A huge perk of the blogging world is the relationships we writers form with each other. In the realm of online friendships, writers tend to jump quickly from “first base.” If we feel a connection, we may transition within weeks from commenting on each other’s blogs, to becoming Facebook friends on our personal pages, to writing private messages on Facebook or Twitter, to exchanging long and personal emails and maybe even texts. Texts with their ease, intimacy, and shorthand are like going all the way as far as online friendships go.

If texts are the home run, then meeting in person is like . . . I don’t know. This analogy is getting silly. But meeting in person is a big deal. It’s usually fantastic because it’s like having a long awaited get together with not only a friend, but a colleague who can understand this strange and ever-changing writing arena we bloggers love and sometimes don’t love depending on the day.

In the 4.5 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve only been to one blog conference, which was a local, one-day affair. It was fun, but I haven’t had the experience of bigger gatherings like BlogHer or other conferences with the rumored all-night parties and gabfests. I considered going to BlogHer this year (because yeah, I’d be up for some of the aforementioned parties with my fellow bloggers), but since I’m going on a 10-day women’s trip to Israel in the fall, the money and hours dedicated to “me time” on the road are used up and then some for 2015.

For one reason or another it’s just never worked out for me to attend a big blogging conference, which means the best chance for me to meet other bloggers is when people call me if they’re coming to Minneapolis or if I set up meetings ahead of time in the rare instances when I leave the state.

All of this is on my mind because a long-time blogging friend of mine, Atlanta-based Allie Smith, is on her 6th

Meeting Allie from thelatchkeymom.com while she and her family made a stop in Minneapolis on their road trip.

Meeting Allie from thelatchkeymom.com while she and her family made a stop in Minneapolis.

annual cross country road trip with her four children. This year they were making a stop in Minneapolis and you better believe I made sure to arrange my day around seeing her, even if just for a quick visit.

Here’s what I LOVE about meeting my writing friends in person: These women know me, and I know them. (And yes, every writing friend I’ve met so far in person has been a woman.) I realize we don’t know everything about each other, but the fact that we coexist in this  universe of blogging that we’ve figured out together along the way has been hugely bonding, even if we’re only meeting in person for the first time.

My meeting with Allie went much like other such get togethers I’ve had in the past. We were not terribly dressed up (because real life is not the same as a conference and certainly not the same as our touched up avatars). I was meeting a friend for a walk after my time with Allie, and honestly my summer days are so jam-packed that I didn’t have time to worry about changing clothes or futzing with my air-dried hair if I wanted to get my kids to camp and get to Allie’s hotel on time. And I love that I did not care. Allie and I have exchanged emails about insecurities about our careers and other personal things that matter so much more than our hair.

The other thing that went so well was the way we were able to plop down on a bench together while watching her kids climb through an indoor maze thingy and start talking as if we’d met 1000 times already. Because in a way, we have “met” many times before, on our blogs and through our other online communications. We didn’t have a lot of time, so we cut right to the chase. No small talk. We got real immediately and just talked. It was just what I needed, and I hope it filled her up a bit, too.

Every time I question the time and energy I’ve put into blogging, I realize that the connections I’ve made have enriched my life tremendously. My favorite part of blogging is without a doubt the other bloggers I’ve come to consider real friends. Even if there’s always a screen between us, I cherish those relationships. And if we can actually meet in person? Even better! If you’re coming to Minneapolis, let me know! I will bend over backwards to relish 30 minutes of your time.

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Nina Badzin is a freelance writer, an advice columnist at The HerStories Project, a book reviewer at greatnewbooks.org, and a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.