My #BlissdomCanada recap: better late than never

So my Blissdom recap is happening more a full week after I came home from the last party. You know, the one where that guy from the late-80s boyband showed up.

No matter, I’m choosing to believe that I’ve taken time to consider my thoughts and formulate my opinions. It was not that my laptop was busted or that I have a life outside of the Internet – I mean really, who has *that* these days?

So I went to Blissdom Canada. I had a good time. It felt different from last year. I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs all week and I’m not the only one who feels that way. I’m just glad I’m not crazy! The conference, and expo hall, were much larger. The round tables at the front of the session rooms filled up quickly so I usually ended up in the rows of seats at the back of the room. That took away from the community vibe a bit, but doing the whole room with tables would have fit fewer people in so I get why it was done that way.

A lot of people talked about feeling alone or disconnected from other people at the conference. I felt that way too sometimes, but honestly, I expected that. I go to these conferences alone. I’ve connected with lots of the attendees online and met several of them last year. Even with that ‘in’, I don’t like to interrupt other people’s conversations. I often spend a lot of time listening or observing in group situations. By the time I’m ready to comment on something, the moment has passed. I did my best to come out of my shell, but I know I didn’t interact nearly as much as I observed and listened. I did have a great dinner Friday night with Mel and Sherrie Mae, which made up for a lot of the shyness I was feeling earlier in the day.

Many (but not all) of the sessions talked about monetizing your blog, building your personal/professional brand, and working with corporate brands. I left the conference with my intent not to do any of those things intact. I’ve been comforted to learn this week that I am not the only person that feels that way.

When I introduced myself to people, my answer to their first question “how long have you been blogging?” was usually “I’ve been writing online for 11 years, but I’m not very good at it, because my stats aren’t great and my readership is small.” I inwardly cringed every time I said this, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was trying to build myself up by mentioning my longevity in the genre (even though longevity doesn’t really matter). Then I instantly knocked myself back down by saying that even though I have lots of experience, I’m still not “good at it”.

Way to go, self.

I don’t have as many readers and feedback as someone who hustles like crazy to promote themselves and their blog. While I have been blogging a long time, I haven’t always done it consistently. I also haven’t participated in the community aspect of blogging as much as I would like. I read, but rarely comment. (Hey, I remember when blogs didn’t even have comments!) So really, what am I doing to earn readers and feedback?

I want my voice, my writing, to matter. I realize this makes me sound incredibly narcissistic. I write about my life on the internet as a hobby – of course I’m (at least a little) narcissistic.

So ultimately, my takeaways are as follows:

  • In order to publish more, I need to write more. I need to find the time to do this.
  • I need to earn the feedback I want. Good writing is only the start.
  • I need to get a better handle on tasteful promotion, so I can get what I want without feeling gross or dirty about it.
  • I need to stop diminishing myself and develop confidence in my writing and my voice.

Now to actually get started on these things. Advice is welcome.

7 thoughts on “My #BlissdomCanada recap: better late than never”

  1. Hi Melissa,

    I’m glad we got to grab a quick lunch across the table from each other. πŸ™‚ I know it was brief but I’m glad it happened.

    I too have been reading a lot of the blogs that have been written in the week following Blissdom Canada. I agree that things were different than last year. This is for a bunch of reasons, the one that sticks out in my mind the most is that this wasn’t the 1st time. I think people’s “first” can never be duplicated and it shouldn’t. Secondly, this year there were double the attendees from last year, not to mention double the sponsors. That alone will drive a different feeling all together. Can you imagine what it would have felt like if those 400 people on the waiting list would have been able to attend? πŸ™‚

    Next year I plan on attending my first BlogHer conference, I hear that thousands attend those and they are crazy jam packed.

    p.s. I don’t have a huge readership either on my blog. Don’t worry, that doesn’t define if you’re good at it or not. πŸ™‚ Some of the biggest boxoffice hits at the theatre sucked. πŸ™‚ it’s not about the numbers. Keep writing for you and write about what you want to write about, when you want to write it.

    As my hubby says, “Keep on keeping on”.

