I just spotted on twitter that it's a month until Blogtacular 2016!! If only I was nearer London, ocht. I was there last year and it was AMAZING. I'd heard of Blogtacular before and considered going the pervious year but thought I couldn't justify it as a 'treat' for me and my blog. How daft. It's the treat you deserve and a completely motivational (and fun) investment.
Why you should go
So for those of you stuck in my mind set from a few year ago, here are some reasons to kick your own butt and get yourself a ticket.
- If you are looking for a chance to be inspired, motivated and encouraged then GO.
- It's a fun couple of days in a really cool setting, with some very cool chicks, and a load of like-minded people (cringe, watch the YouTube video).
- There's something for everyone. I didn't run around attending all the workshops and getting totally into everything like I normally do. I took my time and soaked up the atmosphere, got involved in what I wanted and spent time chatting to my new blogging buddies.
- I made some awesome contacts and great friends, who are like gurus to me now, I love how supportive they are. I never considered having a creative support system before but they're fab!!
- It'll make you focus more and really consider where you are going online and what you really really want to achieve. (And it's totally ok if you are not blogging full time or looking to step things up.)
What to bring
Energy and a friendly smile (don't be nervous to speak to new people because it's so worth it and they're probably as nervous). You are about to meet some really cool people who are thinking and wondering the same stuff as you. Improving blog posts, a need for youtube, scheduling Instagram, Instagrams new algorithm, keywords and hashtags, opt-ins, email lists...they're all talking about it too.
- Business cards or whatever it is that you hand out to promote your blog.
- A notebook and pens, ipad or whatever works best for you - you will take a lot of notes!!
- Your camera, mobile and a travel charger for your phone. If you have one, you will be everyones bestie
- And a big bag to fling all your Blogtacular craft goodies and new pals business cards.
so What is blogtacular
Blogtacular is a UK blogger gathering held in London where bloggers from all over come together to meet, chat, share and inspire. This year it will be at St Pauls, 200 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HD on Saturday 18th June with a welcome party and photowalk on Friday 17th. If you love DIY, crafts, design and are a creative blogger or want to get into blogging, then it's for you.
Are you going this year?
What were my goals
To be completely honest, I went with an open mind and ready to soak it up. Teaching as an Academic at Uni full time whilst running my blog was taking its tole, I loved both so I wasn't in the 'looking to turn full time blogger' mind set but I was at a stage in the year, maybe in my work life / balance that I needed something to change.
Blogtacular came at the right time and was the burst of colour, energy and motivation I needed. It wasn't motivation as in "get sh*t done" but more like "it's ok". Blogtacular is kind of like a bloggers conference with inspiring speakers, cool pop up shops, craft rooms, tea and cakes, and workshops. There's plenty of time and break-out space to meet people and chat. I just felt that I had all these ideas and things I wanted to do but not nearly enough hours in the day, so I wasn't doing my blog justice. Chatting to people there, I soon realised that a lot of them felt the same, and it was ok.
"more ideas than time (& that's ok)"
So I didn't have goals for my Blogtacular but I came away with a head buzzing and some awesome new pals.
I loved the welcome breakfast as it made arriving on your own to a room filled with people you have never met much much easier. I am not a nervous or shy person but I appreciate this can be very daunting for a lot of people. I actually recognised Kimberley from Wardrobe Conversations as we were walking to the venue so I just introduced myself and we walked in together. Once you get chatting to someone then others join you and soon you have a little group to go into the first talk with. It makes the day must easier and you'll start to relax and enjoy it all.
The talk I enjoyed the most was by Monica of The Travel Hack. I literally wrote down everything she said, she was very honest with us and shared a lot of her experience and secrets. I am not a travel blogger but I travel a lot so was interested but I went to this talk because my new pal Designer Esra wanted to go. I'm so glad I went. Monica talked about YouTube and making short videos of her trips and this really sparked something in me...and then there was a craft room with a pop-up photo booth, what's not to love?!
STAND OUT POINTS RAISEd
And as creatives, I think we all disagree with the above statement by Nicky Morgan but as someone who is an academic and has been teaching design at higher education, this saddens me. I believe that the education and training within creative subjects provides the student with the skills to think differently, problem solve, critically analyse, present a different approach and often work better in a team to arrive at a solution. Science is not always the answer and does not promise employment. Studying the Arts may not either but the tools you gain will help you in your own path - blogging, vlogging, selling your makes on Etsy, working with wholesale suppliers and having your products sold in shops, designing a line of merchandise, freelancing, working on an eBook, setting up eCourses, running your online empire - whatever it is, armed with a creative mind and imagination, you can achieve it, one step at a time.
Apart from rummage through your goodie bag, start connecting with everyone you met. Follow them on social media, check out their blog and comment. There are so many people and you will only have met about half of them, so run a search and see who else is posting about their experience of Blogtacular and reach out to them too. Making that connection straight away is so import and you will not regret staying in touch. You will probably feel a bit overwhelmed with ideas and ambition so start making a list and prioritise your ideas.
The main take away I had from Blogtacular was to up my Instagram game, reach out more to collaborate, and get on YouTube - not for my blog or online goals but because I wanted to. I wanted to post videos of my travels, and attending Monica of The Travel Hack's talk really pushed me to go for it.