Were you there at Blogtacular? Maybe you wanted to come but couldn't swing it this year? Maybe you thought it looked good, but you weren't pro enough, good enough, serious enough? Believe me, if you feel a pull to come, then you should be there. Maybe next year?
I came home with an amazing goodie bag, a list of friends-in-the-making, a to-do list to get on with as soon as possible and a notebook full of ideas to develop over the months to come. More importantly, I came away with a big smile on my face, a renewed sense of community and a boost in enthusiasm and passion.
I was nervous, and I certainly questioned whether I was somehow worthy enough to go. I got over that by writing the blog post linked below, catching up with other attendees online and spending time on my blog card design. I am quite shy, like a lot of people, especially in situations where I don't know anyone and the cards were a great help. I decided I could be brave enough to be the one asking to swap cards. I'm so glad I did! So many people said "I'm so glad you asked, I thought I'd end up taking them all home." And now I have a little stack of cards, that is really a little stack of memories. Looking through them now I get little flashbacks of faces and conversations. I'm hoping to stay in touch and next year there will be some familiar faces!
Plan for Blogtacular to take up the whole weekend. The Friday night dinner was well worth it, not just for the yummy noodles at Cha Cha Moon but for the chance to start a few conversations and meet some friendly faces for the next morning. I was lucky enough to sit near these fab bloggers:
and I got to chat to Marian at Knicker Elastic Fantastic whose Blogtacular Manifesto gave me courage and inspiration beforehand, and whose cards I threatened a tantrum over on Instagram. Another pre-conference event was the photowalk. Places were allocated by lottery and I wasn't lucky this time. On the up side, when they were facing a cold grey morning at 7.15, I was in my bed with a cup of tea.
Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge gave a fantastic keynote to start the day. She was generous and real and offered practical tips for rolling with the inevitable changes to our digital world, particularly our own fear when there is a shift. I filled pages and pages of notes, but as Mail Chimp are making her talk available for free soon, I will sum it up with the things that leapt out at me:
When a change has you running scared, identify the true fear underneath.
Choose to got with the flow and adapt to the change, or swim upstream and take a risk.
Find your true followers, don't worry so much about quantity.
There is room for us all.
There were twelve workshops organised into four sessions, so even those of us there on the day might want to take a peek at the virtual conference (that's where I think Grace's keynote will show up too).
Marte Marie Forsberg's continued the uplifting message that there is space for us all, and the universe expands with each idea (as well as the unsettling message from her mother that we should hurry and download those ideas before someone else grabs them). My notes from her talk are all about cycles of creativity: letting things marinate, accepting no barriers, accepting your ideas; and then the balance of getting down to work, persevering and being critical in a positive way.
Now at this point it was only lunch, with time to explore the beautiful venue, The Royal Institution, grab some lunch, chat to other bloggers and do a bit of shopping. I grabbed the perfect tiny clipboard for my little notebook from The Hambledon - don't laugh, I had just thought that morning that what I needed for the day was a tiny clipboard - perfect if you have to write for long without a table in Field Notes, Hobonichi notebooks or on loose Filofax personal-size paper. I also scored some constellation note cards and decorative tape from Lollipop Designs.
So let's both take a break, and I'll meet you back here in a couple of days for part 2!