I do have a post, currently titled Blogtacu-wow, brewing which is all about the day itself, the great bits, stuff about the sessions, who I met, what was in the goodie bags and the Friday’s photowalk and paper making party. But I didn’t write that one first and to publish it first would have been jumping ahead. I think to put that post into perspective, and really understand the effect that Blogtacular had, this post just has to come first.
But it isn’t short so here’s your go-grab-a-drink warning!!
When I signed up to Blogtacular I wasn’t expecting a ‘dry’ conference, like some of the HR/Employment law ones I’ve been to. Let’s face it the organisers, speakers and the attendees would never allow it. I expected to be motivated, learn more about the art that is blogging and be inspired by those who I met. I expected it to make me think about blogging and my blogs in ways I had’t before. I didn’t expect it to make me consider me – who I was, my place in the world and what I could it offer back. I know, dramatic or what?!
20 months into motherhood and my identity has flip-flopped around a hell of a lot. I went with my pack of business cards to give out that said I blogged here, Sew Healthy Sew Happy, but also announced me as being from Handmade by Holchester. Telling people about the business always makes me smile (on the inside at least so I don’t look too odd!) but when giving out the card I found myself explaining why they were both on there and looking back that is the first clue there was still some muddled thoughts about identity in there.
Artist, illustrator, and author Lisa Congdon gave the keynote speech and without putting too finer a point on it it really was one of the most moving talks I’ve been too. I absolutely wish I’d taken more notes from it but I was too captivated by her words and her spirit that often I simply forgot I had a pencil in my hand. (Fortunately I know others didn’t and they’ll be a recording so I know I can re-find some of what struck me so much.) Generally her open, honest and downright sensible approach, which we all know can be the hardest thing to have at times, really struck a chord. Her own ‘journey’ is fascinating and while on the surface could seem fairy-tale, Lisa made it clear that she hasn’t got everything figured out which was so refreshing. She’s developed, progressed, had moments of distinct self-realisation and is still searching for the ways to figure it all out and that was so reassuring and motivating. Life has a way of moving the goal posts so you have to adjust as it goes.
As a full-time mum and a start-up business owner I may, on paper, be in a very different place in my life to Lisa, but so much of how things made her feel I could instantly understand and identify with. But what was extra special was that there was an incredible sense in that room that I was not the only one – listening to Lisa’s words and have them take on unique new meanings for each of us was a fantastic shared experience to start the day with.
I didn’t realise at the time (I never seem to!), but Lisa’s talk really did set-up a new perspective for me when attending the other sessions and in talking to Allison Sadler and others. While my blogs and business are obviously an extension of me, I hadn’t really thought of them like that – I think I mentally kept them at arms length – and when I sat down to think about the main take-away points from each of the sessions what came up again and again was how they linked back to my sense of me and were all interrelated and interdependent.
One of Lisa’s key points was “If the answer isn’t ‘Hell yes!’ say no” and that is now hanging on a little sign above my desk. I got home and made a big plan for me and my business with milestone tabs and each one is a ‘Hell yes!’ project or achievement – nothing is a compromise because I might not be good enough. And that’s the other massive take-away from Blogtacular – everyone there had something to offer, and while we all might suffer from ‘vulnerability hangovers’ (a theory coined by Benee Brown that Lisa discussed) and general anxiety about our work, there is always support and someone that appreciates your contribution.
And without laying on the drama too thick given the past week of political, and emotional, turmoil we’ve faced here in the UK that principle reaches out even further.
So yeah. Between Lisa’s wise words, Alison Sadler’s great hugs and more wise words, and then Enid Hwang concluding keynote – “Your time and energy are your most precious resource” – I’ve been doing alot of thinking about me, my business, my blogs and there are changes on the horizon, all of which make me want to shout ‘Hell Yeah! (except when the toddler is napping , nothing should disturb that peace! ;op)
I need to get out my coloured pens, sticky tabs and big pieces of paper to figure out exactly how I’m going to implement them, and hubby is already worrying what that means he’ll have to do! I’ve got books to read, lists to make and boards to pin to but I can promise you they’re all for the better for me as me, me as a mum, me as a blogger and especially for you as a reader!
Finally, congrats to making it this far! Apologies if this seems a bit of an overly self-indulgent post but I can’t think of any other way of getting across just how much of a fundamental effect Blogtacular had on me. If you’re after a more informative post with more actual conference detail I promise you it’s on its way and won’t be long so do come back!