Friday night I was anxious, scared and incredibly nervous. Unlike previous blogger conferences I felt alone and like a new blogger again. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach and in all honesty my finger hovered over the cancel ticket button most of the evening. Apprehension began to take over, and I secretly began wishing a train to be cancelled over something would happen to take the decision out of my hands.
Little man and I made all the trains, in fact it was one of the least stressful train journeys I think I have ever done, and arrived in Birmingham in plenty of time. With Google maps in hand we made the very short walk over to the studio and I began to feel sick, really sick. It is so funny how you can be surrounded by people but yet feel all alone. I instantly regretted my decision to come, and wish I had cancelled to give someone the chance to be there who really wanted it. I must apologies to the blogger who came to chat to me, I really was about to leave at that point.
I was swept into the main room still feeling alone, but decided to see how things progressed. The funny thing is I feel trapped. Blogging has changed so much in the 3 years I have been blogging, people have come and people have left. The way we blog has changed, the way we interact has changed and the whole community is different. I used to feel safe and secure within the community, but now no longer know where I stand or who I can turn to. I hate the competitive edge, the jealousy and the comparisons. Blogging never used to be about this, it used to be supportive and you used to blog for you. It feels very much like school with the back stabbing and the need for attention and fame. I still blog for me and always have, not for stats, not for stuff, not for popularity, but for me and my family. Blogging is my way of combating depression and a way to capture memories of my family. Of course it has evolved and now gives me the opportunities to work from home to be with my children and I will always be grateful for this. I am grateful for each and every opportunity that has come our way. I put a lot of time and effort into this blog and work incredibly hard at it. Whilst I do work incredibly hard there is a part of me that feels lost and is struggling to come to terms with the changes of the blogging world.
I didn't really speak to many people but for those I did speak with [and you know who you are] it felt like old times again. It felt like that old community was back and it was this I needed. Whilst as a person I have never 'fitted in' and never been one of the popular kids, I felt like I belonged again.
As a person I am an observer, I always have been. I can absorb my surroundings and whilst it often looks as if I am not paying attention I can probably recite every presentation I attended word for word. A very handy skill I picked up accompanied with a photographic memory, means I can simply remember things. I can probably even tell you who was sat where and when, and who they were with. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the sessions I attended, in particular YouTube and Pinterest. Perhaps because I had gone in with no set agenda and simply to listen that I left both of these feeling inspired and with a new sense of purpose.
What started out as a day filled with dread, ended up with a new purpose and a new beginning. As Siân wisely said, 'Stop looking for a niche, the niche is you and your personality'
This day I love Blog camp 2016