    • Thank you Shash for taking the time to comment. I’m glad we were able to have quick chat at lunch too. You were so busy throughout. The whole conference team did a great job!

      I absolutely agree with you that a lot of the “different” feeling simply stemmed from it being the second year. It was so much larger, and with a larger crowd, it’s much harder to maintain that intimate vibe. I just hope that people who were attending for the first time felt welcome amongst all the talk of “it’s different this year”. Different doesn’t mean bad (I certainly don’t mean it that way), it’s just different.

      I didn’t realize the waiting list was that large. Clearly, we are all dying for conferences/gatherings like this in Canada! I’m a little intimidated by BlogHer due to its size so maybe I’m just better suited to smaller conferences. Maybe I’m just not extroverted enough offline. πŸ™‚

  2. i was really glad to meet you last weekend, Melissa.

    and it’s funny, i’ve heard similar kinds of things from a few people (Blissdom attendees and not) this past week: things to the effect of “my stats & comments are small and that means my voice doesn’t matter.” some have said they feel they should close their blog as a result. others, like you, take the message away that they’re not good at what they’re doing.

    i’ve seen it enough that it feel like there’s a trend, a shift behind it. i wonder if what’s happened is things have gotten so results-focused (and by results, i unfortunately don’t mean friendships and connections) that people are beginning to feel like the reflections of voice they DO have aren’t enough? and like the system isn’t transparent enough to know how to change? or like it’s just become too much work?

    i’m really asking, and really interested. i don’t think you’re not good at it.

    • Thank you for your kind words Bon. I was really happy to meet you too. (I was too shy to say hi last year. )

      I suspect that my “not good at it” feelings may have come from a combination of drama-queenery (looking for validation from others through negative self-talk) and perhaps a bit of subconscious sour grapes due to not getting as much attention as the latest and greatest blogger (monetized or not).

      I don’t want to be that person. She’s annoying. That person doesn’t help bridge the (perceived) divide between early bloggers and new ones. That person isn’t welcoming. That person isn’t connecting with others unless they’ve talked to her first. That person doesn’t get it.

      I want to get it.

      Normally I don’t care too much about the stats/readership (I barely look at my stats to be honest). Before and after both Blissdoms I felt I had to. To see if I measured up to all these other voices that seemed to be better amplified than mine. The problem is that those numbers don’t really tell me anything in comparison to others. And this is not a pissing contest. There’s no competition.

  3. Hey Melissa! This was my first Blissdom conference, so it was all fresh and new to me. And I loved it. Almost every, single bit actually. But I’ve also been reading everyone’s posts on it and I feel like the more “old skool” bloggers didn’t like it so much. I’m pretty new at the whole blogging thing, and I wouldn’t want to say my stats out loud to some of the panelists and other bloggers that were at the conference since the gap would be staggering. I’m pretty sure we didn’t meet because I never met anyone who intro’d themselves with the “blogging 11 years but not good at it,” elevator pitch πŸ˜‰ — but I’d love to meet you in person if you come again next year. Or if you attend another event that we’re both at. Until then, I’ll continue to follow you about on twitter! πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your thoughts in this recap post. I’ve really been enjoying everyone’s different perspectives.

    • Hi Julie – I don’t think we met, but I wish we did. I’ve been reading your site and following you on Twitter for awhile. πŸ™‚

      I want to be clear that I enjoyed myself at the conference and I think the organizers did a great job. I think part of my feelings come from comparing between last year and this year. And the fact that the conference was much bigger made it harder to make more connections. (There’s so many people I wanted to talk to and didn’t, or didn’t talk to enough!)

      I’ve also decided that I don’t want to be so worried by the numbers, especially when talking to others. No good can come of it, so why worry about it? Since I’m not being paid to write about my life, it’s not like they matter much anyway. πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  4. Me again! You know what probably made a difference for me? My very first blogging-related conference was BlogHer in NYC. It was massive, with an entire floor dedicated to corporate exhibitors and huge crowds in every session. So I guess in comparison, Blissdom Canada felt down-right homey πŸ™‚

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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