On Monday morning, as I cleaned the bathroom, I felt quite tearful as I reflected on a wonderful weekend. I make no apologies for feeling emotional about my weekend. I didn’t sleep much and drank a lot, but the emotion comes not from feeling fragile but from feeling very fortunate and proud to be part of the parent blogging community.
I attendeda two-day conference for bloggers at a venue in London.
It is a treat to board a train alone and head off to the capital city for the weekend. To enjoy the freedom two days in the company of friends. Without parental responsibilities or domestic chores. To learn, to laugh and to have uninterrupted adult conversation. I accept the level of intellectual debate may have been adversely affected by the level of wine consumed. I very much appreciate the opportunity that blogging has given me to be part of such an event.
The weekend was better than I expected for a range of reasons. I found the sessions and speakers useful and informative. There was a good balance of the social. The brands and marketing are something I’ve learnt take at my own pace.
In comparison, last year I attended Cybermummy with the same thrill of a weekend away. I was both nervous and excited to meet people whose blogs I had read, whom exchanged 140 characters with on twitter. Initially, I found the conference overwhelming. I was in awe of people whose blogs I admired. Some I was too nervous to speak to. There was so much to take in.
Over the year I’ve come to appreciate that blogging is actually a level playing field. Of course, bloggers have their friends and their groups, different audiences and stats but there is a shared experience of blogging. Most bloggers are genuinely interested in other bloggers. There is a strong sense of inclusive community.
I enjoyed being a ‘Butterfly’. Meeting new people I may not have otherwise met. I loved spending time with the people behind the blogs that are favorites of mine. Appreciating the depth of friendship that the daily exchange on twitter, the shared experience of life through blog posts creates.
There are so many people who contributed to the richness of my weekend. I can’t begin to name them all. I didn’t spent time with anyone, however brief, who didn’t somehow add something positive.
I have many highlights. Two things particularly:
The bloggers keynote on Saturday evening. Listening to various bloggers share posts and admire the sheer talent in the community. Throughout those readings I nodded in agreement. I cried. I howled with laughter. With the rest of the room, I rose to my feet and applauded, full of raw emotion and huge respect for one woman’s journey and honesty. For me, this is what blogging is about; Giving a voice. An inspiring voice.
And I won. Actual me. I won The Brilliance in Blogging award for Lit. The other finalists are exceptional and each very deserving. I am genuinely surprised to be the winner. The memory of the warmth in the response of audience was both humbling and exhilarating and something I shall treasure. To be to voted into the last eight by my peers was my pinnacle. To surpass that and to win is incredible. I didn’t have an acceptance speech planned, I’m not sure I said anything coherent. I was overwhelmed. All I can add is: Thank you to those that voted. Thank you to those that read my blog. Thank you to those that comment. It is comments that make blogging so rewarding.
When I tuck my son up in bed at night and I’ve tidied away the debris of the day. It is good to know that I can open my laptop and my screen be lit by a diverse community of blogs; to read, to have an outlet to share and to be part of. I’m very grateful for that and I’m very proud to be part of that community.