BlogPaws and Cat Writers’ Association Honors Leaves Me Speechless (almost)

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My first BlogPaws. I was accompanied by a flat version of my dogs, plus “Rover,” my cat stuffie stand-in.

In 2014, I attended my first BlogPaws conference. To say it changed my life might be an exaggeration, but I don’t think so.

At that event, I connected with folks who loved their pets, and loved to share their stories about them; these were my people.

I learned so much about blogging and social media that I was nearly full up with knowledge after the first day.

I met brands and established relationships that have grown through the years.

I became involved in the Cat Writers’ Association, and found myself welcomed into a group of instant friends.

Marci Kladnik -- president of the Cat Writers' Association -- and I sport cat glasses we made at the Cat Style Lounge by Hauspanther.

Marci Kladnik — president of the Cat Writers’ Association —and I sport cat glasses we made at the Cat Style Lounge by Hauspanther, a kitty haven of cool stuff found at every BlogPaws.

I won a year’s supply of Merrick dog food, which I donated to my local animal shelter.

I played with dogs, cats, ferrets and birds — and a capybara.

Here I am at BlogPaws 2014 with a capybara. I had always wanted to meet one. She was like a giant guinea pig. I was  in love.

Here I am at BlogPaws 2014 with a capybara. I had always wanted to meet one. She was like a giant guinea pig. I was in love.

And I was honored with a Nose-to-Nose award for best blog post, which made me feel like a real writer. It was a much-needed validation of my craft.

After I won a Nose-to-Nose Award in 2014, I was interviewed by Robert Semrow from Pet World Insider. I was so surprised that I won, that I have no memory of what I said.

After I won a Nose-to-Nose Award in 2014, I was interviewed by Robert Semrow from Pet World Insider. I was so surprised that I won that I have no memory of what I said.

All of the above is why I keep going back.

This year, there are even more reasons for attending my fourth BlogPaws / CWA conference.

Nose-to-Nose Award Finalist

Recently I learned that one of my blog posts was named a finalist for a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose award in the best written blog post category — the same category I won three years ago. Being named a finalist for a Nose-to-Nose award is like getting an Oscar nomination. Only better. Because it combines two of my passions: pets and writing. The story, Ketsishe Rose: A Mother’s Day Story, is about my grandmother, an original cat lady, who bequeathed to her descendents a deep kindness toward all creatures great and small. For the recognition to go to a story that illuminates the roots of my love for animals is especially meaningful.

6 Cat Writers’ Association Certificates of Excellence

Held concurrently with BlogPaws is the the annual Cat Writers’ Association conference and awards banquet. Each year their contest awards the coveted Muse Medallion to the best writers, photographers, artists and content creators about all things feline. This year, I am thrilled to be the recipient of no less than six Certificates of Excellence for writing about health and general care (My Cat Started Drooling So I Took Her to the ER Vet) and rescue and advocacy (A #ClearTheShelters Adoption Story), for two of my haiku (Attraction and Yoga), for one of my favorite photographs and even Elsa Clair’s purr-formance on the cat uneven bars. To receive a Certificate of Excellence means that a panel of my peers — writers, poets, photographers and more — reviewed my work and felt it exemplified the best in each category. The Muse goes to the entry with the highest score. I’ve never achieved that extreme honor, but I’m hoping this is the year.

Athena inspects CWA Awards of Excellence

Athena inspects CWA Awards of Excellence

I’m Speaking! Telling Tails: How to write and craft posts that attract, engage, and keep your audience coming back for more

Last year, I moderated a publishing panel for the CWA. This year, I’m speaking on my own on Friday, running an entire session devoted to sharing tips and tools that every author — whether they’re writing short stories, blog posts, or 140-character tweets — can use to create content that grabs readers and keeps them coming back. I will be talking about the entire content creation process, from coming up with tons of ideas, to the anatomy of a readable — and shareable — blog post, and the 5 Ts of writing engaging content. As special bonus, I’ll let everyone in on the secrets I’ve learned about the differences between what cat-loving and dog-loving audiences want to read.

Friends!

After attending three conferences, going to a fourth feels like a reunion, a gathering of people from across the globe whom I follow on social media, connect with via email and sometimes Skype, but only once a year can I hang out with groups of them in person. Many bring their pets, too, so I’ll get my fix of dogs and cats and birds and ferrets and rats and pigs and whoever else shows up with their people. Plus, I know I’ll meet new friends as well: bloggers, tweeters, writers, brand reps, speakers, vets, cat people and dog people and all around animal people.

Susan C. Willett and Belinda Jones at the Merrick Pet Care Booth BlogPaws 2016

People friends: Belinda Jones from the blog Bodie on the Road and I doing a song and dance routine.

Hanging out with one of my favorite terriers, the fabulous Mr. N. from Tenacious Little Terrier.

Dog friends: one of my favorite terriers, the fabulous Mr. N. from Tenacious Little Terrier.

Susan C. Willett and Sophie from Kitty Cat Chronicales

Cat friends: Snuggling sweet Sophie from Kitty Cat Chronicles.

I can’t wait.

Are you going to BlogPaws? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to catch up with you.



Posted in: Dog and Cat News

9 Comments on "BlogPaws and Cat Writers’ Association Honors Leaves Me Speechless (almost)"

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  1. meowmeowmans says:

    We’re so happy for you, and proud of you! Congratulations on your wealth of well-deserved honors!

  2. Carol Bryant says:

    What a great post and such honors, all well deserved. I look forward to seeing you soon!

  3. Paws up for all of the nominations. The head peep can’t wait to see you in Myrtle Beach!

  4. Sandy says:

    Congratulations!! Looking forward to hearing how Blogpaws went and how much fun you had : )

  5. Yes, I’m going! This will be my first time attending the BlogPaws conference and I’m so excited. Your post gave me a great overview of what to expect. Congratulations on all of your BlogPaws and Cat Writers’ Association honors and successes. I look forward to meeting you!

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