1. If you had to get to Blog Camp through the back of a wardrobe it would make perfect sense. Even though I spent half the train ride reminding myself that I wasn’t going to work, even though The Studio is somewhere I walk past every day, even though it spent half the day softly raining in a very pedestrian sort of way, even then there is a certain magic in being in the company of a lot of other bloggers.
2. The most fascinating thing about hearing from a panel of four bloggers who all contribute to or run collective blogs is how different they all are. Whether it was the set up, the decision making process, or the long term plan, no one was doing it the same. There are always many different routes to success and it was fun seeing them laid out like that.
3. I love creative writing workshops. To the point that if someone ever ran a conference that was all writing workshops for bloggers I would be there in a flash (if they do and I don’t know about it, I beg you tell me!). Challenged to describe a moment by focusing in on the sounds, right down to the sounds that you can’t really hear, was a great way to break away from the way that I usually write, and having to write fast means that you can’t really stop to overthink it – something I’m probably guilty of more times than is ever a good idea.
4. Top tip from the writing session: Edit. Read back through your writing and take out not only every sentence that doesn’t advance the story, but every word. You just don’t need to know that I was writing notes with a purple pen on Saturday because when I got to the station I realised that the children had ransacked my bag and I didn’t have one. Although if I’m being very facetious I’d say it adds colour!
5. For the first time in just about forever I didn’t take my big camera. I did however, go to two photography sessions; which makes me wonder whether there’s a correlation there. It made me think about what I can do with my iPhone if I actually think about a shot rather than just snap, and it made me volunteer to be the subject in a practice session. Now I do sometimes let other people take pictures on my camera, and I do dash into the shot every month for Me and Mine, and I did once have to have some professional headshots taken for work, but I promise you, if you have ever thought yourself self-conscious in front of a camera, it is nothing to when you have half a dozen being pointed at you. My goodness was that an exercise in being vulnerable. And as we all kept talking while everyone was shooting I can only imagine how many pictures now exist of me looking like a guppy fish.
6. But I did learn a top tip that I wish I’d known years ago: If you wear glasses, tilt them down at the bridge or just push the arms gently up off your ears so that they angle down slightly; that way the camera doesn’t pick up a glare from your glasses and can look straight through to focus on your eyes.
7. When you look across the Tots and the Hibs and the Tripps and see the thousands of blogs that make up those communities it’s astonishing to see the breadth of blogs that are out there. There are blogs out there that I’ll admit I find baffling, where just about everything they do is the polar opposite of me and my little corner of the internet, and yet at the core there is one common thread running through us all; that bit when we press publish. And that’s where the magic truly lies; in connection. From giggling in photography workshops with people I’ve only previously known from within a little square on Instagram, to stealing moments to catch up with Rachel and Jenny and Claire and Caro and Molly, some of the loveliest people you’ve ever met in real life as well as on screen, the absolute highlight of the day was, as always, the people.