This year was my first experience at Blissdom, and I know that there are lots of bloggers who haven't been able to go to a blogging conference yet. I want to encourage you to think about going and to start saving your pennies. And as a rookie who just learned a thing or two, I'd like to share a couple of pieces of advice.
(photo courtesy of Melissa)
- Build a positive online reputation. Don't worry that you won't fit in at a conference; act right now to make sure that you DO fit in. Before Blissdom I'd only met a few bloggers face-to-face. But I already knew a number of women through our blogs, and meeting them in person was just the icing on the cake. So here's my advice: realize that your online reputation precedes you. In writing your own posts and in commenting on others' posts, a) be yourself and b) be nice. Comment often and be encouraging! Snarkiness and pettiness will come back to haunt you. We all have days when we're feeling grumpy, of course, but I wonder if we'd all be better off if we refrained from typing too much on those days.
- Find a roommate. Or two or three. I'm serious about this, for several reasons. Obviously the cost of attending the conference will be considerably less if you share your room expense with others. (For the record, our room at the Opryland, including all taxes and fees, cost $149 per night. We stayed three nights. Three of us split the cost, so we each paid just $149 for our entire stay.) Besides the cost savings, having a roommate makes the whole experience more fun--like a slumber party inside a conference. And most importantly, having a roommate will encourage you to be more engaged in the conference. You won't be tempted to slink back off to your room and watch TV or surf the internet--you'll stay and mingle and attend workshops and learn, which is the whole point of attending the conference in the first place.
I don't want to brag, but I do think I had the best roommates at the whole conference. I got to be the oldest of what I like to think of as a group of three sisters. Cyndi from Walking in His Grace and Traci from Beneath My Heart are real-life sisters, and they welcomed me into their family for the week. I'd never met either of them in real life before, but I'd formed a deep connection with them online. And I'm here to tell you: these online connections are REAL!
If by any chance you don't already read Cyndi's blog or Traci's blog, you should go visit right now. Please tell them I sent you. Tell 'em their old red-headed sister sent you their way!
And one more thing: if you'd like a chance to win all the cool swag I received while I was at Blissdom, click here to enter my giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment on that post if you want to win. I'll choose a winner on Monday morning!
Have a wonderful weekend!