Talk about being totally overloaded with so much super cool information that your brain actually buzzes!!!
I take it that’s what you get after attending your first ever Mumsnet Blogfest event!!!
My lovely pink notebook is freshly full and brimming with juicy snippets of all the fantastic information I managed to glean from the amazing hosts and presenters at this years Blogfest, and my pen is poised and Mac at the ready to start getting down to some serious blogging!!!
And considering that just days before the event, with my silly low self esteem and lack of confidence I had decided not to go (and was actually considering if I can cope with blogging at all – read here), all I can say is that I’m so glad I changed my mind at the last hour!!
It was rather a rude awakening on the Saturday morning mind you, with my train to Paddinton leaving at 06:22am!! But, with bleary eyes I managed to trudge in the darkness down to the platform to meet up with fellow bloggers, Aby and Em, who were both totally brilliant and looked out for me the entire day as I was so very nervous being a newbie blogger and a first timer to an event!
So, having been home a few days now and with a trip to Germany in the middle of the week, it’s taken me lots longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve had time to reflect on the event and have considered the top things I believe were beneficial to me and the main points I’ve taken away with me which I can now work on and develop further……
It pushed me out of my comfort zone!
I have always been a bit of a home bird.
Boring I know – but sadly true.
Throughout my entire life I’ve never really ventured into anything that pushes me into new and potentially awkward situations and places unless forced to.
To me, the norm is comfortable. It’s safe and it’s what I’m used to.
I never really tend to venture anywhere much, be that to drive to different towns, go on business trips etc. But this – made me get out of the house, away from behind the secrecy and safety of a computer screen and well and truly into the lions den so to speak!! And boy was I glad of this!
It opened up my eyes to the potential of the blogging world!
It explained to me the endless possibilities that blogging brings you. Whether you want to practice your writing style to become an author, a journalist or copy writer. So although this journey started out as a diary of my home life and of charting my babies as they grow through childhood, perhaps there are further opportunities that lay in wait?
It provided me with inspiration.
Tonnes of it!!
The speakers were tremendous. Renowned commentators, presenters, authors, comedians and directors; all of whom we have come to recognize and respect. With such a wealth of knowledge between them – there was really no doubt it would be any less than motivational I suppose!
Those I especially loved were Susie Boniface of Fleet Street Fox, Francesca Martinez for her courage and passion for life, Suzanne Moore’s witty, frank and plain speaking, Sarah Vine and Lucy Porter for her sheer comical brilliance!
It was also fabulous to hear from the greats of the blogging community. Tara Cain of Sticky Fingers, Lisa Jarmin of How to be a Domestic Disgrace and Charlotte Taylor of Write Like No-Ones Watching.
Personally – I would really love to have the option of attending a complete session actually run by the top bloggers. With plenty of Q&A time so we can quiz them about how we can reach the top spot too one day perhaps!!
It made me realise that I’m just like everyone else and we can all be who we want to be!
As I eluded to above, I was very dubious about attending Blogfest, not because of what it was, but because of who I am. But now on reflection, having plucked up the courage to attend, I am now content in the knowledge that I’m not alone. Many of the other lovely ladies I met were equally as full of anxieties as ai was. Many suffer from depression. Many have been through traumatic and heart wrenching moments – but there we were – all of us together – sharing these experience and feelings with one another. With strangers almost. but feeling all the more better for it. Almost like a form of relief and acceptance that I’m me – and that”s just fine!
It’s made me more determined to speak my mind.
Less scared to be controversial, outspoken and persuasive. As Suzanne Moore mentioned in her marvelous Think Bomb, you need to piss people off from time to time, because after all – you’ll never be liked by everyone!!
So with this insightful snippet of wisdom, why not say what you think occasionally. I won’t go out of my way to offend people obviously, but equally, I don’t want to keep quiet over topics I feel strongly about just for the fear of bearing the wrath of opposing views.
Maybe it’s time to get pushy and go out and actually ask for you want!
If you don’t ask you don’t get! Perhaps there is truth behind this after all. Especially when it comes to blogging and working with brands. Its no good just hiding behind the screen as I mentioned above, looking longingly at all your fellow bloggers reaping the rewards of their new brand alliances. Maybe its high time to go get them for myself too!!!
It’s presented me with a wealth of knowledge, and impelled a yearning for more.
I learnt so much over the course of that one day, but this was just the tip of the iceberg. It was an overview if you like. With the helpful headers its time now to look into each topic even further and take it to the next level.
It’s shown me I need to read more. Much more!!
To watch the news, to read up on the politics, not to shy away from the big issues or debates. To read and comment on as many other blogs as I can. To involve myself in discussions, and to learn more about topics totally alien to me. To seek other channels for inspiration.
It brought to my attention how pretty hardcore us women really are and can be!
From the tenacity of the elite journalists and authors, to the sheer determination and independence of those bloggers who turned up to the event as mums with babes in arms. I remember just sitting in my seat in front of the panel and recognising just how amazing us women actually are!
All of us!
And no, I really don’t mean to exclude you men – as you are totally fab too!
It shows it’s not always about how much you know – it’s about how much you want it and are willing to push for it!
I noticed and hugely admired how assertive, persuasive, influential and confident and self-assured, single minded (in nothing but a good way) the speakers all were. And one of things I loved to hear was from Confessions of a Domestic Disgrace when she said to just put yourself out there and pretend to be the person you want people to believe you to be. If you believe in yourself – others will believe in you too.
But most of all it has enabled me to make new friends!
From only a few months in to blogging – I started speaking far more frequently with a couple of other bloggers over twitter, and since that day – I’ve never looked back. We have a fantastically close knit group now of beautiful, talented bloggers, who I’ve found so inspirational and supportive along my blogging journey. It’s a bit like having a new family!!
So, from the very negative headspace I was in prior to attending the event, to where I was when I stepped out of that building (perhaps it was the Fevertree gin and tonics!!) I have a new outlook on my blogging life and I’m excited!!
I feel empowered!
I feel as though I actually might have more to give to the world after all!! That perhaps I have finally found something I enjoy immensely, and with some determination, hard work and a great deal of time and effort – perhaps I can make this work for me, maybe even be good at!!
So – why so much more than just a blogging conference? Well I’ll tell you why.
Because it’s taught me a whole lot more about me! To push myself further, to enjoy what I choose to do, and to love myself just that little bit more.
And to top the lots we even got given a fabulous goody bag!! Totally worth turning up again for next year eh!!