If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that this weekend was Blogtacular. My second time at the conference, but such a different experience to the last. The format, the design, the goodie bags and the speakers were all very similar (exciting, motivating and inspiring, all in their own way) but the intensity and the nervousness had vanished.
Last year I sat with my notebook, scribbling like crazy to try and take in anything and everything that professional bloggers were willing to share. I took photos of slides, got involved with the arts and crafts and wandered around feeling like a deer in headlights. This time, things worked a little differently.
I made a few notes, took a couple of snaps but I spent more time thinking about my fellow bloggers in the room. Sure, I went to workshops and learnt a lot but I really took the time to be a bit more passive than last year. I let things wash over me as I thought about how it made me feel, how my blog made me feel, and what I wanted out of my blog long term.
I felt motivated but with a sense of calm, a sense of optimism and a sense of opportunity ahead of me. And even though the speakers were great (in fact, Grace Bonney and Marte Marie Forsberg were really great) it was the community of like-minded bloggers that was even better.
It’s difficult to summarise a somewhat overwhelming day like Blogtacular, but here goes… Three things I took from the speakers, and three new bloggers for your to check out.
The speakers, and the three things I will do:
- I attended two photography workshops (I think one would have sufficed) and learnt that lighting is everything. There will be no more artificial light in my photos, and I will be setting up a little photo corner in my living room to give my photos a more consistent style.
- The internet, social media and blogging is changing constantly. This isn’t news, but the way we promote our blogs and our content has changed dramatically in the last year. I will be spending time following trends and focusing on how to strategically keep my blog current and adaptable.
- Talk to other bloggers, be honest and share tips. Our friends are great, but they don’t always ‘get it’. It’s important to have a group of fellow bloggers that you can learn to trust and keep those creative juices flowing. I will be making an effort to keep in touch with some of the wonderful women I met yesterday, if only so we can go for tea and cake and wine and pizza and talk about all the things we bloggers love to talk about.
The bloggers, and the three blogs you should read:
- I met Jen and learnt about her blog, Inky Collective. Most of the people in the room write lifestyle blogs so it was really interesting to hear about Jen’s different approach and her hub of resources for people wondering how to take the next step with their craft. She seemed so focused and clear about her work, which was really inspiring. Plus, she also designs and hand-prints letterpress stationery so HELLO amazing job!
- Sarah from Little Beee was one of the few bloggers I met whose blog I was already familiar with. I first ‘met’ Little Beee online during a twitter chat, checked out her blog and became a real fan so it was a bit weird meeting her in real life! She is as lovely in person as she seems online, and I can’t quite believe she’s so new to blogging so go and check it out.
- Sabrina from Wolves in London was the first person I spoke to at Blogtacular. That moment when you walk into a huge room full of strangers is pretty daunting, but Sabrina was so approachable and funny that I instantly chilled out. Her lifestyle blog is mainly about garden design and London life and it’s refreshingly simple – as is her business card, which made me reassess my approach to that whole thing for future prints. Her simplicity is genius.
As corny as it sounds, being surrounded by ‘normal’ women was the most inspirational part of the whole day. We all turned to blogging when our lives took a turn and we weren’t really sure what to do with ourselves. We found an outlet online and in those early days, it really didn’t matter who read our words. Now, well, it still doesn’t really matter but it’s good to know that when you’re stressing over stats or wondering what the hell to write about (or whether to carry on writing at all) there are people around you going through the same thing. And some of them are stopping their day jobs and doing this thing full time, which is so unbelievably impressive.
So, thank you Blogtacular for helping me to put everything into perspective. It was great to just sit back, take it in and laugh with some ladies who just get it.