You know all those nerves I had going into the Allume conference last week? They pretty much went away by Thursday night. I couldn't have asked for better roomies (thanks for putting up with me Jess and Mandy!), and the blogging community is just as nice in real life as they are online.
We had so.much.fun!
What I know now, that I wish I knew a week ago
1. Come with extra space in your suitcase or an entirely empty one.
We received so much swag from the sponsors – books, tees, food, gifts – I barely had enough totes to bring it all home, and I can't imagine what it was like for those who had to fly out!
If you're interested in browsing the list of books I snagged, head on over to my book blog for the details.
2. Have an organizational system for your business cards.
Because everyone is passing out their business card, you want to make sure you remember the ones that stand out, so you can connect with them when you get back home. I grabbed an extra key ring, hole punch from my crafting supplies, and little pouch to hold them all in my purse.
Every time someone gave me a card, I punched a hole in it, slid it on my key ring, and jotted down a note on the back (like where they were from, etc) so I would remember later.
I saw other bloggers with mini notebooks and tape, but I really like this system and thought it worked so well!
3. You're going to be overwhelmed.
Just take pages and pages of notes, and when you get home, then you can start to process everything. I had ideas, mission statements, and conversations with other bloggers all running around in my head.
Although there isn't a lot of time between sessions to relax (you really get the most for your money!), even just a few minutes alone in the hotel room jotting down your thoughts can be really therapeutic.
4. People who take the initiative, have the most fun.
We met Laura of Organizing Junkie late Thursday night and hung out in her room getting to know one another in a much smaller atmosphere. She's an introvert, as am I, and sometimes the crowds and noise can be a bit too much.
I also met Laurie from Passionate Penny Pincher, a deal/coupon blogger from Alabama who is just as much in love with Publix as I (and I don't even live down South yet!) We had dinner together on Friday and could not stop talking about blogging! I also found out she donates 50% of her blogging proceeds to charity. Isn't that awesome?
I would not have met the amount of bloggers I did had I not been willing to take the first step and introduce myself.
5. Bloggers with the most page views, are surprisingly often, the most humble.
We found ourselves in line at lunch with Darren Rowse of Problogger and were surprised at how down-to-earth he was. I guess we weren't sure what to expect!
After listening to his keynote on Saturday morning, we were convinced pride is not in his vocabulary – he genuinely wants to help others succeed and it was an honor to chat with him.
I was pleasantly surprised by all the “bigger bloggers” who demonstrated humbleness.
Should you go to a blogging conference?
If you take your blog seriously, then yes, you definitely should. The connections you make there are priceless and you'll come home wanting to serve your readers and build a better blog.
I think the Allume conference is an awesome choice, especially if you are a Christian blogger or writer. They keep you on the right track, and you'll never come away thinking your blog takes precedence above God.
In fact, through this conference, God has given me many ideas on how to use this little money saving blog for Him.
I cannot wait to go back!