Made By Mrs M

Stopping Doing ALL the Things - My Actions from Blogtacular

Blogging, Business, Events, InspirationKate Marsden

I came away from last Saturday's Blogtacular feeling a little different to last year. I don't know if it was the timing (with the election - let's not speak about that), the fact it's been a tough few months for my business, or the fact that I didn't manage to go on the photowalk or to the Friday night party this year but I felt a little tired and flat. By Monday morning though (still feeling tired!) I started looking through my notes, photos and goody bag and I can confirm that the event itself definitely wasn't responsible for my deflation.

Once again the opening keynote struck a chord. I'm really bad at saying no (mostly to myself but also to others) and I'm really really good at allowing the work to heap up until it swamps me and I feel totally overwhelmed. Natalie Lue really got me thinking and I'm pretty sure I'm wasting a whole heap of time doing stuff I don't really need to do (I'm even wondering if I should continue to blog three times a week - radical I know!).

She encouraged us to take a step back and look at what we're actually doing - I need to question if this is where I want to be, and if it isn't something has to change. As ever Blogtacular comes at a good time of year when my work tends to slow down a little anyway so this can be a good time to reflect.

And of course there was the old comparison trap - which we're all aware of yet all continue to fall into I'm sure - and I may have to pop up a quote on my wall - "You're seeing the tip not the iceberg"...

Natalie Lue - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Natalie Lue - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

I also got to show off my amazing new necklace which was made for me especially for the occassion by Ruth of I Am Acrylic - isn't it amazing?! It features my drawing of the National Theatre complete with polka dots! I had lots and lots of complements and you can be sure to see this one again (in fact I'll probably be wearing it to every event for the foreseeable future!).

So as ever, Blogtacular was a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with other creative bloggers (and non-bloggers) - it was great to catch up with people I hadn't seen for months, and in some cases years, and to meet some people I've known online for years (yes, my "computer friends"!).

After the opening keynote I went to a really good panel session with Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - it followed on nicely from Natalie's talk and focused on staying sane online. I defintely took some actions away from this one - social media has been making me pretty stressed recently but it's vital for driving traffic here and elsewhere and for staying in touch with people, so I need to look at how I'm managing this.

Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Alison Perry, Sunita Harley and Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

After a really tasty lunch (and a look at Lucy Heath's wonderful photo backdrop stall - see below - I'd pre-ordered one which you'll get to see lots of over the coming months!) I headed to the Finding Your Niche session with Cath Dean, the editor of Mollie Makes.

Cath took us through various exercises to help us to identify our niche and while I had done this type of thing before, it was a while ago, and I realised I needed to sit down properly and do it again. I didn't have time in the session to really think about things properly, so got to work on Monday and I'm still working on it. Needless to say quite a few things have changed since I last did this 2-3 years ago...

Cath Dean - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Cath Dean - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Finally it was on to what was probably the highlight of the day for me - Xanthe Berkeley's video workshop. I chickened out of going to this last year as I'm a bit scared of video - both filming it and being in it (OK, mostly being in it!) as it was a toss up between this and the self-doubt session I decided I'd just throw caution to my self-doubt and do the video!

Xanthe Berkeley - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

Xanthe Berkeley - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

And I'm so glad I did. We had so much fun and I learnt quite a lot in just an hour and a half! Here's my little film...

So now I'm completely addicted and may just start filming EVERYTHING (and really annoying my husband and son!)...

The closing keynote was the rather lovely Emma Gannon (I bought her book and I'm already racing through it - by my standards anyway as I have so little time for reading!). I had that whole "Emma's so young and successful and I'll feel inadequate" thing, but she is so very good at what she does that I forgot all about that. Lots of words of wisdom and again following on so nicely from Natalie's opening keynote, it gave me plenty of food for thought...

 Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

 Emma Gannon - Image (c) Blogtacular/Amber-Rose Photography

So onto my actions...

  • Video - I really want to do more of this. So I set up a new YouTube channel the other day and now I need to fill it with stuff! I made a slightly less successful film in Columbia Road Flower Market on Saturday and shoved that up there too (not sure what happened to the format it looks pefect on my phone - still lots to learn!) but anyway - following Natalie Lue's advice again and taking an "imperfect step"! You can see my YouTube channel here - I don't expect anyone to subscribe but if you do it'll make my day!
  • Working on my niche - this is both for the marketing of my products and services, and for this blog - the audiences are similar but not the same so this is going to take some time. I've started though and plan to finish and start putting it into action asap.
  • Create Twitter lists - Emma Gannon recommended making a list with the people who inspire and lift you so you can essentially create a curated feed. As mine's been getting me down so much recently I'm planning to do this. Doesn't mean I won't look at my whole feed but it'll be nice to be able to step back from some of the negativity when I need to.
  • Podcasts - they're up there with books as something I say I don't have time for - but you know I'm sure I do. I've subscribed to Emma's and I'm keeping an eye out for more - let me know if there's one you think I'll like!
  • Identify new blogs to read - I'm guilty of just reading a handful regularly and dipping in and out of others as and when I see an interesting tweet or Instagram post - I'm going to hunt out some which will inspire me - starting with people from Blogtacular...
  • List everything I do - in a typical week and work out what I can stop doing - there must be loads of stuff! I'm feeling completely frazzled at the moment - so I will be going back to think about how often I blog and whether that's too much.
  • No more actions! So one of my actions is to stop writing so many actions! I've attended online webinars and talks and all sorts of events lately and have so many pages/books full of things I HAVE to do - it's too much - hence I'm frazzled. I need to take that step back, stop doing ALL the things and start planning out my time in a more effective and efficient way. It might even mean I get some time off occassionally!

And that's that for my annual dose of creative business fun! I'm interested to know what plans Blogtacular will have for next year - you can find out more about the event on their website.