Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Blognix 2014 & An Attack of Impostor Syndrome

So, it's September already and I'm only just getting round to blogging about an event about blogging that I went to back in early June. Sigh. Worst. Blogger. Ever.

Last year I saw lots of blog posts pop up in my feed about Blognix, a brand new Birmingham-based blogging conference. It looked like fun so I joined the mailing list, bought an early-bird ticket when this year's event was announced and booked myself a hotel room so I could have a lie in on the morning of the conference and turn the trip into a mini holiday, exploring the city, and visiting nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. 

When the day of the conference rolled round, I walked the short walk from my hotel....


... to the venue: the Custard Factory.


The day was jam-packed with blogging-themed talks and workshop, about everything from being a freelancer to working with brands to podcasting to taking better photos.

Some of the bloggers I chatted to were "old timers" like me, reminiscing about how much blogging has changed since "back in the day" when we first started and others were more recent converts to the world of blogging. I even chatted to one person who hadn't yet written their first post, and was still deciding exactly what she was going to blog about.


There were fashion and lifestyle and food bloggers, podcasters, designer/makers promoting their businesses through their blog, and craft bloggers like me. I was delighted to discover that a few people I knew "from the internet" - Jackie, Kate and Lucy - were at the conference too. It was lovely to meet them in person and to have a good natter about the different talks we'd attended.

Oh, and there was also lots of tasty food throughout the day, including homemade cakes and a bar of Blognix-branded chocolate tucked in our free goodie bags. Yum!


Now, I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous about going to this conference. This was partly the usual social butterflies where you think "I don't know anyone going to this event, what if no-one talks to me and I end up sitting on my own all Billy no mates??".

However it was also in a large part because earlier this year I was suffering from a bit of Impostor Syndrome about my blog.

After making big changes to my business last year I'd started to describe myself as "a blogger" when talking about my job - for example, my business cards currently say "Designer / Maker / Craft Writer & Blogger".

But I didn't feel like "a blogger" - I wasn't doing any of the stuff that bloggers are "supposed" to do like sponsored posts and brand collaborations and having an editorial calendar and writing traffic-increasing posts with SEO-friendly titles and making those perfect Pinterest-friendly images with post titles on them, and so on.

Almost all the How To posts I read about blogging seemed very disconnected to this crafty diary that I was writing which - technically, coincidentally - happened to be "a blog". I just made stuff and wrote about it! I wasn't doing any of this important blogger stuff that real bloggers do!

So I started to feel like my blog wasn't really a "proper" blog, and whenever I described myself as "a blogger" I felt like a bit of a fraud.

Of course, like every case of impostor syndrome this was all in my head. I write a blog, therefore I am a blogger. Obviously. But this was really not the best mood to be in when going to a blogging conference! :)

Having this moment of "oh my god I don't belong at an event like this"... and then going anyway and having a great time actually turned out to be just what I needed. As well has having a lovely day and meeting some lovely people I confronted all my weird feelings about what I "should" be doing as a blogger and realised that the only thing I "should" be doing is what works for me! (I give this advice to other people all the time, but am apparently terrible at following it in my own life, haha.)

The magic of blogging is having a space where you can do things you own way. You can write about what you like, how you like, when you like.

This summer I resolved to stop worrying about how other people blog and how I "should" be running my blog and to just focus on creating my own happy, crafty space, cherry-picking blogging tips and tricks that work for me. I now happily describe myself as "a blogger", and I've even bought a ticket for another blogging conference!

P.S. If you'd like to read more about Blognix and the different speakers and their talks, you'll find lots of the other attendees' posts about it here.


Jenny Riley said...

thanks for sharing your experience of Blognix - I've had my eye on blogging conferences for a little while and literally have no idea where to start (I would love to go to on) -hopefully they will do another and I will consider it! :)
and your thoughts on 'imposter syndrome' really resonated with me too - I love writing my blog but I get those thoughts that what im doing isn't good enough or its wrong etc etc, but your belief in yourself has really just this minute helped qualify mine too, and I cant wait to write a blog post later about the latest thing I made :D thanks for a lovely blog post, I just found you on twitter but I'm looking forward to reading you more regularly :) (essay over - sorry!)
jenny xx

Gisela Suski said...

I love your blog and the reason your blog is on the top of my list is because it is "you" that you are portraying yourself and having fun why you do it. You also have such amazing photos. Best travel guide I know.

Tumus said...

Did they talk about ever getting "too big" as a blog? Sometimes I see these blogs and wonder how the heck they have time to do anything else? It literally turns into a job. I suppose it would boil down to a comfort level, but at some point bigger blogs lose that personal connection and I think that's what people crave.

Xenia said...

I suffer the imposter syndrome in my professional career (I'm in academia), so I totally know what you're going through. And just so you know -- all the things you listed that made you feel like you weren't a proper blogger? Those are the reasons I've been reading your blog for years now. There's nothing I hate more than going to a blog and being bombarded with adverts masquerading as posts and the incessant pop-ups to sign up for newsletters or to follow the site on all social media platforms. Your blog is genuine and real. Your work is lovely and I really enjoy your days-out posts. Keep doing what you're doing, because you're doing it just right.

Wendy Ward said...

don't change your blog too much I love it -love the reviews, the craft, the days out and the fun you have doing what you do it translates really well into a darn good read- thanks so much said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us it was so helpful for me I can relate to allot of what you have mentioned. I always enjoy reading your blog.

BugsandFishes said...

Thanks for all your kind words, everyone, they are all very much appreciated!

Jenny - I am so glad you found this post helpful! Best of luck with your blog x

Tumus - I think part of the reason I felt disconnected to the idea of being a "blogger" is that lots of people do seem to want their blog to become their job... whereas my blog is a big part of what I do but I'm a crafter with a blog rather than someone who wants to make a living from blogging itself.

Blogs can definitely change when they start getting big - some of them become more like glossy magazines, which is nice but v different to one-person blogs!

Pauline Gower said...

I feel just the same as Wendy - please don't change your blog - I always enjoy reading it so much. You have a very distinctive "voice" and it is always a pleasure reading your posts.


BugsandFishes said...

Thanks so much, Pauline! xx

Anonymous said...

Actually I do agree with Xenia, I'm really not at all keen on the pro bloggers. I always wonder what it is their blog is about and what they 'do' as it is often not very apparent. The blogs may be full, but of pop ups and pop out ads and all round weird annoying stuff.

No, I like the crafter/artist type blogs. And that's you. It's nice to share in what you are making, having a bit of a trip out sometimes and just well a bit of whatever you feel like. A genuine blog is lovely but a contrived one you soon lose interest in. You don't need to do anything other than you already are. In fact please don't try and be like anyone else.

Sorry if this posts twice, but it's still here after sending it off so I'm going to click again!

BugsandFishes said...

Thank you! xxx


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