I had to physically restrain myself from calling this post “Problogger. The pissed party people’s paradise” because it seemed like my Instagram feed was full of just that – a lot of happy drunken punters and not all that many “probloggers”.
The Problogger Event is a conference aimed at helping bloggers make money from their blog. I went last year, but this year’s event resonated with me far more. Perhaps I was in a different head-space and in a position to consider monetising my blog. Or perhaps I found the conference less of a blogging fiesta and more of a life coaching intensive. It sounds weird, but it actually worked for me given that I appear to be at a crossroads in my life at the moment. I just wish Dean and Castiel would turn up at my crossroads sometime.
I found myself less “educated” and more “inspired”. I was an emotional wreck for a good deal of it. Between Clare Bowditch’s story of her sister dying young, to Sam Johnson’s moving and raw plight to raise money to fight breast cancer, I yoyoed between fits of laughter and paroxysms of tears. It descended into “Problogger. Parade of puffy peepholes”.
The overwhelming message I got from the conference, which relates as much to life as it does to blogging is “start somewhere”. I have so many ideas, so many dreams and am often struck down by roadblocks. Clare put it perfectly in the chorus of the song she sang for us:
“You don’t have to be one thing. But you have to start with something.” Sing it, sista.
10 Highlights of Problogger:
- Laughter. Never underestimate it. I lost count of the number of people who made me laugh. The conference speakers, my anchors (bloggers I’ve known for a while who I feel comfortable with) and new bods, many of whom I had no idea existed before the event. These women were inappropriate, uproarious and didn’t take themselves seriously. My kind of people. I think it’s unrealistic for everyone to like, or be liked by, everyone else, but in a sea of 450 faces, there was a little somethinsomethin for all of us.
- Meeting Clare Bowditch. A beautiful woman both inside and out, she seemed to have time for everybody at the conference. I don’t know how she does it – it would bugger me sideways to have everyone wanting a piece of me. I did have a question for her, though – (sub) urban legend whispers that she used to live on my street, so I asked her (she did). We had a bit of a chat about the ‘hood before she flew away. I was proud of myself for approaching her. It’s difficult enough introducing yourself to a stranger, let alone a celebrity, so, yay me.
- Being inspired. Of particular note was Clare’s keynote where she talked about unlocking the right side of your brain to get to the creative (and had I known she was as hilarious as she was a musical savant, I’d have been a fan-girl long before this). She got us to write down what we wanted to be when we were kids, what our dreams were. I wrote “Diplomat (cue huge peals of laughter). Writer. Actress. Interior designer. Air hostess. Lego technician.” Her message was that these were the things I should be doing and I realised they were also the things I’d lost sight of in pursuit of the corporate dollar. [Except for the Air Hostess and Diplomat thing - I remember thinking they both sounded unbelievably sexy as a kid, but I didn't really know what either entailed]. It was interesting that the people around me wrote one or two things and I had like, seven, which has always been part of my problem. Too many dreams, too many paths.
- Trey Ratcliff. I’d never heard of Trey before Problogger. He is a photographer/blogger and what he does is basically what I want to do – take brilliant photos (I don’t care if they are processed or not) and tell the stories behind them. His keynote was the thing that pushed me over the edge in terms of what I need to do next. He is in many ways the ultimate geek (don’t even start me on those Google Glasses), but his candidness about his squiffy brain (he has been blind in one eye since birth) really resonated with me. My brain has changed in the last few years and it can make it harder to decide which path to go down, but I think it has also made me more creative. I love photography. It’s so obvious for me. And I’m a bit mad that I haven’t done something real about it before tomorrow.
- Self-enforced breakout sessions with my chums. It was naughty to wag some of the sessions but totally worth it. Also, the discovery that tequila is a remarkable substitute for vodka in an Espresso Martini. You can’t pay for those insights. Oh wait, actually I did.
- The Friday night party. Who doesn’t freaking well love a PAHTAY, particularly one next to a pool with fire dancers, burlesque lovelies, vodka cranberries, bubbly and boob-offs with other bloggers?
- The pedicab ride after the party with Grace and Kirri. It was ambitious to fit three of us in the back of a pedicab, particularly one with an enormous backside, but our hot pedicabber “T” took our minds off the squish. Hoorah!
- Giving myself permission. Permission to let go of comparing myself (often unfavourably) with other bloggers. It’s human nature to do it, but it can cause that mental knot that stops us blogging (or doing anything we love). Note: this is extremely hard when plopped into a room of extremely successful bloggers.
- More insights. Liquid gold poured from the mouths of the speakers. This is where lessons for real life kicked in for me. Perhaps my two favourites gems were ”Fear is a signal that something important is about to happen – pay attention to it” (Darren Rowse) and “You do what you love – you don’t care who shows up” (Trey Ratcliff).
- Alone time. Meeting new friends and catching up with old ones was magnificent, but at the end of the day it was good to take my own company to bed. And I didn’t have to keep my room tidy or wear frilly knickers to feel comfortable doing it.
Did you go to Problogger? What did you come home with (don’t say a hangover and frangipani thongs).