Last weekend was incredibly surreal, encouraging, uplifting, energizing and dangerously inspiring. I took a mini trip to London to attend the first ever Blogtacular
and there are no words for how awesome it was.
When I first heard of it I got in contact with co-blogger and co-handmade-hag Maria
about attending Blogtacular along with me. Before long, we had our travel and hotel booked, bags packed, and I was about to meet her in our London hotel lobby. I should explain – we’ve never met before, but have spent years following and inappropriately commenting on each others blogs. So I had a “wait, is she a real person?
” moment. What if she’s a 45-year-old man who’s about to murder me with a hammer in the hotel bathroom?
Turns out Maria is
a real person, and a painfully lovely, quirky, hilarious
and easy going person at that, who didn’t resemble a serial killer in any way! Phew.
^ KEYNOTE ADDRESS with Joy Cho of Oh Joy!
Friday night started with a bang with a keynote address from the amazing Joy Cho. I foresee I’ll be saying this a lot in this post, but there are no words for how inspiring it was. Joy had incredible advice and some serious one-liners to add volumes to your self esteem. I was too giddy / starstruck / fangirling and unfortunately didn’t take any notes, but there’s good news – her presentation
will be available online soon
is now available for all to see and hear and be inspired
! It is well worth the watch, people.
I then attended Anne’s presentation on value. She spoke about her experiences, struggles, achievements, dreams, the opportunities that she’s been offered, and importantly, how to ask to get paid for your work when companies chance their arm at not mentioning money. A small few points of hers that resonated strongly with me were –
– Do the kind of work you want to be known for
– Learn to use limitations as opportunities to get creative
– Quality work takes time. Work with clients who will respect your work and your time
– Lawyers, doctors and plumbers don’t work for free, so why should you?
Next I sat in on Tilly and Vicky’s chat about going from blog to book. Setting aside the sleepless nights, going unshowered for weeks, contract stings, and red flags it takes to make a book, they focused on the positives as to how it’s easier for a blogger to take that step from screen to print –
– Bloggers already have a built audience
– They’ve established an illustrative and visual identity for ourselves through our blog already
– They already have a good understanding and eye for typography
– And more importantly, bloggers are good at dealing with and meeting deadlines, and practice discipline
Some serious inspiration to get me day dreaming about having my own home DIY book! Hah.
Maria and I then attended Ellie Tennants session on styling. I found it to be an exciting presentation and it gave us loads of inside tips and tricks for designing in front of the lens. A few key notes were –
– Be conscious of where the sun is and never use artificial lighting. Use light reflectors for dark spots in stead
– Add depth with layers. Three layers is best – background, middle, and foreground
– Less is more. Be ruthless and get rid of uneccessary items
– Practice wabi-sabi: the art of imperfection. If everything looks too perfect, it will look fake
After Ellie’s encouraging presentation, we all took turns styling a small set up based around hoards of beautiful props. Maria and I styled the above picture which perfectly collides my love of stripes with Maria’s dinki dots. And a perfect addition of wabi-sabi – one ‘fallen’ petal.
Natalie spoke at the end of the day, and even though energy levels were starting to deflate, she grabbed our attention, picked us up and finished Blogtacular on a high note. Some of Natalie’s encouraging one liners –
– If you try to please everyone, you will no longer be differentiating yourself from others
– You will have more ideas than time. This is okay
– When we compare ourself with others, we forget who we are. Go easy on yourself. This is your journey
– Dreams don’t work if you don’t
I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of Ellie’s new book, Design Bloggers at Home
and Joy’s book, Blog, Inc.
, followed quickly by dorking out and asked for their autographs. I’m always so torn in such situations – on one hand I don’t want to bother them with something as silly as an autograph, but on the other, it takes all of 30 seconds of their time for something I’ll have on my shelf forever. So I fan-girled big time at both ladies and stole away with their signatures.
It’s been four days since Blogtacular wrapped up on Saturday evening, and I’m still
feeling inspired and energized about all the information, tips and tricks I took from it. That’s
how you know it was good. I can’t wait to rewrite all my notes in proper penmanship in my notebook, and more importantly, put them into practice.
Thank you Kat and Kat. It was a spectrum of awesome.