I have a confession to make. Not the deep, dark, shocking kind. But the kind that might come as a surprise to some of you who know me. I’m an introvert. Yep, I’m one of those crazy people who’s more at peace and energized when I’m alone or with a few close friends/family members.
While it doesn’t really matter in my day-to-day life (after all, connecting with people through my writing is the perfect outlet), going to a conference is a whole different story. Strangers. Networking. Self-promoting. People…all…day…long. It’s not that I can’t handle—and even enjoy—those things, it’s just that it all comes with a fair amount of anxiety and exhaustion for someone like me. (And taking 30 weeks worth of baby weight along for the ride certainly doesn’t make it easier.)
So while Bloggy Boot Camp—a day-long conference for female bloggers—sounded like a great idea when I signed up for it in December, I wasn’t so sure when I arrived in San Diego on Friday night.
What had I gotten myself into? Would anybody talk to me? I’d ‘met’ a lot of great women who would be there on Twitter. Plus I’d be reuniting with Yahoo! Mother Board member, La Jolla Mom, and I couldn’t wait to meet the wonderful Carpool Goddess, my fellow Shine Parenting Guru. But somehow I was still nervous. Really nervous. I even ironed my dress when I got to the hotel. Yep, it was that bad.
But it turns out, the SITS Girls who run the conference had planned it with people like me in mind (thank you, thank you, thank you!). There were just over 100 women there, and we had assigned seats, which switched between each speaker. So by lunch, I’d not only learned great tips from some hilarious and really smart women, I’d also met 50ish bloggers. (And I have the business cards to prove it!)
So what did I learn? Here are some of the highlights:
1) You can get 100 women in a room together and find that they’re all friendly, encouraging and supportive.
2) Ironing my dress was well worth it. I would have paid much more for a ticket if I’d known I’d be referred to as the cute pregnant lady all day. (Then again I guess I did pay for it…the imprint of my boots is still etched into my swollen ankles! Not cute.)
3) Google isn’t all hype (sorry Yahoos). Google AdWords is a powerful SEO tool that I’m going to start using (on my next post, of course).
4) The SITS Girls are masters at running a well-structured event, but their willingness to be flexible and squeeze in a couple spontaneous hands-on tutorials during the day made all the difference.
5) I’m already doing some things right…like starting a newsletter. (And it’s never to late to sign up for mine!)
6) I should listen to my readers. Ok, I know this and I certainly try…I know which posts people share and comment on. But I’d still love to hear from you if you have topic ideas or if there was something you loved/hated that I wrote. Without you, I’m just a crazy girl with a laptop.
7) This post is already far too long and you’ve probably given up on me by now. (But I forgive you.)
Many thanks to the talented bloggers I met (I’ll share a list soon in case there’s someone you’d like to follow), the savvy SITS Girls (Tiffany was pretty and smart and Fran was a glowing birthday girl!), the generous sponsors (though the Mirassou wine-tasting party was a bit of a tease for this pregnant lady), anyone reading (you’ve helped made this blog what it is) and my loving family (for giving me the chance to get away for a couple days).
You can read more about the conference and what others had to say here: Bloggy Boot Camp Recaps.
Photo by Tiffany Romero of SITS Girls. See all of the event photos here.