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.