Last week I attended my first blogging conference.
Wait, I did what?
My blog is only six months old, I don’t write ‘consistently’, and I do not have any kind of editorial calendar or strategy. I’ve only looked at my stats two or three times (stats leave me feeling queasy) – and yet off I trotted to the Gold Coast last week, to attend the ProBlogger Training Event 2014.
It was a fantastic event, and yet on some level, I found it quite an overwhelming event to attend. Not that people weren’t lovely, they all were. Queensland put on gorgeous weather, the QT Hotel was lovely, the food was AMAZING, it looked set to be a great weekend.
But before I went to bed on Thursday night, having spent a few hours with some RAD ladies from my Blog With Pip course, I recognised that I felt, well, a bit jangly. Unnerved. Anxious. Like tears were in my immediate future. I was so right!
Darren Rowse’s Friday morning keynote was sensational – he reminded me that bloggers are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Phew, I fit in the ordinary part of that equation, maybe extraordinary is in my future. And I definitely need to see the LEGO movie, stat!
Pat Flynn, a blogging guru I freely admit I’d never heard of before his name got attached to #pbevent, was also a great speaker to listen to – entertaining, informative, enthusiastic. I’ve had Backstreet Boys tunes running through my mind all week thanks to his illustrations about his wife’s obsession with those dance steppin’, love croonin’ lads. Pat told us that just like the Backstreet Boys have raving fans, bloggers can have raving fans too. I know this is true, because I am a raving fan of Styling You, Woogsworld, Meet Me At Mikes, BabyMac and quite a few more… so the morning’s teaching was excellent. Top notch.
Strange then, that not 10 minutes later I was crying into my fruit salad during the morning tea break. It could have been the sheer number of humans crammed around those tables trying to get themselves some juicy slices of watermelon, but I think it was more of an overwhelming moment of ‘what the hell am I doing here?!’.
Luckily, I had just introduced myself to Kylie from Life, Love & Lattes, and she coped admirably with my little meltdown. Thank you so much Kylie. Seriously, #pbevent MVP right there!
I managed to pull myself together enough to attend the next session, which was again, fantastic. But at the end of that session, the tears returned, and I retreated upstairs to the bloggers’ lounge (thank you SO MUCH for providing that space for we intoverts, and for the correct apostrophe placement #pbevent team) where I sat crying for quite some time. I was feeling ALL OF THE THINGS and couldn’t quite work out which one was the eye of the storm. So, I did what any writer does, I put pen to paper to try and make some sense of my feelings.
I felt overwhelmed. I felt really confronted by having a few, JUST A FEW – maybe four, people recognise me and say they liked my blog or loved my Instagram feed… I don’t know if I can describe how surreal the feeling of being recognised live in person, in the real world, not from behind a computer screen, is. I felt vulnerable and like I didn’t know what to say to them, I felt unimpressive and awkward. I was so taken aback by that feeling, as I had expected to totally enjoy the face to face meet-ups and find them super uplifting and easy. (Let’s clarify that I DID enjoy meeting people, I had some fab conversations, I just had some issues acclimatising to face to face contact!)
That morning, I felt unsure of myself and out of my depth. I felt like a total wanker for having business cards in my bag. I won’t say I felt like a fraud, because I love blogging and want to get better and better at it, but I felt almost all the other things, and it was a really exhausting morning.
Later in the day, with my composure tenuously in place, I sidled over to Beth from BabyMac before a session, and we had a wee chat, where I CRIED AGAIN. Oh my gawd. Beth has been someone who probably without even realising it, has been a massive encouragement to me as I’ve started out on the blogging journey. So I was crying, again, and Beth was so kind to me (winning at being the same IRL/URL) and she assured me that it is indeed weird to be recognised for something we do in isolation, but that people are generally lovely. The fab Mrs Woog (why does it feel really overly intimate to call her Kayte??) also came and joined in our convo, and offered me a squirt of Rescue Remedy. Bless! I love those ladies. Seriously, you two, you’re AWESOME.
Thankfully, that was the end of the tears at ProBlogger, but it is only one aspect of the amazing weekend that we had together.
I want to really ponder the things I heard and reflect on the awesome people I got to meet, but if I try to do that all in one post, it will be too much.
Now that the tears have been mopped up, and I’m back at home, I’m going to read through my notes, ponder the beautiful people I got to meet and share stories and laughs with, and I’ll fill you in with Part 2, The People, really soon.
One thing before I sign off for today – I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you that reads my blog – I truly do. I appreciate your comments (blogger oxygen), your encouragement, your ‘likes’ on my Instagram feed and Facebook page, your favourite & retweet button pressing on Twitter, your laughter, and your baking prowess. Without you, this is pointless.
And as fabulous as that QT Hotel bed was, there really is no place like home. Just me and my laptop, and all of you.