Five Things I Learned at Blogtacular

9 things from Blogtacular '14 photo collage

A weekend filled with my favourite things: bicycles, brunch, sunshine, and interesting people. Given my excitement, the inaugural Blogtacular event, would be hard-pressed to live up to expectations. And yet here I am, full of the afterglow from having a seriously good time. I couldn’t help but fall in love with a conference so full of inspiring ideas, beautiful scenes, and lovely people (and learn a few things along the way..)

Online hops offline with ease. What a friendly crowd! It was great to meet online friends face to face for the first time. From the front door queue, to the last round of applause, people were sharing stories, ideas and twitter handles. Naysayers may claim that social media pulls us away from real interaction, but one peek through the doors of the Royal Institution reminds us that social media can also build real, meaningful connections.

Pen and paper will always have its place. #blogtacular chat was abuzz with people buying new stationery for a weekend of scribbling. Recently inspired by Mike Rohde, I tried a spot of sketchnoting. Doodling was great fun and helped me remember details. Others shared their sketches too: Natalie Lue her wolfie cartoons, Isa Seminega her hand-drawn slides. What glorious contrast to the usual corporate death-by-power-point!

Notes from Blogtacular

Everyone loves to create. The place was awash with colour: painted pots, balloons on string, yellow pockets, and pink bows. Be it fabric, yarn or film, the urge to make was pretty clear. Anne Ditmeyer reminded us to value our creativity and make money too. Natalie urged us to make creativity a habit. As Xanthe Berkeley told us, no one starts out perfect; we must do a volume of work to reach our goals. Now I’m itching to try several new projects: maps, movies and dresses.

You make your own opportunities. Joy Cho shared her history of business ventures; from tweenie calligrapher to adult professional slashie, Joy has always gone after the work she wanted, and viewed the ‘nos’ along the way purely as a new path to take. Anne called us to “Do what you want to be known for.” Reaching out to others is the only way they’ll know what we can do. After all, “Bloggers are awesome!”

Enjoy what you do. We were all at Blogtacular because we we love the creativity, connections, and confidence that blogging gives us. But I suspect we all occasionally catch ourselves spending too long pulling a post together and question what the hell we’re doing (right?!) Natalie urged us to “Embrace your accomplishments.” As Tilly Walnes argued that having a small niche is no bad thing, it gave license to write about what we enjoy and enjoy what we write, rather than doing it for the crowd. If we recognise and revel in what we achieve, then I’m pretty sure we’ll all live to blog another day (and have fun while we’re at it.)

28 thoughts on “Five Things I Learned at Blogtacular

  1. Lovely to meet you at Blogtacular. I also left feeling inspired from all the creative energy in the room. Your blog is beautiful – good luck with it in the future.


  2. I love this post Rusty! You are so right is stating the importance of – writing about what we enjoy and enjoy what we write, rather than doing it for the crowd.

    Xanthe is one of my favourite people ever. I really wish that I had gone to Blogtacular!
    Hopefully see you there next time! x

  3. This is such an inspiring post! I’m loving how everyone is taking something unique from the experience and moving forward with it in their own way.
    You know how I feel about your doodles/note taking/inspiring sketches! LoveLOVELove xxxx

    • Thanks so much Xanthe. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on their blogs. And I will definitely keep doodling!

  4. Karen on said:

    Love the idea of sketchnoting. Looks like you had an inspiring time. I really must get back into blogging but life seemed to take over!

    • I know what you mean. It’s hard to find the time! I’m sort of in the habit of it now, which makes it easier (and fun!) Do let me know if you pick it up again.)

  5. It sounds like you had a super brilliant time! I would have loved to have been there. Thanks for sharing :) bloggers ARE the best x

    • Aren’t they just! Blogtacular are putting the videos online (and if you sign up to their newsletter they might send you a goodie bag!) so you don’t have to miss out!

  6. It was such a fabulous event wasn’t it. I love your roundup of what you learned. All points are so very true!

  7. I really wanted to go to Blogtacular and seeing all those enthusiastic tweets almost killed me! Hopefully next year, when the little one’s a bit bigger and I’m able to justify a trip to London…
    Glad you enjoyed it.
    Sarah x

    • Yes, hard with a little one I’d imagine. I heard someone on #blogtacular twitter chat say it was the first time she’d doubted breast is best! ;)

  8. I missed Tilly’s session but I find it comforting to know having a niche is “no bad thing” I think I’m more comfortable there than out in the mainstream anyway.

  9. I love your sketch doodle notes, they’re brilliant, and seem very fitting to the whole atmosphere of Blogtacular! I think what I loved the most is that it didn’t matter what level you were at or what you’re trying to achieve with your blog, or what niche you do or don’t fit into, everyone got loads and loads out of every single session which is a pretty awesome achievement. And now because I have a list of things to achieve that’s a mile long I’m just repeating Natalie Lue to myself – you will always have more ideas than time. This is OK!!

  10. Fantastic weekend that left my mind buzzing – love how you have condensed it to particular learning points/stand outs. Disappointed that our paths didn’t cross next time.

  11. Such a wonderful weekend! My only regret was not meeting more of the people who I follow online! Still it was lovely to meet so many new bloggers and hopefully I’ll see you there next year!!

    • Completely. After the buzz of new ideas I kept thinking on the way home ‘oh but I didn’t meet…’!

  12. Such a fun packed weekend! Unfortunately we didn’t meet, next time we really need some name tags to recognize each other ;) I love reading what everyone took away from Blogtacular and your 5-point recap is great! Me too, I loved that most presentations were as creative as the content, hardly any boring Powerpoint slides with too much texts & graphs. Hope to see you in London next year!

  13. It was so nice to meet you Bryony and discover your blog at blogtacular! This is a really nice summary of it.

  14. Love your sketch notes! Thank you for helping to make Blogtacular so wonderful and for getting all those ribbons in the bags x