What Blissdom Canada 2012 gave me

View from my #blissdomca hotel room
Hey look! Here’s the first picture I took post-lesson. Not great, but not completely terrible. It’s a start.

I came back from the third annual Blissdom Canada inspired to write more (thank you Haley and Ali). I also got ideas and tips for improving my iPhoneography skills (thank you Schmutzie). I had told Haley that I needed to ‘kick my own ass a bit’ and I think this conference has helped me do that. I’d like to thank all the organizers and speakers for all the work they did to make it a success.

(An aside, when I told Sean that the conference was at the Sheraton Centre downtown, he looked at me and asked “are you staying at the Sheraton Hotel in Canada? Have you been selected to represent the school at the National Grammar Rodeo? Sean makes me laugh. This line is from Season 7, episode 21 of the Simpsons. I couldn’t find a video clip of it so you’ll have to catch the episode in syndication sometime.)

I was thrilled to be able to tell Susan Cain how fascinating I found her book in person at her book signing. When I showed her my Kobo with her book on the screen, she told me that it was the first time she had seen the ereader version of her book. To think she had to come to another country to see it! That makes me smile.

I also stayed in a hotel room all by myself for the first time. This is a big deal for me.I wrote about wanting to do this back in January 2011 but haven’t been able to make it happen until now. When I bought my conference ticket, I booked the hotel room that day, knowing I could always cancel, but also knowing that I wouldn’t. I’m a person who needs her alone time and I don’t get nearly enough of it. (Funny, I’ve written about this before too.) As much as I was enjoying the conference and all the learning I was doing, I couldn’t wait for that window between sessions where I could check in to my room, dump my stuff and sit down in the quiet for a few minutes before I got back to the noise of hundreds of people at a conference.

I finally got that opportunity, but it was cut short because it was in the window of time before the aforementioned Susan Cain went up on stage to speak about introversion. There’s a joke in here, right? I was not missing that talk, so I put my stuff down and zipped back downstairs and took part in the rest of the conference. I did not regret my choice. I learned from all of the speakers, and the questions that were asked of them.

I had considered skipping the closing party to enjoy my purchased solitude. I didn’t have a costume and I had been stuffed up most of the day so I wasn’t sure I should be unleashing karaoke on anyone*. My need for a few drinks and a few laughs (and let’s face it, the karaoke) trumped my need for solitude at that point and I had a good time with everyone. Of course, I lived up to my introvert ideals by having the best moments when listening to conversations and occasionally contributing versus cutting it up on the dance floor. (Dancing can be fun, but it’s not my strong suit.) At the end of the night, I went back to my quiet room, had a great sleep in a king-sized bed and lounged around Sunday morning before I packed up, checked out and went home.

So Blissdom gave me a lot this year – more than what was on the website and in the conference brochure. I’m saying out loud that I plan to make the most of what I’ve been given. I hope you do too. How do you plan to improve your blog or other online work?

* I don’t get my love for karaoke either. I am totally on Team Introvert, but for some reason, I love doing karaoke. I think it’s because it’s a forgiving medium. You can be bad and people will still cheer you on. My experiences around karaoke really need a post of their own.

33 thoughts on “What Blissdom Canada 2012 gave me

  1. Melissa, bummed I couldn’t attend this year and so didn’t get the chance to hang with you! Glad you had such a great experience. I’m reading Susan’s book too – also love it. The book has made me reflect on my own introversion tendencies (and that of my husband and daughter as well). Definitely a future blog post in the making on this.

    So hopefully…I’ll see you next year!

    • I was bummed I didn’t see you either. I talked with Sherrie and she said you’ve been traveling a lot lately. Next year!

      As I was reading Quiet, I kept seeing myself, my husband and my daughter. Understanding some of the why behind our behaviours has really been an eye-opener for me.

  2. Melissa, first of all, you rocked the karaoke stage. I loved that. While I don’t consider myself an introvert – the stage is not within my comfort zone. This is especially true for singing – which I only do when I am by myself in the car and even then, only when the music is loud enough that I don’t even have to hear myself singing along.
    Your post really captures what I love most about Blissdom and our community. That we can each have our needs met and seek out to fill ourselves up. So happy that the weekend was so good for you and I’m sorry that we didn’t get a chance to connect. I’ll add this to my list of needs for next year.

    • Thank you Candace! It’s funny, I was rarely brave enough to go on stage during my school years. I was always behind the scenes or down in the orchestra pit. I’m making up for lost time! πŸ™‚ I’m a huge car singer. Other drivers must laugh at me. At least I don’t have the windows open – I subscribe to the theory “if you can’t sing it well, sing it loud!”

