The 18th June almost seems like a lifetime ago now. Blogtacular, the conference for creatives and bloggers, a happy memory. I have already written about how to prepare for an event such a Blogtacular when you deal with anxiety like I do, but I have wanted to write about what I learned for a while I just haven’t been able to process it all in my already crowded brain. It’s not that I felt I didn’t learn anything, far from it. It was more I had a bit of reverse FOMO in that I felt I didn’t fully absorb everything or immerse myself in the day, and it is only now reading back over my notes I thought I would share what I learned from Blogtacular 2016 so here are my seven top tips for bloggers and creatives.
It’s ok to be scared
You can guarantee that you will not be the only one terrified in a room of bloggers. Scared that you don’t really belong because maybe you think you’re not a “real” blogger, or you’re not good enough. Being scared of the few hundred people I shared a room with on that Saturday in June is linked to my anxiety and feeling inferior to everyone, scared that my blog readership is barely a dot on a graph, yet there was nothing to be scared of. Every single person I met was delightful and many also said they felt scared and nervous, even the amazing speakers said they felt nervous which I felt was refreshingly honest. I did feel very uncomfortable trying to introduce myself to others due to lack of confidence but that’s more on my part that anything else. Next year I will do better!
I am enough
Being someone with acute anxiety (sorry, this is not meant to be a post about anxiety!) I often worry that I am not good enough or haven’t done a task good enough and at first, going to Blogtacular made me feel it even more. But in walked Lisa Congdon. Lisa was the opening keynote speaker and I have never felt so virtually hugged as I did when she spoke, I felt captivated. Here was a woman who came to her career late in life by means of a chance encounter, but who spoke with such authenticity and inspiration that the tone for the day was set. Lisa said that we measure our successes by how hard we work or how busy we are and it never feels enough. But we are enough and we must accept that.
Being on the Internet every day is hard work
In her keynote speech Lisa talked about how hard it can be to put yourself out there on the internet every day, showing up but not knowing who will respond. Facing competition and jealousy, we see our imperfections and differences are far more important than successes we have. But rather than measuring your success by how many likes you receive on Instagram, or a retweet on Twitter, focus on being real and showing other people what makes you real.
It’s ok to be a bit shit
Kirsty Smith’s workshop on Developing Content Ideas was both funny and inspiring and hearing someone tell you that it is ok to be a bit shit to start off with was rather reassuring. Kirsty continued to say that it is so important to write down all the ideas you have, even the dreadful ones, because you never know where they will take you (why hello there excuse to buy more pretty stationery for a list making session).
Give yourself time to think
Another nugget of inspiration from Kirsty was that you have to make time to think. Make an appointment with yourself to have an ideas meeting, and yes it’s totally fine if that ideas meeting happens at your local tea room with a big slice of cheesecake and a cold drink – just me? Once you have a big list of ideas pick one and take it with you for a while, take that idea into the garden, or out on a run with you, you might just turn that shit idea into a brilliant diamond. By giving an idea a thought process you are ready to write with enthusiasm which will come across to your reader, rather than forced writing. You have to love an idea before you can hit publish on a blog post.
Create an inspiring workspace
Whether you are a full time blogger or not, you need to feel inspired when you write and this came across from both Lisa and Kirsty. Kirsty in particular talked about the importance of an inspiring workspace and how you must work where you feel comfortable. For her it is the kitchen table, for others it might be the sofa, the bed, a dedicated office, the cupboard under the stairs or out of the house at a coffee shop. No matter where your inspiring place is, find what works for you and use it.
You don’t have to chase all. the. things.
The closing keynote speaker was Enid Hwang, Community Manager at Pinterest who was the sixth employee, and first woman to work at Pinterest when it first started in 2010. I did not really know the story behind Pinterest, but to hear Enid talk about how the first office was a tiny apartment and her desk was right next to the toilet (fun when working with five men) and thinking of the global success now was inspiring. Success stemmed from the determination and focus of the initial small team. In it’s infancy, Pinterest was shunned by investors who could not see the long term vision, but the team stayed true to their focus and vision and well, look at it now. Although by the end of the day I was feeling rather frazzled, hearing Enid talk about how it’s important to have a clearly defined goal and to stay focused on your vision, to make decisions based on that vision, and to be aware that jumping on a band wagon or chasing that shiny new thing is only wise if it’s true to your goals, reminded me that I perhaps need to refocus and clearly set out in my mind what I want for Butterfly Crafts.
So there you have it, my top seven things I learned from Blogtacular this year. The day overall was amazing, Kat and her team of assistants and helpers did a fantastic job. I have a background in events planning myself so I know what organising this kind of event involves but they pulled it off fantastically. The atmosphere was electric, the venue was perfect (even having an introvert area for when anxiety strikes), the catering was brilliant (oh my that flapjack!) and the community feeling was something I have never felt before. And then came the goodie bag, but this deserves a blog post all of it’s own so watch this space.
If you are a blogger and want to spend a day with a likeminded community, then I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Blogtacular 2017. If you want to read more about this year and what happened, check out more blog posts on the Blogtacular 2016 Pinterest Board, but if you do come along next year, be sure to find me and say hello, I promise to be less scared next year.
*All images (except The Girl Power Manifesto) are Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Will Ireland*