Last week, I spent four days hanging out with some fellow bloggers at the ProBlogger conference for 2014.
It. Was. Amazing.
There were many highlights. Pat Flynn’s keynote. Learning about SEO. Learning about social media, time management and using your blog to make a difference. Meeting fellow bloggers. In person. (They’re three dimensional! Whodathunkit?)
Realising the bloggers I admire once stared at a white screen with a blinking cursor, working up the courage to type and hit publish on their first post. Realising that we might have different reasons for writing, different goals and different blogs, but that we all started in the same place.
I learnt so very much. And these are the top five (of five hundred) lessons:
1. If I want to go somewhere with this blog – make it special – then I can, and I will.
2. If I want to. IF. Not everyone wants to go somewhere with their blog. I have to know what I want. Big kick-arse websites are needed. Reflectiony personal corners of the interweb are also needed.
3. Whatever this blog is and whatever it becomes, it is important. It is important to me. Therefore, it is important to my family. It is okay to spend time on it. It is okay to leave the dishes in the sink and write a blog post. It is okay to plan in my head while playing with the kids.
4. Lots of people are writing things that could get them sued. Don’t do that. Don’t assume that because it’s opinion, it’s okay.
5. I can make a difference. I feel arrogant just typing that, but it’s true. I can make a difference. You can make a difference. Anyone can make a difference. If just one of my posts reaches one person and convinces them to view the world from their child’s perspective, read a great book or consider organ donation, then I’ve made a difference.
Bonus lesson: I am tall. Pretty much every conversation I had with someone I was meeting for the first time began with this observation. (And I wore flats most of the time!)
There you have it. Of course, I learnt plenty more than that. Lots to do on this little ol’ blog of mine.
Not only did I hear from fabulous speakers, I had my blog critiqued. By blogging experts. In front of an audience of bloggers. (Related: I no longer have fingernails.)
After the final keynote on Saturday, I raced to my room. I opened a notebook, and filled the first half of it with ideas and plans. I drew up a new design for the blog. I came up with a schedule for the remaining months of the year. I wrote down ideas for new blog posts. I thought about posts I’ve already written that are still relevant today, but could use an update. I even thought of new names for the blog if I decide to focus on one area. I wrote a mammoth-sized to-do list.
And then I closed the notebook. I was still on a high, and I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype.
I don’t want to do things just because I CAN. I want to do things because I WANT TO.
Next week, I’ll open the notebook again. And I’ll decide what to do. I might do all of the things. I might do some of the things. I might do none of the things.
Whatever I do, I’ll be keeping these things in mind:
The soul-searching begins. Stay tuned.
Did you go to the ProBlogger conference? What did you think?
And if you’ll forgive the survey-without-notice, what do you think of YLSNED? Any suggestions or feedback to offer?