A little over a week ago, I attended Blog Summit, along with just over a hundred other bloggers. Just over a hundred people, in a room, being amazingly confident, and chatty, and inspiring, and awesome. Plus me. That was how I felt; goodness knows how I ever came to the decision to register for a ticket in the first place, such is my fear of huge groups of people I don’t know.
Still, somehow I found myself on the train to Birmingham, arranging a place to meet at the station via Twitter, drinking far too much coffee in an attempt to calm my nerves. Obviously this didn’t work, I ended up still feeling sick and shaky, only with crazy wide eyes and a headache.
Once I had spotted Pink Oddy in her unmissable Justin Beiber t-shirt, I felt much better about the whole thing.
I wish that was true. I didn’t actually feel any better, not helped by the over-caffeination, I felt even more nervous and insignificant. What could I offer? What did I have to say? Why couldn’t I have just a teensy bit more confidence?
Eventually a very large group of us had gathered at New Street station, somehow managed to navigate our way through the station (I did no navigating. I followed the people who seemed to know where they were going) to the venue, found name badges (aided by the totally gorgeous Molly) and grabbed coffee. At which point, my brain froze, my words dried up, and my mouth refused to work. A rabbit caught in the headlights would seem laid-back in comparison. People introduced themselves, people introduced me to others, I could barely utter my own name. What the hell was I doing here?!
The day went by in a bit of a blur; SEO, meta tags, headers, Page Rank, disclosure, bad links….and that was just the first talk. I had managed to latch myself onto Laura who blogs at Chez Mummy, who was planning to attend most of the same sessions as me. She was lovely, very easy to talk to (despite my panic/caffeine induced ramblings), and had attended a few of these bloggy conference thingies before.
After being completely inspired by Tamsin from Parentdish, Rachael author and blogger, and Becky from Baby Budgeting who all discussed getting published in various ways, panicked by Cathy from Nuturestore who spoke about how to use Pinterest and Facebook to gain more traffic and keep your readers and followers, and feeling mixed emotions of motivation and having a ‘plan’, combined with the sinking feeling of not being able to find the time to implement any of this new found knowledge, given that having a shower proves difficult to squeeze into most days, we all gathered in the main room for the final talk.
This was entitled ‘How to be Brilliant’ and I had a feeling of trepidation as Andy Cope took the microphone, thinking it would be a session on what to do and what not to do in blogging, using examples of each of our blogs.
I was totally wrong. His talk was amazing, humourous, inspiring and ingenious. It was nothing to do with blogging, and it was a great way to end the day as I think everyone had got to the stage of information over-load. He talked about happiness, about how happiness really isn’t a destination to aim for, but it is here, in us, with us, right now. It is all about choice; choose to be miserable, negative, a “mood hoover” as he put it, or choose to see the positive and be happy.
Having struggled with depression for all of my adult life and the majority of my teeange years too, and a newly-found dose of anxiety following the birth of The Princess, together with an inate lack of self-esteem and self-confidence, I am very often not living and performing at the level of my “best self”. Medication helps (especially when I remember to take it) and for most of the time I am OK. Sometimes I dip into a very dark place, but those episodes are not the norm. For the most part I am just existing, trying to get through each day at a time, counting down the hours until I can get into bed before I have to do it all over again. It doesn’t need to be this way. Depression aside, I can choose to be more positive, I can choose to be grateful for what I have, I can choose to see the positivity in every situation. I can choose to be happy.
This is what I learned at Blog Summit: Blogging involves much more than writing a post (I knew this already, but hearing others talk about it all makes it so much more real). New situations with strangers are not all that scary. I can write and publish a book (if only I had some inspiration, the time, and a plot). I definitely should have no more than 2 coffees in a day (I knew this already too). I choose not to be a mood hoover, I choose positivity.