I had the opportunity to attend the 6th Minnesota Blogger's Conference yesterday. Waking up in the dark but starting my day as the sun was rising on a perfect fall day that turned out to be yet another gift to Minnesota, set the tone for my mood. I just kept feeling higher and higher as the day went on. Once parked, I got out of my car and walked a bit aimlessly wondering which direction to go to find the Couer de St Catherine's, the hub for the day. I needn't to have worried. I met my first blogger of the day, My Life Caffeinated, a beautiful and friendly young blogger who was attending the conference for the first time as well. We gravitated to the building together, chatting a mile a minute the whole way, and found ourselves at the same table for opening remarks. We later "followed" each other through Twitter, and smiled and compared notes when we ran into each other through the day.
My first workshop was on deciding to blog or do a web site, and what is the difference anyway. The presenter, was one of three creative minds behind, Family Fun Twin Cities, Gianna, who shared her take on the difference, and that both have meaning and purpose. To paraphrase, "A blog creates community, a web site solves a problem." While New Frame of Reference has been mostly for fun, I'm working on an actual web site, that I hope does just that for women (and men if they really want the female perspective) on navigating life resources for women beyond the mommy stage. I even got so far last summer as buying a domain name, and getting a front page up, but with a note that it is under construction. Her workshop, plus affirmation from others yesterday, helped me decide I am going to move forward with this idea, and hope that 2016 will be the year Sam and Coffee is launched. Was it just coincidence that the first person I met also pays homage to caffeine? I'll see it as an omen.
A terrific presentation on setting up an editorial calendar, was followed by me not getting space in a room on keyword and content, so I took a session on legal issues in blogging. Very good, but I will add, I'm a touch scared. Better to be scared than ignorant, right? The keynote speaker discussed his journey of blogging as a creative outlet, to it opening doors and opportunities. My last two sessions were on security of web and blog sites and marketing. The last session was a packed room again, and as I was trying to figure out where to take a seat on the floor, I saw a familiar looking woman. Here it was Lisa from Twin Cities Frugal Mom, who I follow on my blog roll, and I have seen her on several local news programs. She was an incredibly nice person, and we had the opportunity to chat a bit about her blog and evolution, and my proposed venture.
An after conference social gathering at a local microbrewery, first beer compliments of the sponsors, was just icing on the cake. Hello's and shout outs to Alex, Debbie, Judy, and Jenny, for the great conversation, idea sharing, and kick start to my Sunday. Consistently through the day, I felt a connection with speakers, and fellow bloggers at tables. My estimation, the group was 20% professional blogger doing so as part of their full or part time paid gig, 20% blogging and writing as their livelihood, 20% blogging for nothing more than personal fun and creative outlet, and the remaining 40%, hoping like me, eventually it could open opportunities for either employment, or to supplement a second income or (early) retirement. The age range seemed to be college to seniors, with the bulk being 30 somethings, but the organizers truly made this event about building a community, where all voices were equally important. The event was even covered by one of the metro newspapers and here's the story, Minnesota Bloggers Compare Notes.
I'm proud of myself for making the investment in myself. Time and money are precious and both were well spent. Though, I am not sure how the organizers did it, but the cost of the day was less than a catered lunch, which was included. I've got next year's date in my calendar already. Who knows who I'll meet next year.