This post about my latest Blossom Conference experience has taken me forever to wrangle. It’s been hiding in some nook or cranny of my brain and just sort of waiting for me to get it straight. I thought about leaving it there. But my brain gets full and every now and then it needs a purge. So this is my Blissdom Conference experience purge. Wait, that just sounded wrong.
I am a Blissdom Conference veteran. ( Because I am old and I have been writing for a million years. LOL) Two weeks ago I took part in my third Blissdom conference. Blissdom Conference Canada is one of the only Canadian social media conferences worth attending each year. In fact it’s one of the only really big Canadian influencer conference experiences. I remember my first Blissdom Canada conference experience in downtown Toronto like it was yesterday. It was a big leap for me then to put my blog out there. That year was about growth, personally and professionally. I nailed some big projects after that first year at Blissdom and my blog grew. Same blog that was essentially a way back into the craft of writing after taking some time off to adopt and raise our two beautiful girls. Blissdom solidified that process for me. It helped me to realize that I could transition back to working. It helped me clarify the path and move towards it. I set some goals and hit them all within the year. They were bucket list writing goals and I crossed them off. Byline in Globe and Mail. Done, Byline in Canadian Family, done, Today’s Parent and so forth.
By Blissdom two I was a full grown blogger and I was making a living doing that and I had started a business as a social media consultant. Business was great. In fact I could barely take the time to go to Blissdom. Life is like that. When business is good you run with it and you don’t want to let anyone down. But I went and I gained even more from that second rodeo called Blissdom 2013. I took some clients with me. There were a few new connections made in 2013 and there were many longtime friendships nurtured in person. There is no way to place a value on that face to face contact sometimes. And from the consulting side, in which I wear a hat that is sometimes on the search for the perfect blogger for a new campaign, I quietly made notes of who fits where and which brand/cause will give them a gorgeous opportunity to tell a sparkly whimsical story, a humorous anecdote, a slice of life or a deeply moving story. I met Karma Brown at one of the Blissdoms and I happily added her to our OHIP4IVF blog team for Conceivable Dreams. I am excruciatingly proud of the stories she, and Heather Oliver Hamilton, helped us tell and the fact that Ontario infertility patients now have hope with a commitment of funding for IVF. That is blogging for social change done well. That was my team of writers telling heartfelt real stories, bringing talk about infertility into the mainstream on line every day.
This third Blissdom came in a different shape. My first two days at the conference were spent resting a lot because I had a brutal migraine and forgot the Zomig at home. I didn’t really go in with a goal. My consulting business Thrifty Mom Media is firmly established. Business is consistent, but I am always striving for growth and new ideas. I took a few minutes and spent some time with Erica Ehm chatting. That always makes me happy because she is a wealth of information and energy. Plus I think Yummy Mummy Club does a lot of things well on line and it connects with women. So there was that. I caught up with some old friends Cyn Gagen, Wanda Lynne Young, and Margarita Ibbott. Met up with my Blogher roommate Christy Laverty. She’s all that and a bag of chips. I made some new friends I had never ever seen in real life _ Dawn Jaycocks and Sarah Robinson @MrsARob. Lovely ladies. Follow them. I met some great new business connections. But I wasn’t really feeling the Bliss. I spent a lot of time at this Blissdom talking to the people we have been connecting with on line for months. People struggling with all kinds of big issues related to adoption, infertility and death of a parent, spouse or child. It was supportive and worthwhile, but still I left unsure, thinking maybe this would be my last conference for awhile.
Where was my Bliss?
The entire conference felt different.
I went home. I hugged my kids. My husband. Went back to the work I do and love and kept wondering was it worth it? What will the return on investment be?
I am still driven, still connecting and still inspired but this year ironically my Bliss looks like this:
This past two weeks I have been a better parent and a nicer person. I am more centred and calm and engaged at home. Maybe it was the time spent away from home again. Maybe it was just the time with my people, my tribe of digital characters I love, who get me. It’s hard to define sometimes where the bliss comes from or what it looks like or what grows out of the experience itself attending a blogging conference. Every year Blissdom gives me something a little bit different. Who knows why. Right now. This is Bliss.
(I realized I neglected to mention all the brands and the organizers and speakers at Blissdom. Every year they are brilliant. Many thanks to them, each and every year. I heart the Tim Horton’s coffee lounge and had a bit of culture shock when I had to pay for coffee again this week. I missed Leon’s due to my migraine and was sad about that but managed to connect with several other public relations people and brands. Huge thanks to all of them.)
Have you ever gone to a blogging conference?