      We will definitely have to connect next year. I love how you encourage the community to be better. We all want to feel like part of the community, but I want to do more to help perpetuate that. People have been good to me, so I want to pay it forward.

  3. I’m not making my own post about Blissdom, but it was certainly an awesome conference. My first of that kind, and I’m definitely looking forward to next year already. Haley’s microsession was really good for inspiring us to blog more wasn’t it? I already have plans and have put aside a bunch of time this week just to work on writing posts. Thank goodness, because it was starting to look a little to empty at my blog lately!

    It was great meeting you this year!

    • I’m happy we got to meet at the conference, and that you enjoyed your first Blissdom Courtney. I’ve been tapping notes like crazy into my Evernote account so I can keep track of all the ideas I’ve gotten thanks to this weekend. Here’s hoping we can both keep up our momentum! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Rebecca. That means all the over thinking about song choice was worth it. πŸ™‚

      It was nice to stay at the party without worrying about turning into a pumpkin. (An issue whether you’re TTC-ing or GO-ing.) Could become a habit.

      Glad I got to hang out with you. πŸ™‚

  4. One of the things I seriously regret about missing this year is seeing Susan Cain! I have the book but I haven’t finished it yet. It sounds like you had a wonderful experience – as usual. I’m glad it was a good conference. Maybe, just maybe, I can manage to make it next year. πŸ˜‰ I will really be missing my bloggy friends by then!

    • Finish the book! I read it mostly on my commute so you might like it on the bus (if you can read on the bus, that is). I really hope you can make it out next year. I missed seeing you. You’ve been so busy lately, which is usually a good (and sometimes bad!) thing. Hope you, Matt and Brandon are doing well. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who needs alone time! I’m a solo hotel room person as well. I really enjoyed my time at Blissdom but the ability to retreat made the weekend for me. Team Introvert all the way!

    • I didn’t retreat as much as I would have liked, but it was a busy ~30 hours (I only stayed on Saturday night). Still having that complete freedom and no one to answer to or worry about was wonderful, if temporary. πŸ™‚

  6. Every year I leave these events/conferences and commit to become a better writer – and I think, while a slow process, each year I improve. My biggest goal is to produce great content for the blog consistently – time is always an issues but I will make it.

    Great recap! Wonderful seeing you;)

  7. I rarely have the opportunity but I love staying in a hotel room by myself – glad you enjoyed the experience! I attended BlogWest this past spring and the whole thing was a great experience, but I think my absolute favorite part was staying alone in my room and room service breakfast one morning all by myself in peace and quiet before enjoying the busy fun of the sessions πŸ™‚

    • That sounds wonderful! I didn’t do room service but I considered it. I had to clear out fairly early to make it home in time to take my daughter to a birthday party Sunday afternoon. That’s okay with me because I don’t eat eggs and most restaurant breakfasts have too much eggs for my liking. πŸ™‚

  8. Another Team Introvert member, right here (in fact, that was the theme of my Blissdom post!) but good for you for tackling the karaoke. I think it’s so fantastic that there can be 500 people at Blissdom and we all take away different things from it.

  9. I totally get your excitement over staying in a hotel alone for the first time. I did this last year when I was trying to get the final revisions on my thesis finished. I booked myself into a local hotel, and spent the night writing. I even ventured out and ate dinner solo at the hotel restaurant. A bit weird, but fun.

    • Dinner at a nice (read: not fast food restaurant) is also on my list. I eat at fast food chains by myself without issue; but I love the idea of a nice dinner, glass of wine and a good book while out and about. Getting away to write your thesis was a really good idea. No distractions from home!

  10. I love karaoke too! There’s something about it that makes you feel invincible to the rest of the world. I left this conference with so much confidence in myself that I can’t wait for reality to sink back in so I can get back to writing. I think the most important thing I took away from Blissdom is that everything is achievable with a good attitude and spell check ;D

  11. Such a great post! And I always stay by myself too. I need a place to hide sometimes. Plus I don’t like to have to share a bathroom. Not a grossout thing, but I like being able to sprawl my crap all over the place and take as long as needed with the hair dryer, heh. πŸ™‚

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Susan Cain. I really hoped she’d speak directly to the souls of a lot of our audience. Sounds like she did.

    • I thought she was an inspired choice for a conference full of Internet people. πŸ™‚

      It feels good to be able to spread your stuff out when you get into a hotel room. I have no problem sharing space but it’s nice to just own all the space.

  12. I’m an extrovert and tend to overwhelm myself with constant commotion on the conference floor and off… maybe I should look into my own room one of these times. I think having that alone time could actually be a good thing for me to experience. Feeding our souls is important and whatever we need to do that, we should.

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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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