Blogtacular – a blogging conference with creativity at its heart and soul; it was always going to be very very special wasn’t it? and it blew past all of my expectations in the most wonderful way.
On paper it sounds like a tall order, how do you put together a conference that works for bloggers from all sorts of different genres? But Kat and Kat clearly have superpowers, because the line up they put together was packed with people who all have one thing in common, regardless of what they blog about, and that is that they truly love what they do; and so do we.
The keynote speakers were all professional bloggers, and stunningly good public speakers, and while I write here as a hobby, I never once felt that I was being told that I had to do xyz to count as a real blogger, or that what I do and how I do it is in any way diminished because I’m not monetised to the hilt, or trying to use it as platform to launch my career as a supermodel/astronaut. Instead, they simply inspired.
From Joy Cho, whose drive and determination leaves you feeling a little breathless (and wondering what you were up to aged 12, when she was already starting her first enterprise); Will Taylor of Bright Bazaar who spoke about some of the leaps of faith he took to get to where he most wanted to be; and Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager, whose talk was brilliantly entertaining and has me wanting to run off to Skillshare to learn how to do everything!; to the Editors’ panel sharing their tips and tricks about how they put an article together and what they look for, and the wonderful Natalie Lue whose comment “You will have more ideas than time. This is OK” I should probably have made into a billboard to carry around with me for all the times I get frustrated that I have all these plans, and never seem to be able to catch a minute to get started on them.
And as for the workshops, well there wasn’t a single one I didn’t want to go to, and, unusually for a blogging conference, I didn’t hear anyone saying that they wished they’d been to one of the other sessions instead. Everyone seemed to be buzzing about the sessions they’d been to, which only made me wish I’d been able to go to that session too (more on which later – be careful what you wish for!).
I had an absolute blast on Xanthe Berkeley’s photo walk; 30 of us, armed with cameras and balloons, pottering around the really posh bit of London taking photos of anything and everything that caught our eye and bemusing and worrying the shop assistants and a car full of Her Majesty’s finest in equal measure. I’ve already flooded Instagram with some of my phone pictures, but these all came from the big camera, and I love them.
I want to arm Kitty with our old point and shoot and take the girls out for a photo walk now!
And if that wasn’t enough photos for one day I spent the next session listening to the lovely Ellie Tennant talk a little about interiors styling, and the reason why all the houses in magazines look rather similar only in different colours (hint: they are the same) before we were let loose in what was basically a fabulous prop shop to try out a few ideas of our own in miniature.
I could have played all afternoon it was that much fun, and over far too quickly. Looking back through my camera is fascinating though; I can really start to see how the composition progressed as we shot, adjusted, shot again, tweaked a bit more, and kept going until it was a bit of a speedy waddle down the corridor to the next session.
A session on branding, by the duo behind Mini Moderns, doesn’t sound like an obvious fit for someone who mostly writes a hobby blog about her children, but they fact that I came away from that session with a gazillion ideas and different things to think about is testament to that overarching sense that all that mattered was that we are passionate about our blogs, and want to make them the very best we can. I suspect you could have gone into that session as the marketing manager in charge of running a company blog and come away just as inspired.
And, and, if we can just leave the actual content behind for a minute – we were at the Royal Institution; where they have the Christmas lectures; stalwarts of my childhood and a tv series I eagerly look forward to each year. Only the greatest will power and the fact that I can’t remember where it is prevented me from bringing my chemistry molecule set to let my inner science geek have full reign!
(a corner of the Georgian room – ah so beautiful!)
Above all else there was a wonderful sense of community; community across genres, and ultimate aims and style. I met wonderful people I’d chattered to on Twitter, made a whole heap of new friends, and got to hang out (and block the stairs) with these lovely ladies!
I just don’t want it to be over.
And happily, plans are afoot on that score. Not only are the wonderful words “next year” being bandied about, but this year’s conference was filmed, with the intention of launching it as a virtual conference – so if you missed it, you can go, and I can have my very own Harry Potter moment, split myself every which way, and go to all the other sessions – I’ll see you there!