way More Than a Lousy T-Shirt

#PressPublish Portland Conference Was TRANSFORMATIVE!!!

Press Publish Inspires My Music Practice

Delighted in the Desert- tours, tattoos, spa days and a blogging on-line conference

Lessons in Presentation Skills from… WordPress?!

Nurse Turned Blogger Celebrates Five Years

Press Publish Portland

From Press Publish to Voodoo Doughnuts

This little card of mine

11 Quick Lessons from Press Publish

A Weekend With Writing WordPressers

Press Publish (from one of our speakers!)

Press Publish || Grateful

Press Publish: Notes from a N00b

Inspiration and Giant Jellyfish at Press Publish

Blogging at Press Publish

Attended First WORDPRESS Blogging Conference

If We Were Having Coffee — storytelling! (About Friday night’s Longreads Story Mixer)

Press Publish Rock

If we missed your recap post, comment below and we’ll add it to the list!

The Best Moment, PDX Edition

Conferences are filled with so many great moments — that a-ha moment when a speaker says something that just clicks, the moment when you meet someone who shares your interests and goals, the moments (or moments!) when you suddenly are filled with a thousand great ideas for what to do next with your blog.

I had a few of those moments today! One of them was getting to see and catch up with speaker Ariel Meadow Stallings when she arrived. As we reminisced about our early blogging days in the 2000s, there were a lot of funny memories I got to relive. Another was at lunch at the table with Doctor Who as the discussion topic. It went from Doctor Who to companions to Fringe to acupuncture to privacy vs honesty in blogging, and a few other places that were just as interesting, with mostly people I’d never met before, so that was pretty fun. And getting to see someone’s face light up when they learned about a feature in WordPress that they hadn’t known about, but had been wishing existed, was awesome, as it always is.

Did you have a best moment today? Tell us in the comments!

Press Publish Portland: Saturday Logistics

Press Publish Portland weekend is finally here! Speakers have flown in from all over the country, and everything’s nearly ready for the first-ever blogging conference organized by It’s going to be so fun!

Saturday’s conference will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland (319 SW Pine Street), on the mezzanine level.

If you choose to park in the Embassy Suites parking garage, all-day parking vouchers can be picked up at the registration desk which will allow you to pay only $7 upon leaving the garage. There is a yellow Hertz sign at the entrance to the parking garage, and a sign with a large E higher up. The parking garage entrance is on 4th, mid-block before Pine.  The venue is also within walking distance of several bus and MAX lines if you’d like to take mass transit.

Registration will open at 8am. You do not need to print out a ticket; just come up to the mezzanine. To your left, you’ll see a sign that says Press Publish Registration (near the Queen Marie room), and that’s where you can sign in to pick up your welcome packet.

Opening remarks are at 8:50, and sessions will begin promptly at 9am. We’ll provide light morning snacks, coffee and tea all day, lunch at 12:30pm, and an afternoon snack around 4pm. When sessions end at 5pm, We’ll continue snack service for a social hour until 6pm so you can chat with your new friends and any of the speakers you wanted to meet.

We’ll have three tracks of amazing sessions for you! Refresh your memory of the schedule here:

Don’t forget to bring in your questions for the WordPress experts in the Happiness Lounge! They’ll be ready and waiting to help you level up your site. We’ll also have lots of great WordPress-branded apparel (for kids and adults!), mugs, phone cases, water bottles, battery packs, and more — all available to purchase via cash or credit card.

If you wish you had a nice-looking Gravatar like other people you’ve seen comment on this blog, tomorrow’s your chance! We’ll have staff photographers available to take a nice picture of you and help you connect it to Gravatar.

Need help? Event staff will be wearing blue Press Publish t-shirts. If you can’t find someone, you can call the phone number in your welcome packet. Press Publish’s code of conduct is here:

For community-building and promotional purposes, there will be photographers and videographers at Press Publish.  By attending the event, you consent to your image and voice being used in resulting photos or videos that may show your participation in Press Publish.

The hashtag for the event is #presspublish, if you would like to post about what an amazing time you’re having. 🙂

See you tomorrow!