I survived my first blogging conference! More than survived, I came out of two intense days with a wealth of knowledge and a momentum to work on some amazing ideas. Yes, walking into a room full of people I didn’t know that Friday morning was scary. My nerves kicked in and the introvert inside me clung on for dear life. Yet it wasn’t long before a welcome relief eased my anxiety; three women who were in the same boat that I was – alone. We were exchanging business cards and following each other on Twitter within moments of saying hello. Right then, I knew that I was going to be ok.
The first keynote and all 300 attendees gathered, clinging onto coffee cups, laptops and tablets ready. I sat with my notebook and pen waiting. Yet, I was immediately distracted. Across the front row, last to walk in was Eden, Mrs Woog and Baby-Mac. In my mind, it happened in slow motion. I’m sure that Mrs Woog tossed back her hair as she slid past. In my mind, the Chariots of Fire sound track was playing. What a moment!
Brought back to reality – by the voice of Darren Rowse asking us to find the “sparks of energy” we needed to inspire us. My decision to come to the conference was solidified within the first minutes of his speech. I was convinced that I had found my calling. I sent a text to my sister. She sent me back an image of men in hooded, velvet medieval robes, all standing in a round circle. I wanted to learn all the secrets of that circle!
I was in awe of the rock stars at the conference. The voices I had followed on blogs were right here in front of me; loud, passionate and accessible. More rock stars in the crowd, sitting within my reach. Several times I had to stop and ask myself, was this really happening? As the faces that I could recognise grew, my nerves kicked in again. With the nerves came the calamity of my head over my gut.
My head: “You can’t possibly say hello to any of these people – they will only laugh and brush you off!”
My gut: “Just go, what’s the worst thing that can happen?”
So I took my cue. I walked straight up to a blogger I love, apologised for gushing and told her what a great writer she was. Next I found myself walking straight up to Chris Guillbeau himself. I was getting the hang of this! That was until I saw Mrs Woog, and my knees wobbled and my voice ran into the darkness to hide.
The conference gave me an insight into so many aspects of blogging. I gained a wealth of knowledge from people who I not only admired, but now respect. The incredible bloggers, who presented at the conference, have the same voice, the same integrity and same passion about life as they do their blog. That in itself was a lesson. Aspire to find my voice, engage with my audience and find my way in the blogging maze.
I took myself aside after the first day and gave myself a talking to like I would my three year old; after he has stuffed all the toilet paper down the toilet, then dragged it out again and thrown it over the stairs. ‘You will kick yourself forever if you don’t talk to Mrs Woog!’ I scolded. So the next day, I did.