Leading up to last year’s Haven Conference, I was a big ol’ ball of nerves and excitement. I was so excited to be making the leap toward being a “real” blogger by attending a blogging conference with “my people”. But I was doing it all alone. Utterly and completely alone.
My shy only-child side felt like throwing up.
And thanks to Delta pushing my flight to a later departure time, I missed Registration, where I was sure I would have met a few people and not felt like a small fish in a big, big blogging sea at the opening night cocktail hour. But alas, I arrived alone, checked into my room alone, and nearly stayed right there and ordered room service. Even though I could see the party hopping from my window and could track the fun via Instagram, getting up the courage to walk out on that veranda and introduce myself to total strangers felt like the most impossible of tasks.
But I did it. Because that’s what I was there to do.
And the point of me telling you that ridiculously long-winded story? I just want you to know that you’re not alone! Whether you’re heading off to Haven, or another blogging conference, or really, any sort of new out-of-your-comfort-zone event… you’re not alone!
With the 2014 Haven Conference just days away, I keep thinking back to those butterflies that were so common last year. And while I think I’ll still have a few this year, I think they’ll be over-shadowed by excitement.
And I was also thinking that I may be able to pass along a few last-minute tips to help you prepare for what to expect from a blogging conference.
Before you go:
Plan your outfits.
I’ve found that laying out my entire outfits, including shoes and jewelry, helps streamline packing. I can see what I’m wearing for day vs. night, and plan for pieces that coordinate in case I spill something on myself. (I always pack an extra top or two, just to be safe!)
While I am adding a few dressier pieces to my packing list this year, I’m still sticking to pieces that I feel comfortable in. I’m not a heels girl, so sandals and a pair of wedges will suit me just fine for the weekend!
Pack the essentials.
During sessions, all I really needed was a pen, a notebook and my business cards. Oh, and lip balm. I can’t go anywhere without lip balm! And my smartphone. But really, there’s not a whole lot of down time to be sharing all those photos you’re taking on Instagram or Facebook!
Oh, and always bring your smile, ’cause darling you’re never fully dressed without a smile 😉
At the conference:
Balance information with inspiration.
As a newbie conference goer and blogger, I felt that I should be concentrating on the informational sessions. But honestly? I got a bit overwhelmed by the end of Day 1. So on Day 2, I threw in some of the fun, inspirational classes, like hands-on diy and decorating. I needed to balance both sides of my brain, plus, I was able to swap notes after the conference with the friends I made. (Because yes, you will make friends!!)
Soak it all in.
I am still needing to remind myself that I cannot do it all, all at once. But I think the pressure to fixallthethingsrightfreakingnow is even more intense during and after a conference. You want to implement all the amazing information and inspiration you just absorbed. You want to install a wood plank wall while redesigning your site while creating a unified whole-home color palette. And lemme tell you, it ain’t happening!
Just soak up as much as you can, and then…
After the conference:
Create an action plan.
Choose the ideas that stuck out the most, and craft a plan to implement those. It could take a week, it could take a month, or more, but at least you can set goals, and the steps to take to reach them.
to new friends made, to mentors met, to admired brands or sponsors. Keep those lines of communication open!
I hope you found these helpful! I know I’ll be reminding myself of some of these tips this coming weekend. If you’re going to Haven, leave me a comment so I can say hi when I bump into you 😉
Emily-these are great tips!!! I’m planning my wardrobe today! Can’t wait to see you there. 🙂
Thanks Beth! I still have laundry to do! Ack! Oh well, it’ll all get done, right? Can’t wait to see you soon!
Hi Emily! I am new to Haven this year. Great ideas. I should probably start packing now seeing as how I am leaving tomorrow to visit my bff for the day before. Oh and maybe I should look at the sessions being offered too! AHHHHH!!! Procrastination has set in! See you there! Emily
Emily@ 11gables.blogspot.com recently posted…Eleven Gables visits Euna Mae’s Heirloom Kitchen and Homegoods store
I keep changing my mind on which sessions to take! Guess I better nail that down soon 😉 See you soon!
thanks for the post. I am going alone and did not feel that nervous until today.. glad to see I am normal.
it’s totally normal to feel nervous! but everyone is so friendly and welcoming, Haven truly feels like home in no time 😉
Love this post! I am first year Haven attendee. I am excited and want to puke at the same time! Ha! Hope to meet you!
Thanks Candace! It’s funny how you can feel both of those at once, right? I will be looking for you!!
Emily, I smiled so wide to read this post and remember those same nerves you speak of…and I also remember our texts that night you arrived and how we connected at the cocktail party and got along like two peas in a pod and the rest is history. I, too, am more excited than nervous for this year’s conference….although I’m getting nervous knowing I still have packing to do and an early morning. Better run so I can see you soon and very soon! XO
Lauren @ The Thinking Closet recently posted…Desk Styling 101: Say Goodbye to Styling Anxiety
Gah! I hear you! I still need to cram everything in my suitcase! Better go do that now 😉
And I just KNOW that we were meant to bump into each other at the cocktail party! I am SO unbelievably thankful to have found such an awesome friend in you, my dear!
Thank you for assuring me that the nerves and feeling that I’d just rather hide are normal. I’ve been coaching myself today that it’s going to be fun…just get out there and meet people. Thanks for the post! I’ll see y’all tomorrow night!
Angie recently posted…Collecting Needlepoint Pillows
Great post!! It’s my first time this year and this really did make me feel better.
Tania // Run to Radiance recently posted…Our New Living Room
I’ve been to a few blogging conferences and a few other conferences but I am always nervous going in. Thanks for the tips!
Kelly Hedgespeth of Simply Kelly Designs recently posted…Foiled Honeymoon Fund Jar
It’s hard for me not to get nervous when I’m heading into a large group of people, but if I take a few deep breaths, I’m okay. Plus it helps to remember that other people are probably nervous too 😉
I’m still a newbie blogger and the thought of attending a blogging conference almost makes me break out in a cold sweat! I’m quite introverted and thinking about approaching all these strangers that I’ve only met through cyberspace is so intimidating. Your story sounds like it could have been written by me! Thanks for these great tips though…..maybe one day I’ll get over my nerves and actually attend a conference! 🙂
Christine | Where The Smiles Have Been recently posted…Boom! Snap! Bang!: Fourth of July Firework T-shirt!
I’m usually pretty introverted, too, especially when I’m in a room full of people I don’t know. Haven is a great conference for newbies since it’s not too large. Plus the bloggers who attend are pretty friendly 😉