Two weeks have passed since I attended Blogtacular. I’d initially hoped to get a blog post written up in the days immediately after the event, but when I sat down to jot my ideas, I still found myself processing everything!
For me, Blogtacular is one of the highlights of my year. Not only is it a chance to have a few days away in one of my favourite places, it’s also an opportunity to surround yourself with creative people who just ‘get’ what you do. It’s a time to mingle with like-minded people, to be inspired, and perhaps most importantly, to feel empowered to do the things that you truly want to do.
This post will focus on the main conference itself (I’ll be writing a separate post about the fringe events later on), my favourite parts, what I learnt, and whether I achieved my goals.
I’d set myself three goals for this year’s conference: meet new friends and catch up with those I’d met the year before, improve my video skills, and get advice on rebranding. I’ll start with the confession; I didn’t end up spending any time on video. Once I saw the schedule for the day, I knew that as much as my heart wanted to do it, there were other sessions which would be more useful for me, as I’ll explain later, this isn’t a decision I regret.
Getting advice on rebranding also took a bit of a back seat during the day, it wasn’t intentional, but I seemed to focus more on my goal of meeting new friends and catching up with those from last year. Again, this isn’t a decision I necessarily regret. I’m not the most confident person, and I really have to push myself to get involved and start conversations. This year, I really tried to speak to as many people as possible, and have the guts to just go up and start chatting. I learnt this year that a baby bump is a great conversation starter. It’s a bit of an extreme method, but it certainly works!
If a baby bump isn’t for you, then I’d recommend taking something along to give out. Last year I had business cards, but this year I decided to take along some sample prints that I had been working on. As I sat at home packing them up before the event, I almost ditched the idea, fearing that they were not good enough to hand out. Spurred on by the encouragement from my husband, I spent the day handing them out to people I met and doing lots of lovely swaps. I received so much positive feedback, it was definitely worth doing!
On to the sessions themselves, and three really stood out for me. The day started with an opening keynote from Natalie Lue. Last year’s keynote really set the tone for the day, and so I had high hopes for this year. I came away from Natalie’s session with lots of inspirational quotes that I’ll be keeping close to hand. One of the key takeaways for me was ‘listen to you, not your competitor’. When fellow creatives surround you, it’s so easy to begin comparing yourself; this was a reminder that I needed to take things back to me, and what I wanted.
Going into the first workshop, I was torn between two sessions, but decided to go for Greta Solomon’s ‘Writing from the Heart’. I really loved the writing sessions I took last year, so was keen to learn some more. I was certainly not disappointed. In just an hour, I learnt some really practical exercises to help me develop my writing skills that I can easily fit into my daily routine. The session flew by, and I came away with pages of notes, which I took as a positive sign.
The other workshop I was torn about was the final and longest session of the day. Although I did want to try out video, I knew deep down that the Creative Business Masterclass was the session I really needed. Hosted by Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary, Rachel Basinger of ONR Shop, and biscuit queen Nikki McWilliams; it was a chance to learn from three creatives who I admire a lot.
Again, I picked up so many useful and practical tips and tricks, but for me, the real value of it was so much more personal. I don’t think I was alone in this, and there were a few tears shed at the end of the session as fellow attendees spoke about their goals, not just for their businesses, but for life in general. It really struck a chord with me, and gave me that moment of realisation that I needed from the day. I came away feeling not only excited, but also that I could achieve what I wanted to with my little creative business.
As I wrote this post, I poured back through my notebook looking at all the things I jotted down during the day. For me, Blogtacular 2017 really was the year of the creative tribe, a place of overwhelming support, encouragement, and inspiration. It was also the year of the inspirational quote, and I’ve come away with a list I can call on when I need that boost. As an immediate action, it’s definitely given me some food for thought about my next creative challenge, which I’ll be revealing soon.
Blogtacular 2017, you were everything I wanted you to be, and more. I’m already looking forward to Summer 2018!