Well, despite all of my misplaced anxiety about what to wear to a conference, the night before I was set to travel to Atlanta found me not in a salon getting my nails painted, or even up in my room, putting together snazzy outfits, but rather out in the garden, till well after dark. There were plants that needed planting. And it was I who had to plant them. And so, I did my packing well after midnight – quickly – and without much thought. The plants got into the ground and I had (almost) enough underwear for my trip.
My flights (coming and going) were relatively uneventful. I’m a nervous flyer. Truth be told, I loathe flying. I’ll tell you though, United is my new favorite airline. On both of my flights, I was provided with my very own pilot to sit next to. I’m not kidding. In uniform even. On the way down, my pilot chatted with me about blogging and power tools. He asked for my card. And on the way back? In the tiny, tiny, airplane? That pilot chatted with me about kids and schools and cars and when there was turbulence he switched to lessons on aerodynamics, thermal updrafts and he assured me that size does not matter. . .
But I know that you don’t want to hear about the planes, trains, and automobile parts of my trip. You want to hear about the Haven Conference! It’s taken me this long to sit down and write about the conference because it really was a lot to absorb. So I gave up and decided to write the post anyway. I can give you the highlights – and there were a lot of them – but I think it will take me weeks to really soak in all of the information. A few things became very clear to me though. . . most importantly? Blogging? It’s a business. And sometimes? It’s a BIG business. I knew that I would have a “fun” time but i really didn’t anticipate the wealth of teaching sessions that I would encounter. There was an incredible wealth of information being offered – one blogger to another. Big blogger to smaller blogger. What an opportunity. Truly inspiring…
I don’t think that is the part of my trip that you want to hear about either. And to be honest, that’s kind of the “behind the scenes” stuff. Not so much the man behind the curtain but rather the engineer on the train. She’s up there – driving – even though you can’t see her or what she’s doing? You can still sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ll try to provide you with lots of beautiful scenery. All you have to do is get on the train! And bring your friends! All of them.
I was continually startled to be among so many women (and a couple of men, too) who were all speaking the same blogging language. I told someone recently that I was “blogging in a bubble”. Well, that bubble has burst. Thursday morning, we all gathered together in one room for an opening session. I will admit to being a tiny bit overwhelmed, but thoroughly excited!
Do you read Young House Love?
If you were at all in doubt that blogging is (or at least, can be) a business, just have a look at all the businesses that want to do business with bloggers.
Other sponsors at the conference included companies like: Kregg, Fish Foam Window Cleaner, Homes.com, Bondo, Cutter, Mirror Mate Frames, Royal Design Studio Stencil Collection, Columbia Forest Products, Oreck, and Mail Chimp.
I’d say the most lively booth at the conference was definitely the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Booth.
On the business side of blogging I attended sessions about growing your blog, and moving your blog from a hobby to a business. There were also sessions on advertising and PR.
Without the content in each and every one of our blogs though, there would be nothing to sponsor. I was very happy to hear this mantra repeated over and over at the conference.
CONTENT IS KING
I attended more sessions having to do with my content than anything else. Among the most popular of these sessions were Advanced Painting, with Miss Mustard Seed and Carpentry with Ana White.
Ana White is quite the woman. It was inspiring to watch her do her thing. And man, does she do it with style!
When I arrived for my Advanced Painting session (45 minutes early!!) I got one of the very last seats!
I am eagerly anticipating the introduction of Miss Mustard Seed’s line of Milk Paint. Seriously, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I was actually able to see the packaging, get a lesson on mixing the paint (it arrives in powder form and is mixed, at home, with water) and I got to try some out on a sample board. I have a 6″ piece of decorative molding painted in Lucketts Green! It’s a beautiful color – just like all the others. The paint will hopefully be available by the end of August – there have been some delays in the paint coming out but I know it will be worth the wait!
As you know, this was my first conference on blogging. There are others – I know because I researched them when I thought I would not be able to get a ticket to Haven 2012. I’d say there is a good chance that I will attend some of them, too. However, before I got my ticket to Haven I was convinced that it would be the perfect conference for me. I was so right. I know it might seem a little strange but the one most surprising aspect of this whole thing was the people I met and the friendships I formed. The dinner that I had on Thursday night at a Mexican restaurant rivaled any of the conference sessions for benefit to me and to my blog. And I almost didn’t go. I almost decided to stay in. I don’t have a picture of that evening (because I left my cash, camera, and even my iPhone in my room by mistake) but I won’t forget the friendships begun. By Friday I started taking some pictures and having some pictures taken. . . here are just a few of my new friends. . .
Lesli writes and paints at My Old Country House. You need to check out her pet portraits!
Kelli blogs at Restore Interiors. You can read her story and see her beautiful home, there. You would have to attend a blogging conference if you want her to take you to the Waffle House and talk with you for 3 hours.
I think I could talk about the Haven Conference for days. But I won’t. I need to get back into the groove of creating and sharing things with you. Four days away from home (and the planning on the front end – and the recovery on the back end) has gotten me pretty far away from productive. I do have some great things in store for you and don’t worry, the conference will keep coming up in conversation from time to time. It really gave me so much to think about.
I want to say THANK YOU to the Haven Team. The conference seemed effortless and I know that takes an incredible amount of effort.
And in case you were wondering, my business cards were perfect (for me). I was proud to hand them out. I have yet to sit down with all of the cards I got ( i wish i had gotten more – and i’ll keep that in mind for next time) and go through them and connect with the amazing creative forces behind them. They’re all art work. I wonder. . . what could I make with these. . . Maybe I could. . . ah. . . i’m feeling creative. I’m getting off this computer!
Have you been to a blogging conference? Which one has been your favorite? In May, I went to Virginia to the Lucketts Spring Market and in June, I went to Haven 2012. . . I think I’m becoming a trip junky. . . I’m already wondering where I should go next! Where do you think I should go in July?? Make it somewhere I can drive to unless you can provide me with my own pilot to sit next to me on the plane!