I know. I'm weird like that.
I was beside myself with excitement just being there. Even the thought of a potential bomb threat wasn't going to deter that.
To be honest, I mostly attended the conference to meet other bloggers. I don't know about any of my fellow bloggers out there, but I don't bump in to other bloggers often. Actually...I don't think I ever have. In fact, whilst having my tresses tended to on Friday, my hair stylist asked what I was up to on the weekend, and when I explained I was going to a blogging conference, you would have thought I'd just spoken to her in a foreign language. She had no idea what I was talking about.
So how great is it to be in a room with a bunch of people who really do get what you do and why? And don't roll their eyes and tsk tsk you when you're on Twitter? At a dinner table. Awesome.
The whole day was packed with some incredibly useful info, but it made me realise something: I don't think I'm blogging to create a sort of online business for myself or make money from blogging per se. I guess that's why I've never taken on advertising, and I don't spend any time wondering when is the best time to put up a blog post and gain the most readership. (Nor do I have the energy - or time - to do that sort of stuff.) I write a post and I post it, and I don't check my stats a lot. In fact, it's probably been at least a couple of weeks since I did. Who knows if all that will change in the future? But for the moment, I like writing, entertaining people, using my blog to help others if I can and connecting with people. The end.
Yes, I do giveaways, because when I like something I just want to share it and think it's great that one of my readers will get something for free! (What's wrong with that?) I review books because I've done that from day dot on my blog. Only a couple I've reviewed have been sent to me, the rest I bought myself. I just like reading, ok? I may talk about a product sent to me on occasion, but only because I really want to share something great with you. That's it. And whilst I've done blog hops in the past, I'm not obsessed in the slightest about upping my readership (my weekly 'grateful' post is a blog hop, but I do that to recall the good in each week). Sure, it'd be mind blowing if I logged on tomorrow and found I had 6,000 followers (ha!), but I don't lose sleep over that. At all. It's not my main aim here.
My main aim for this blog in the beginning, as I talked about in my live blog reading on the weekend, remains the same today. I didn't start my blog to set out a new career path for myself. I just wanted to write. I still want to do that. And yes - I want feedback for what I write, otherwise, I'd be writing all this stuff in a journal, wouldn't I? Exactly.
However, there are a number of positive things that have happened that I didn't expect from blogging.
Firstly, I've made friends. Not 'pretend/internet' friends, but 'real' ones that have gone from online to real. Especially these two:
|From left: Megan from Writing Out Loud, |
Naomi from Under the Yardarm and moi.
Secondly, I discovered that just like my sons' school, and my local church, the blogging world is a community. Truly, honestly - a real community. Supportive, encouraging, understanding, engaging and inspiring.
Thirdly, many other bloggers have experienced what I have: an unexpected new direction in their lives after taking up blogging. Some have discovered a love of photography by taking pics for their blogs. Some have found an inner artist. Many, like me, have found that through the positive reactions to their writing, they have found a new confidence and self belief which has enabled them to take chances and challenge themselves - personally as well as professionally. Isn't that a great thing?
Lastly, just listening to, and being in the presence of, so many wonderful, clever, amazing bloggers (loved meeting everyone I met, and disappointed I didn't meet ALL of you), it made me realise something. I know I'm channeling Jack Nicholson a little here when I say this, and it might sound a bit cliched and mushy too, but to all the other bloggers I saw on the weekend: you make me want to be a better blogger.
Honestly. You do.
We'll all take away something different from the weekend. Many of us will take away a lot of the same. At the end of the day, it's our own personal journey that matters. I know I'm now more certain of mine.
Thanks to the visionary brilliance of Brenda, we had our first conference. And because of the hard work of many others - especially Veronica, Karen, Tina, and Nicole, Brenda's vision became a reality. Just goes to show that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Presuming I'm still doing this blogging caper by then (because, who knows?), here's to the next one in 2012.
I'll be there.