Blogtacular: Lightening Bolts of Learning

(Thank you to Mollie Makes for all the wonderful photos in this post)

A few weeks ago, I spent a fairly life changing weekend in London. I'd booked my ticket for Blogtactular months before, but it wasn't until the last few weeks leading up to the conference that I realised quite what a big deal it was going to be...and I certainly wasn't wrong! I sort of felt like I'd walked in to a creative, technicolour tornado, with ideas, information and unbridled love and passion flying around my slightly bewildered head all day. It was the first time since finishing my art degree that I've been in the company of a whole room full of people who just get it!

It's taken me a few weeks to write this for a couple of reasons, one being that (as I briefly explained here) we have just moved house and haven't had the internet, but also because it's taken me this long to process everything and to digest all the information I collected on that whirlwind of a day. I'd like to share some of the main things I learned, and some of the fears I had that we're swiftly squashed by the positivity of the whole experience!

There were a few things that I became increasingly nervous about as the event drew nearer. Although I've been blogging now since 2010 (my first ever post is here if you're at all interested - I hope I've improved slightly since then) I've had a few big gaps, and it's only in the last few months that I've become more serious about it and started to imagine that writing could be a viable career for me. Because of this I convinced myself that everyone else would be established bloggers already making their blogs pay their wages. Of course this wasn't the case, there were plenty of people just starting out and I even managed to offer some guidance to a few people newer to the blogging game than me which was lovely. Also, it was great to spend some time with people who are already making a success out of blogging full time, or just on the brink of launching businesses as it helped to squash even smaller that little bit of self doubt that often creeps up on me.

Talking of self doubt, I've come across the phrase 'imposter syndrome' in the past, and it's definitely something that affects me. It definitely explains why I was on the escalator, wearing an interview-worthy grin but secretly thinking "perhaps I'll just go back to the hotel and come next year instead, after all I don't even really know what I'm going to say when people ask what I do and OH GOD I have no clue what SEO means and I'm not a real blogger and everyone is going to find out!" Turns out imposter syndrome affects everyone, including artist Lisa Congdon who gave the opening key note and who I sat in complete awe of and even cried a little at because she could have been talking about me! She also provided me with a concrete realisation as to why I love writing this so much (because I admit that to some people the idea of sharing pictures of the new plant pot you've just discovered you absolutely need seems completely pointless.) Lisa talked about the importance of connection, and how in the end it is at the core of happiness. You could have all the money and power in the world, but without connection, without love, without the things that make you curious, that spark joy (like that plant pot!) and that allow to you play, you'd be wobbling about on a two legged stool and I think we'd all agree that's not a good place to be!

Another defining moment for me was Laura Jane Williams' writing workshop. Right at the beginning of her talk she hit us with the revelation that 'Nobody Cares' - nobody really, truly cares what you write about, or how good your writing is, if they like it they'll keep reading and that's great, and if not - they don't care! While this is a little bit heartbreaking, it's also entirely liberating and gave me the feeling of complete licence to just keep writing what I love, and trusting that I can't please everyone. Another point that struck me was the notion that after something is written, it really isn't anything to do with you any more. Yes, you may have poured your heart and soul into it, but if somebody reads it and takes a different meaning from the one you intended, there's nothing you can do about that because it belongs to them now. I've heard this before, when authors are trying to find answers to questions from fans about elaborate theories that go deeper than the author ever intended them to go, but which have become just as important to the readers as the original story. It's like writing takes on a life of it's own after it's left the authors brain, and I think that's sort of magical.

I also met Allison Saddler at the creative genius bar, and basically tried to explain my entire life plan (or distinct lack of it) to her in 5 minutes! She was fantastic though, and talking things through with her made me realise I do have more of a plan that I realise, but it could definitely do with some tweaking. I spend a lot of time in my own head, and something I always realise after it's happened is how much clarity I get after I've spoken aloud to someone unbiased about the situation. After I'd stood on the escalator thinking "what do I say when someone asks me what I do?", I was quite surprised to hear semi-coherent sentences coming out of my mouth when asked that very question. The main problem I seem to have is wanting to do it all! I want to write, but I love sewing, I adore making things for children, but the wedding industry won't leave that little place in my brain where garlands and invitations are made. So, I've booked an appointment with Allison for a mentoring session at the end of the month, and I'm so excited to have a really selfish two hours talking about myself from a creative business perspective and hopefully coming up with a plan! I'm already flapping a bit...I will not get imposter syndrome. I. Will. Not. Maybe.

There will inevitably be a few more posts about this wonderful, inspiring, exhausting day to come, but for now I'll sum up like this...

I feared I'd be the only new blogger, and in the end I didn't feel that new to it at all. I worried I wasn't supposed to be there at all, but learned that it was just sneaky ol' imposter syndrome creeping up on me! I learned that it's no fun to sit on a three legged stool - we all need a bit of time to play! Nobody cares what you write and after you've written it it doesn't belong to you anyway! I have more of a plan than I realise, and this is really just the beginning.

P.S The goodie bag (which by the end of the day I had totally forgotten was still to come) is AMAZING - It was designed this year by Hello Dodo and Designosaur Yeah and packed full of lovely lovely things - more on that soon! 

No comments