It’s really rare for me to have a day away from Pickle. I don’t often even have a couple of hours away from him, and he still spends most of the night sleeping snuggled up next to me. We’re a little team. A unit. We come as a pair. So I think it threw me a little bit to be at the Blog On conference on my own yesterday. I really wasn’t myself and despite having looked forward to it ever since coming home from my last one in September, I left feeling disappointed in myself.
I was kicking myself for not being confident enough to say hello to the names and faces I recognised. There were other bloggers I wish I’d smiled at, waved to and so many people who I really should have told how much I enjoy reading their blogs. I should have said thank you to the ones who have inspired me, and those who have helped me. Instead, I shied away from the masses and occupied myself by grabbing a drink in the breaks and finding a quiet spot in the hope of some fresh air. I dread to think how much sugar I consumed through cranberry juice.
I babbled like an idiot to those that I did chat to. I must have come across like a right buffoon – talking about how sweaty I was, how warm and stuffy the place felt and constantly saying how nervous I was (which let me tell you, does NOTHING to help boost dwindling confidence levels). I felt awkward, I was awkward. And I’m sorry if I met you and made you feel awkward too!
The thing is, I had set unrealistic expectations for myself. I thought I’d be more outgoing and self-assured because not only do I have the experience of the last conference, I have eight further months of blogging under my belt. I’ve undertaken paid blogging work since then, I’ve been freelance content writing, I’ve seen my social media followings grow and I have a much better sense of purpose and direction. I no longer rely on photos taken on my phone. I’m starting to build relationships with brands and PR companies. I’m becoming more ‘professional’ but yet… in a room full of people just like me, I felt like a bit of a fraud. Like I was gate crashing a party I wasn’t really invited to. And whilst I’d been prepared to feel like that the first time around, I thought yesterday would be different. I panicked. And I don’t know why.
I was on a bit of a photography mission yesterday, and despite thinking I’d do otherwise, I ended up going to all four of the photography sessions at the #BlogOnMSI conference yesterday. And I really enjoyed them all, learning lots and being very inspired. @lecoindemel’s session on photo styling was so inspirational, and she challenged us to try our own little styled shoots to promote a variety of products (including fairies from @littlecolumbiaroad and the cutest of shoes from @cientauk!) and some scrumptious sweeties. I was overly polite and hung back whilst everyone else picked out the props they wanted to use from the selection, but I quite like this simple display. I may challenge myself to do a fortnightly styled love hearts image so I can chart how my photography improves over the next year or so! I’d really love to invest in some quality vinyls from @capturebylucy and some table tops but if I learned anything yesterday, it’s that you don’t need to spend a fortune to take AMAZING photographs. And that what us bloggers are really good at is showing normal life! And that’s not always studio perfect! #cblxblogon
Now, this is no one’s fault but my own. And confidence issues aside, I really enjoyed the conference sessions. I learned loads and I can’t wait to start putting this new found knowledge into practice and develop my skills, in photography especially… I just left feeling a bit heavy that I didn’t fully make the most of it. Hats off to Rachel, who was a real gem at making me feel more at ease – and even spotted me sitting on the floor at one point and shouted over to let me know there was a seat free next to her. It probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but I was really grateful for the thought!
So now it’s time to work hard and put some plans in place to make sure even if I didn’t feel I made the most of the conference whilst I was there, that I make the most of it now. I really want to put into action what I learned and speak to the companies I’d love to work with in the future. I’m going to harness all the inspiration and channel it into something productive and good. I may have been a bit of a goof in Manchester, but I needn’t be such an idiot at home.
The sessions were all amazing weren’t they? I’ve been to business events where the speakers were very meh and salesy but all the ones I went to at Blog On were inspiring and really useful. I felt totally the same by the way – a bit lost and anxious and awkwardly not knowing whether to say hi and introduce myself to people or not, so just hung back and smiled… awkwardly. If it helps I think there’s a good few of us who got hit by a wave of self-doubt and is totally natural, especially if you’re somewhere totally different to what you’re normally doing on a Sunday. I love that people are so open about that though, it’s really refreshing and even around people we’ve not ‘met’ before everyone felt like friends. Hopefully bump into you at September’s event? x
Oh Holly this has made me feel a bit sad for you reading this. I know what it feels like to feel a bit like you don’t belong and also when the boys were small they were my ‘safety blanket’ I felt more confident when they were with me as I wasn’t alone.
I wasn’t at BlogOn but I’m going to be at Britmums, so if you’re there feel free to come hang out with us. I’ll be with Donna, Laura, Hannah and anyone else who wants to come talk to us. I don’t do cliques and I hate the idea of anyone feeling a bit left out or out of sorts.
Well done for going on your own though and I hope you still got a lot from the day.
Zoe Corkhill (Mama Geek)
Sorry to read this – I wanted to say hello to you but never seemed to spot you other than across a room! At my first Blog On event I felt a bit like this and ended up in the toilets having a bit of a sniffle. I get really awkward and either stand there silently or babble when I’m nervous and so I know how you feel a bit. I hope you try again, it does get better to deal with the social side of things – and as you say the sessions can be brilliant x
Jenny @ thebrickcastle
I think this year is the first time I didn’t feel any self-doubt, but I did last week with an email I got. It is such a constant in blogging, but you have to remind yourself whatever you write about, there are millions of people who totally get you, so be you and keep your most loyal audience. I’ve read your blog many times and never for a second thought you weren’t a ‘real blogger’. Now stop being daft and next time hold your head up and introduce yourself to whoever you want.
P.S. It’s my duty to inform you there are less than 30 tickets left for September. I’m doing promotion, Laura will be so proud. 😀
You know I can really empathise with this. I’m normally very extroverted but even I felt a bit overwhelmed at the conference. I think partly I was a bit hungover and too hot and partly I was worrying about not having appropriate facilities to express breastmilk.
Little Pickle's Mom
Oh my god, yes!! This was totally me too – last September a very nice man let me lock myself in one of the session rooms to pump milk at lunch but this year I just kind of powered through (Pickle doesn’t drink as much during the day now) and did it at a service station on the way home instead. I think things like that really play on your mind. You know, I spotted you a few times across the room and wanted to say hello but didn’t get the chance – you looked like you were oozing confidence to me. Kisses, Hx
I complete understand feeling like this but I LOVED seeing you at Blog On, and just wish we’d got the chance to chat more. You were someone I was so looking forward to seeing and I am glad we got to say hello – you were a highlight of the last Blog On for me and I couldn’t wait to see your face again. I think confidence in these things is a weird thing. Everyone expects me to be so confident and outgoing and I’m really not – unless I have met people before or they come and say hello to me. Going and talking to someone I have never physically spoken to is so hard for me and something I find so difficult x
I can totally relate to this, even thought this was about my 5 blogging event, I didn’t feel confident, the self doubt and the knowing no one really knew who I was, at one point i ended up putting my headphones in and putting on some music as I just felt like i should have really been there. I wish I could be more confident.
Ah, Holly, sorry to hear you felt like this. It’s something we all go through initially – those of us who are huge introverts only ever really manage to get as far as hiding the building sense of dread, no matter how many conferences we’ve been to already. But glad to hear you got inspiration out of it and hopefully it won’t put you off coming back again.