what a blogtacular weekend
Damn it's going to be tricky to sum up such an amazing day at Blogtacular last week into words but here goes! Be warned, it's a biggy. Might be worth popping the kettle on first 🙊.
Now if you saw my instagram post the day before you'll already know I suffered from a major anxiety attack, so much so, I nearly pulled out of going to Blogtacular all together. After a lot of tears, some amazing comments from a few very lovely people on instagram and some incredibly encouraging words (and cuddles) from my awesome husband, I managed to build up the courage to make it onto the train by taking it one step at a time, starting with a 4am alarm clock.
Making my way down to London via train meant I even managed to squeeze in a cheeky film as well as the usual rounds on social media. Perfect for distracting me from getting too nervous.
After a bit of breakfast, some mingling and meeting lots of new people it was time for the opening keynote by Lisa Congdon
Lisa is so amazingly honest and I for one found it incredibly refreshing. I quite literally had tears in my eyes after realising I'm not the only one who suffers from what she called a 'vulnerability hangover', after you've shared a piece of work or done something, you suffer from crippling doubts and anxiety. There are others who have the same self doubts, hell even those I admire and look up to have the same fears and lack of confidence that I do every now and then. What really resonated was how when asked 'how are you?" we (and by 'we', I mean me) use 'I'm really busy' as a badge of honour. But in reality, how can being so busy and burnt out, be a good thing and mean you're successful? This was the slap in the face I needed to help me realise I need to readdress my work/life balance and learn to take more time for myself and spending quality time with family and friends more often, as well as actually taking time out, just for me.
Lisa also helped me learn I need to allow myself to be empowered, that I am enough and it doesn't matter if I have a bad day or don't get many likes on my latest instagram post. To embrace wabi sabi, the beauty in the naturally imperfect world that we live in. That I don't have to take on every single request that comes my way just because I feel like I have to out of courtesy. If there's one piece of advice Lisa gave that will stick with me for a very long time, this is it...
After Lisa's keynote speech, we all broke off into smaller groups for 3 different workshops. I headed on over to hear Kirsty Smith aka eehbahmum talk about developing content ideas. So many useful tips for coming up with ideas in general and not just blog content. Realising no idea is a bad idea as who knows where that 'bad' idea will lead you.
Never did I ever think I would quote M C Hammer when it comes to business advice!
Kirsty even recommended taking time out each week away from everything just to think of new ideas, whether that be blog content, product ideas or hell, even ideas for a new tv show, will be invaluable. As Maya Angelou says, "You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."
Next up after lunch, I headed over to Sara Tasker's (aka Me & Orla) Phoneography session.
So many practical tips on how to get the best out of my phone, some I already knew and some I'm ashamed to admit I didn't. But more importantly advice on finding 'my style' and having that resonate through all photography and especially my instagram account.
One comment made during the session was 'You're only as good as your last nine instagram posts' and I'm not going to lie I scoffed at this, well at first anyway. After searching through instagram earlier this week and adding some of the new connections I made during the weekend, it hit me I was looking at lots of accounts and then deciding whether to follow, based on those first nine images. It's sounds overdramatic, but it is completely true.
After learning all about phoneography, I then swap my photography hat for my writing hat and popped along to a writing workshop run by Laura Jane Williams (aka Superlatively Rude).
Now that's a way to open a writing workshop! Now this might seem harsh but having this thought in the back of your head every time you write, helps you find your true voice as you're no longer trying to please anyone. It's impossible to please everyone. Writing has never come naturally to me, however with the tips and tricks set out by Laura I'm starting to find a passion for writing again and hopefully I'll be sharing a lot more with you in the future.
Last but not least came the closing keynote speech from Enid Hwang who is not only the community manager at Pinterest, she was their 6th ever and 1st female employee. Hearing how Pinterest started in a tiny flat in California with the entire tech industry ignoring the potential of a visual pinboard, but didn't let this deter their aspirations, was truly inspirational.
It's amazing to think in just 6 short years how Pinterest has now become a part of our daily lives. I mean who doesn't want a Pinterest board just for food disguised as other things. That being said, there are no overnight successes. It took a lot of hard work to make Pinterest what it is today and only through perseverance and instead of being defeated when their original audience of the tech industry weren't interested, they found the right audience who loved their product. Bloggers and creatives.
Blogtacular would never happen without the amazing Kat and Kelly. How they do it, I do not know but they have built not only an amazing event but a true community of like minded people who are incredibly supportive of each other. I for one cannot wait to see how Blogtacular evolves in the future. One thing for sure is that the future is definitely bright, especially their wardrobes! Oh and these guys definitely know how to do a goodie bag.
And while we're on the subject of the goodie bag, isn't she pretty...
Phew, that went a little longer than planned. If you've made it this far, congratulations! Simply put Blogtacular has not only taught me so much, I've also been on a bit of a personal and emotional journey at the same time, but more on that another time. I'm so proud to be part of such an amazing community and definitely recommend joining in next time if you get the chance..