I was extremely grateful to Mr Smith this weekend for being a sport and having the kids ALL day so that I could attend my 1st blogging conference (because its not like I do it every day or anything). The 3 of them had a lovely day trashing the house, avoiding chores, swimming, movies and a big fat nap, whilst I had fun and wore myself out meeting other bloggers, learning some valuable skills and having some general banter with a room full of women (and a couple of men).
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a blogging event and I was slightly nervous about it all and how easily id fit into the flow of it all, I did hope id come away with some more technical knowledge, some new blogs to explore, some new pals in the blogging community and some tips and tricks of the trade and I was so thankful to have Esther at Inside out and about there to guide me through, chat to and laugh with.
I gained a lot from this day, but here’s the top 5 things I felt I learn’t
1. Bloggers are friendly folk – Although I was a little nervous everyone I met was so nice…there were times when Id just grab someone and say “Hi I loved your tweet today” or others when I’d be sat a table with “strangers” and everyone would just mingle. The one’s I felt really welcoming and some new blogging pals would be Katie from Life on Vista , Lorraine from The Uncheshire wife (she is a laugh), Tracey from williams world, Rachel from The ordianary Lovely, Jo from Not a fumpy Mum and Claire from Six degrees of harmony – Thank you so much for your warm welcomes and for guiding me through a few things! There were also lots of other friendly peeps and had a laughs with other bloggers, but these were the one’s that really made the effort to get to know me and my blog.
2. Bloggers are normal (Even the big ones) – I love to read other peoples blogs; especially other parenting ones, or ones that too write of infant loss. I love to get caught up in their lives and laugh with them, cry with them, admire outfits, home interiors or general banter and rants they post. I made a sneaky list from the attendance list on Twitter of bloggers I wanted to meet for various reasons and was pleased to find how normal they are and lovely too. The ones from my list (Im not a stalker ladies I promise) that I was pleased I got to meet were;
Jamie from The Olivers Madhouse
Erin from Yorkshire Tots
Jenny from Lets talk mommy
Hayley from Hayley at home
All lovely ladies, so very different but all writers of great blogs!
3. Photography tips – I found the Photography sess they ran quite helpful. Whilst a lot of it I had heard before its not until afterwards that I have really being thinking on it and taking it into account, there was some great advice, but I think the best thing she said was “What do you want from your pictures?”, are they personal? do they say something? do they tell a story? I’ve since being thinking way more about the pics I take. I don’t have a flash camera like a lot of other bloggers (Birthday pressie?) my pics are all taken on my phone. I think though with the right light, a little thought and some major editing you can create AMAZING shots. These are my 2 faves I took at the museum when we went off to put into practice the tips she had shared.
4. Technical stuff – I learnt some useful tips about google and the behind the scence’s of my blog. I was directed to some useful sites that would help me to refine the blog and look forward to putting this all into action.
5. For some bloggers its all about the PR – It was great to not only mix and mingle with some companies but also receive some very generous things from them all too (thank you)…
Of course I expected to have the opportunity to mix with companies and brands and yes perhaps have the occasionally opportunity to even market their products or have some family experiences with them to share on the blog, but I felt then this then ran over into almost EVERY session. I found the PR focus to be a little much and it seemed for many bloggers their focus was PR and money making. It was a little bit of a let down as it went beyond being helpful and I felt it lost focus of why we blog.
I just want to say that I blog because I want to share my story. Raise awareness, Help others. Its cheaper then therapy and its a documentation of our lives. Of course if there’s something I love, an adventure were asked to go on I will most definitely share it with you all.
I read blogs because I want to know i’m not alone in my parenting pursuits and challenges, I want to learn, I find it relaxing, I want to connect with others, I want inspiration in my life, but what do we gain from reading review after review? how is this helping us connect with the author? I find a product, location, whatever has way more impact to me as a reader when its here or there and you can certainly feel more passion for it. Yes as anyone, especially a blogger, its fun to work with companies, its great to have opportunities but lets not loose sight of the wonderful impact the chapters of our life can have on others.
Overall it was a fun day out, the result of a lot of hard work and was very beneficial. Its probably for the best that I didn’t meet too many more people because as well as the above mentioned, I now have a rather long list of new blogs I want to keep up on (thank goodness for bloglovin and twitter) and I will most certainly attend them in the future and look forward to when I do and seeing some now familiar faces. I have never tweeted or instagramed so much in my life and my arms ached with all of the goody bags, the food was tasty and the atmosphere one of excitement and laughter!
It so weird to think a year ago I was on the edge looking into this blogging community and here I am being read by all of you lovely folk, living life and sharing it with hundreds and getting my blog on at conferences!