I love the buzz of blogging conferences – the chance to learn new things and to meet up with fellow bloggers, not to mention that for a few hours I am completely me. Being “Mummy” is the best label in the world, but to be able to regain my own identity for just a few hours is always an amazing feeling. A couple of weeks ago I went to Britmums Live for the second time. Whilst I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time (if not more), it was quite a different experience second time around.
1) Being more confident
Last year, I was both excited and nervous about attending Britmums Live for the first time. I’d never been to such a big blogging conference and I wasn’t sure what to expect. This time around, I was just excited – there were no nerves at all. I was looking forward to meeting up with the friends that I’d already made within the blogging community at previous blog events, and excited about meeting other bloggers who I’ve connected with online, for the first time. I knew that there would be plenty of friendly faces to see.
Last year, I still felt like a newbie blogger, finding my feet to some extent – this year I was comfortable and confident in my own blogging skin, and happy with who I was as a blogger. Some of the brands attending were those I had worked with in the past and I was looking forward to meeting some of my PR contacts face-to-face, such as the lovely Sarah from Boots Soltan who was happy to pose for some fun photos with me.
2) A different approach to choosing which sessions to attend
Last year, I came to Britmums Live keen to learn more about how to grow my blog, how to improve my stats, how to boost my social media following. I wanted to learn about SEO, how to monetise my blog, how to market myself and my writing. To grow, to improve – and maybe to turn a hobby into a full-time job.
This time around, I was looking for the session that just sounded interesting, or would help boost my creativity. Growing my blog and my stats wasn’t on my agenda – my focus was on the things that make blogging enjoyable and bringing more fun into it. I was also happy to skip a session slot if there was nothing that grabbed me and just enjoy mingling, eating cake and chatting with brands instead.
My two favourite sessions this year were Amanda Jennings’ session on finding your voice when writing, which was full of great tips for using personal experience and turning into fiction, and Jennie Maizels’ Sketchbook Club session, where I was able to embrace my love of drawing and rediscover a technique I hadn’t used since schooldays.
3) Being prepared for an emotional ride
Last year I certainly wasn’t prepared for just what an emotional experience Britmums Live could be – especially listening to the Bloggers Keynote at the end of the conference. I felt quite emotionally exhausted by the time I arrived home. This year, I was much more prepared for that – and thankfully it was less of a rollercoaster ride as a result!
The biggest thing I took away from my Britmums Live experience last year was the discovery of who I was as a blogger and what I wanted. I went thinking that I wanted to learn to be a pro-blogger; I left knowing that it wasn’t want I wanted at all. It taught me to be comfortable in who I was as a blogger, and to stop getting stressed out about stats and rankings. I slowed down a little, took a step back and while today I might blog just as frequently as I did then, I don’t allow blogging to take over my life in the same way. I’m in control of my blog – not the other way around and it’s a much happier place to be.
This year, I didn’t leave with any big epiphany moment – just the memories of a fun day catching up with friends, having fun learning new things and enjoying every minute of it. And if that’s what I take away from every blogging event I attend in the future, then that sounds good to me!