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Blogtacular 2014

by Jessica Amey

Last weekend I travelled up to London to attend the first ever Blogtacular.

It was absolutely amazing, and not just because it was my first day without any children for over a year!

I had such a great day with lots of my lovely blogging friends and left feeling so inspired, I just wish I had more time to put all my plans into action.

blogtacular 2014

(Me on the left next to Lucy, Fritha and Katie)

I want to draw, and make things, and write, and redesign, and learn to sew properly, and take photos and just be creative in every way possible but having two young children clawing around my ankles all day and a house to keep means I have to try and find a balance between finding time for me, finding time for my relationship, finding time to play Queen Elsa birthday party games and finding time to make sure the house is clean / dinner is cooked / clothes are washed. It’s a balance that I haven’t quite mastered yet and it’s usually the house that suffers, no-one actually hoovers the upstairs of their house more than once a year do they?! 😉

Here are a few things I learnt at Blogtacular…

Never wear a pair of shoes to a blog conference that haven’t been previously tested out for comfort – by the time I got off the train in London I could barely walk and my feet still haven’t recovered!

You should never feel bad asking for money. Anne Ditmeyer from Pret-a-Voyager’s talk was so motivational and inspiring. She made so many great points about why bloggers shouldn’t be expected to work for nothing. No-one would ask a plumber to work for free so why should they ask bloggers? I felt strongly about this issue before but now I really do feel fine explaining to people why I have to charge for my time. Previously when I read the ‘we’re a small business and can’t afford advertising’ I used to feel like I should help when in actual fact my blog is MY small business. It’s taken me three years of hard work to build it up to where it is now and it’s only fair I should benefit from any agreement, not always in a financial way, but in some way other than the promise of ‘interesting content’.

Following on from that point though Will from Bright Bazaar pointed out that sometimes it is worth doing something for absolutely nothing. He couldn’t be there in person but he came across as such a lovely guy in his video interview and it was so interesting to hear about his blogging journey. He told us about how he went to a behind the scenes photoshoot at Ikea once and although he didn’t get paid, it has been one of his most popular blog posts ever.

That it’s okay to not follow blogging trends. Being niche is a good thing, you never know who might be looking for exactly what you have to offer.

How the blog to book process works. Tilly from Tilly And The Buttons whose book has just been released told us how it all happened, and her book looks fab, I will definitely be buying it.

blogtacular 2014

That knowing all the rules on what makes a ‘good’ blog design doesn’t mean you have to follow them (no-one actually said this, I just decided it myself!). I love handwritten fonts and I love using lots of different fonts. I will never change those things!

That sandwiches really do need crisps to accompany them (they were nice sandwiches though!).

That branding is really important and it’s not just about having a logo. It’s about who you are, your voice, your personality, what you hope to achieve. Mark and Keith from Mini-Moderns are a fantastic duo and it was highly entertaining to listen to them talk about branding.

The final session of the day, and my favourite, was Natalie Lue talking about things that really resonated with me as well as most people in the room. I loved the point about how as women, most of us suffer from some form of imposter syndrome, where we aren’t able to process our achievements so feel like a fraud in our own lives. I took away a lot from her such as to stop comparing and stop overthinking. You can never please everyone so stop trying, just do what makes you happy. The line she used was ‘don’t should yourself’.

It’s okay to have more ideas than time.

blogtacular 2014

And finally the point I loved the most from the whole day is that it’s better done than perfect. This is something that I’m always obsessing over, I finish a blog post and then spend ages looking at the photos thinking how they aren’t good enough, how they aren’t ‘perfect’. My blogs are all a learning curve for me and instead of feeling bad about how they aren’t good enough I want to start focusing on how much better they are than when I first started. I mean seriously, I cringe when I look back at my first blog posts! I like critiquing my work, it drives me to do better but I do want to start looking at the positives too and not just things that need improving.

The day was full of inspirational women and men talking about how they have made a success of the thing that everyone in the room had a love for: blogging. It was also great to catch up with blogging friends old and new. I will never stop enjoying the fact that meeting bloggers for the first time is so natural because you pretty much already ‘know’ them.

blogtacular 2014

(Katie, Lucy, me and Bryony, I should also point out this was for a competition!)

I travelled home on the train with Fritha and Lori where I continued to learn things, we discussed trash telly and pregnant celebrities ;). Ate my gin and tonic popcorn on the drive back from the train station to stop myself falling asleep and spend all day Sunday in my pyjamas due to being so exhausted. It was great though.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Blogtacular!

All photos apart from the top one are thanks to Mollie Makes.

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