Lessons from BlogWest
I learned some amazing lessons this past weekend at the BlogWest2012 conference in Edmonton. Which is kind of funny, because in all honesty I had started wondering why on earth I was even attending a blog conference. I barely blog, I had picked up my tweeting again somewhat, but nothing like in my first couple of years on Twitter. I still loved the idea of blogging and being involved in social media, but I just had lost focus and drive. Or maybe I never had much focus or drive. Not fun to admit, but true.
I started blogging sometime after my second child turned one, seven-ish years ago. Unless my memory is failing me as usual, but it had to have been around then, because I know it was after maternity leave when I was back at work with a little too much time on my hands (shhh, don’t tell, I read blogs at work, lol) and I was doing a lot of blog reading and I was inspired to start my own. Plus when I wanted to comment on a few fave blogs they had that empty space to link to your blog and I mean obviously that meant I needed a blog link to fill in that big empty space, right?
Over the years I’ve changed blog names, learned how to actually use a self-hosted blog instead of the freebie versions, changed directions in life, added that third little boy to the mix and so much more. I found that blogging may not have lead me to the opportunities and financial gain it did to some people, but it really did change my life. It gave me a small creative outlet, it helped me socialize during weeks and months and years when I felt so limited spending most of my time alone with my kiddos. It encouraged me to learn new skills. Yet, I’ve always wanted something a little bit more from my blogging, I just couldn’t quite figure out what. I wasn’t worried (and still am not) about money or “fame”. I just wanted to have more direction and feel like my blog wasn’t so much a random running diary and had a bit more purpose or focus.
I went to BlogHer in Chicago in 2009, hoping to find direction there. It didn’t work, although Chicago was pretty, the cupcakes were delicious and the conference was dazzling. I was overwhelmed by it though actually, too many people for this small-town born girl and to me it seemed that so much of the event was about monetizing, swag and parties that I missed the point. Not to say it wasn’t in front of me, it probably was (I know the keynotes were definitely pretty awesome!) but I just wasn’t open to what was being offered.
This is all a very long way of getting to today’s point, which is how truly inspired I was by this lovely, smaller, local conference, BlogWest. The biggest lessons I took away with me as I drove back to my beautiful Spruce Grove were:
- How important WHY is. Why do I blog, why I am I using my precious free time for this, why do I want to reach out? I don’t have all my why’s answered this second, but I am working it out in my head and will be posting more about that in coming days/weeks. Can you believe I almost didn’t attend Style Guy Jared’s session? I can’t believe what a mistake it would have been for me to miss his amazing talk!
- I need more confidence. I need to recognize that as long as it’s important to me and I have a goal, it doesn’t matter how big my blog is or ever gets, it just matters that I value it, so I should be more proud of what I’m doing here. Thanks for the inspiration Julie!
- I need to try new things. Maybe I need to vlog, maybe I need to take more pictures, I don’t know for sure, but I do need to shake it up! Thanks for this mostly from Kim Page Gluckie’s session on “Getting Over The Fear of “Having Nothing To Say” – How To Blog Brilliantly When You Think You Can’t.”
- I need to take WAY better care of me. Deepika’s session on why the “Frazzled Can’t Produce” was so mind-opening for me!
- Bloggers are AMAZING and worth getting to know. I was in tears through the emotional closing keynote from the fascinating Tanis Miller. I was in awe of the event organizers (Felicia and Merry) and volunteers (so many!!) with their dedication, determination and drive to create a wonderful conference experience for the rest of us. I had great conversations with people like Laura, Ulla, Tamara, another Laura and Michelle and Sanja! Not to mention the many people whose cards I didn’t remember to grab or who were still in the learning stage and don’t have blogs for me to link to.
This post cannot truly encompass all the lessons I gained at BlogWest, but for me, it clearly was an amazing event that was worth every penny and minute of time, not to mention the stress of juggling with a last minute work project! I sure hope there is a BlogWest2013 for me to attend.
I would like to note that the BlogWestSponsors deserve some real appreciation – they make the event possible so thank you all!