I apologize in advance for this break in your regularly scheduled blog post… if you’re not a blogger… this post might not be your jam. If you’re moderately dorky, then this will be TOTALLY your jam since I may mention SEO and/ or analytics.
For the second year in a row, I had the privilege of going to the Haven Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This conference is for DIY bloggers so kinda sorta right up my craft-loving alley. Here’s the thing about these conferences… you get what you put into them. Last year, I got what I was able to… I didn’t even know what questions I wasn’t asking. And I met a handful of folks. And that’s what I needed back then.
But this year, well this year it was On Like Donkey Kong.
1) I had a blogging clue… I feel comfortable with my design, with my voice, with my content. Always room for improvement, but I feel like I have the basics present and accounted for. Ish.
2) I knew about other blogs! This seems stupid, but last year, I just hadn’t discovered how many AWESOME blogs and bloggers were out there! Last year I would meet Suzie from Suzie Q’s Q-Tip Craft Projects and had no idea what her blog was or what she was all about. This year? Gurl, I KNEW Suzie Q. And… to throw some bacon on top (because everything’s better with bacon), I had actually INTERACTED with Suzie Q whether through comments on her blog, chatting on Instagram or collaborating on a post together. Which meant I felt FAR less creepy tackling Suzie Q at the knees when I saw her at Haven. Allegedly and/ or hypothetically.
3) I have legit friends to hang out with as a result of Haven last year. Women I exchanged cards with a year ago are now women I chat with on the daily. They know my kids, they know my schedule, they know my life, they know my typos. They also know who I hate on the Bachelorette, but that’s a whole nother topic.
Beyond an inordinate amount of candy and white wine, I came away from Haven with action items that will hopefully carry me forward to that next amorphous ‘level’ of which people speak. Vague? Sure… but we all have a sense of what those ‘levels’ are for us. Is it that moment you realize your pass-time is a career opportunity? That moment you look back and realize you’ve actually come a long way? That moment you decide you actually miss your kids whining?
As I go back through my notes from Haven, I realize how much I’ve learned since I started down this blogging path. A lot, y’all! (I’ve been in Atlanta all weekend and the y’alls are hard to shake.) I took classes on working with Brands (Home Depot, I’m looking at you, girl), optimizing my ad revenue (so that I can buy a latte instead of just a coffee), and understanding what metrics Google uses to determine SEO, to establish a G+ account, and to bid on ad space. (Turns out Google has nothing to do with the pile of dirty laundry I’m staring at, so that’s disappointing.)
Not to mention, I chatted with and pawed the products of SO many incredible DIY Vendors… there was something for everyone: fabric and plants and tools and paint and jewelry and clothing… so good. The symbiosis of killer products and a DIY blog is remarkable… this stuff makes it all possible.
Finally, I have some genuine honest to goodness ideas for this little blog o’ mine which is exciting. A blog is a fun trifecta of creative and business and tech… I was listening to NPR on the way to the conference and there was a piece on whether little girls should go to coding camps… um, can grown-up girls go to coding camp?! Before I started blogging, I didn’t know how to do this, this, or this. And I’d never heard of Chuy’s… guys, the creamy jalapeno dip will change your life.
Not sure if any of this resonates with other bloggers or if I’ve even made sense, but I just feel happy and proud and content and motivated and engaged and connected! I said the same thing in my recap post from last year, but spending a whole weekend talking about the intricacies of blogging without one single raised eyebrow or glazed look was worth every penny.
I hung with my pals, and met SO many new friends with whom I hope to hang NEXT year (it’s on my July calendar… don’t worry). Big kiss until next year to My Passion For Decor, Anne Thompson Designs, Puddy’s House, Always Never Done, and Restoration Redoux. And a not so big kiss (because that’s creepy when you’ve never technically met someone…) to the women I loved finally getting to meet IRL (in real life): Chronicles of Home, Silver Pennies, Desert Domicile, Bliss At Home, Sarah’s Big Idea, Ugly Duckling House, Two Purple Couches, One Dog Woof, That’s My Letter, and The Happier Homemaker.
Oh, one last thing… I watched Katy Perry’s Part of Me movie on the flight down and I’m pretty sure I’d like to dye a piece of my hair purple… am I too old?