“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.” — Sam Levinson, The Beauty of a Woman
Three years ago, when I was a blogging newbie, I decided to share a story from my experience with an eating disorder I was diagnosed with while modeling in Paris. I have no idea why it struck me that particular day, but it did, so I went with it.
The post, Does Dirt Have Calories? My Story, was longer than many pros suggest, but I believe all of our writing should be as long as it needs to be. And heck, I was sharing it because my gut said to, for cathartic reasons, I suppose, and because I figured a few people struggling with similar issues might read it and find a new glimmer of hope.
I was blown away when far more happened. For days, I received a steady stream of comments, emails and shout outs on social media. More importantly, I was connecting with writers, many of whom I consider friends today, and realized for the first time the power of this-thing-called-blogging.
Whether we pour our hearts out, let our goofy selves play or share wisdom, writing what we’re compelled to brings mega rewards.
We grow as writers, learn more about ourselves and befriend kick-ass, like-minded readers. The artistry that once brought fulfillment in solace evolves into connectedness as we build a community of mutual support. And we’re inspired to pay that all forward. I know many of you know what I mean! Successful blogging isn’t about “the numbers,” IMO, but authentically sharing and connecting, whether that’s with a few people, a few thousand or more.
As a thanks to folks who supported my story shortly after, I decided to host a blog fest celebrating real beauty. I wasn’t even sure how to host one (“Blog fests are a thing, right?”), but figured my best try couldn’t hurt. Again, I hoped a handful of bloggers would participate, yet many more did—poignantly, hilariously, masterfully. Thanks to hundreds of incredible writers and thousands of readers, BOAW has turned into an uplifting event I look forward to each year.
I suppose if there’s a moral to the story it’s this: Follow your enthusiasm, whether you feel skilled enough, confident enough, fill-in-the-blank enough or not. Gusto will not fail you, particularly when there are awesome people out there who likely share your interest. Why not let that spark evolve into a luminous flame? Uniting has that power, but only if we act on our inclinations. You veteran festers have taught me that. I’m so grateful for another chance to collaborate with you all next month!
I’m honored and excited to announce the 4th annual Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. WOO HOO!
Here’s how it works:
♥ Like last year, we’ll have two categories: Original, centering on beauty, however you define it, and Girl Boner, for exploring the beauty of female sexuality. While all posts will appear on the same day, they’ll be separated by category on the fest page.
♥ To participate as a blogger, register by posting a comment below indicating your desired category. Then write your post sometime before 2/23.
♥ Publish your post on your blog on Monday, 2/23 between 12am and 6am PST. If you’d like to schedule your post to publish in advance and aren’t sure how, find instructions via Wordpress here and Google/Blogger here.
♥ Make sure your post includes the logo for your category, and a link to the fest page: http://www.augustmclaughlin.com/boaw15/, inviting readers to stop by to participate!
♥ On 2/23, your name and post link will appear on the fest page at 8am PST. Anyone who stops by between then and 8pm March 1 will have chances to win awesome prizes by reading participants’ contributions, posting comments, sharing the fest and more. (It’s so fun!)
♥ Prize winners will be selected through a digital raffle on the fest page, and announced on my blog in early March. All prizes are valued at $50 or more, and include artwork, gift cards, a style consult, intimacy products and more!
A fun new twist!
This year, I’ve decided to celebrate women entrepreneurs—because, well, you’re spectacular! Toward that end, I’ve commissioned artwork from two gifted artists to offer as prizes, and for use in this year’s logos. (I almost hated adding text to their masterpieces. Fear not! If you win one, yours will be text-free.)
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE….
Thanks to Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson, here is our logo for the original category:
And here is our Girl Boner category logo, featuring the artistry of A’driane Nieves:
*SWOON* Aren’t they gorgeous? I hope you find them as inspiring as I do!
More on prizes:
In addition to these masterpieces, I’ll be giving away prizes from generous sponsors. Good Clean Love is contributing organic intimacy products, and Style by Rayne, has offered up a fab style consultation. I’ll also feature two participants on Girl Boner Radio, who will have the option of chatting with me on the air or having me read and discuss their post on their behalf.
If you’d like to sponsor a prize with a value of $50 or more, contact me by February 14. To donate a smaller prize, such as a book or smaller gift card, feel free to join up with others to create a goodie box!
Tips for bloggers:
- To ensure more reads, use a creative or otherwise interesting title.
- For more visibility on social media, include the hashtag #BOAW15 with your title.
- If you’re wondering if you’re eligible for the fest, the answer is YES. The fest is open to everyone, including guys, poets, visual artists and blogging newbies. The fest is a great way to expand your network of readers, no matter where you are on your journey—all while having a fab, inspiring time.
- Not sure what to write about? Consider these prompts:
What makes you feel beautiful? What’s helped you embrace your body/appearance as it is? What area are you still working on—or should you? What makes you feel sexy? What helped you embrace, rather than shame, your sexuality? What’s stopping you? How do you define real beauty or sex appeal? Who epitomizes beauty and sexiness, IYO? What advice would you give your younger self or a girl in your life about beauty and/or sexuality?
Participants’ names and posts will appear in the order you sign up on fest day. The sooner you sign up, the better!
Ready? Set? Sign…up! Simply post a comment below, letting me know which category you’d like to enter: Original or Girl Boner. And feel free to invite your friends! The more celebrants, the better, I say. :)
**For updates and tips along the way, RSVP via the Facebook event page—optional, but recommended!