Anyone that knows me knows that I tend to be a bit shy. I won't be the loudest girl in the room or probably the most exciting. I'm happy to be in a crowd, but I also like my personal space. Attending a blog conference can be intimidating and even a little scary if you prefer to stand back in the shadows a bit.
Imagine my distress and excitement when I learned that the SNAP blogging conference was being held in April this year right in my home state. Funny how anxiety and thrill can inhabit the same space in one body, but they can and do often inside this closet introvert.
"Oh that looks like so much fun!" shouts my confident split-personality. While "You're a nobody and can't attend that conference," my bashful side firmly adds. Determined to overcome my social anxieties and embrace the fun a little more, I quickly purchased my ticket before my anxious side could overpower my confident side.
As the days before the conference approached, my timid personality began sending my body anxious thoughts. Reading that the conference was holding an 80's prom was enough to send this girl running in the other direction. And the entire thread on what to wear to the event made me question my out-of-shape body type and Target budget shopping style. Pushing all doubts aside, I packed up my business cards in my knock-off, yet fashionable laptop bag and headed up to Salt Lake.
Ever the worrier, I arrived early and was nearly the first at the door. Nerd ALERT! But I'll do whatever it takes to keep the anxiety at bay, and being early works for me. Signed in and holding my swag bag within 10 minutes of opening registration, I wondered what to do next. I took a moment to sneak outside and look at my swag bag. Nothing's more "uncool" than pulling everything out of your bag the minute you get it. Better to find a quiet, secluded place to privately drool over the lovely items sponsors provided in our very heavy swag bags.
Next on the agenda? A thrift store field trip with "All Things Thrifty" Brooke Ulrich. I met Brooke once at another event. I was sitting alone--ever the consummate shy girl; and she and her husband came and sat by me. She was engaging, kind, and so very genuine. And I had no idea who she was. It wasn't until I took her class later that evening that I realized who she was. I wished I had been less shy and more open, but I honestly felt bad that she and her husband had to sit next to boring old me and wasn't as engaging as I could have been. Since then I've tried to be more friendly when people sit next to me. What a waste of an opportunity to meet someone kind, and that goes for any new person that you meet!
I am in my element when shopping. It's not about spending money as most of the time I don't buy anything. For me it's about the hunt. Brooke took us to unimaginable and magical places full of old, used, and forgotten pieces. I wandered off on my own. I dug through piles of dust, dirt, and rust and found a few treasures to bring home with me. To me it was the perfect experience as I was with other women but on my own, and I just felt happy.
Deciding what classes to take was a bit overwhelming. Who can choose a class between building up your Pinterest followers or getting the most from Instagram scheduled at the same time? Classes ranged from learning the in's and out's of Google +, to taking better photos with your iphone, to knowing when to hire help, and building a strong branding presence.
My wrist still aches from all the note taking during the event. Whether I was interacting with other bloggers and asking specific questions about issues or problems I was having or whether it was listening to one of the keynote speakers, the entire event was FULL of information.
In addition to the fabulous classes and workshops, sponsors provided booths and lounges in which you could interact and ask questions about their brand and brand relationships. Sponsors like Home Depot, Darice, Cricut, Inlinkz, We R' Memory Keepers and more were on hand to make us feel pampered and to explain more of what they can offer professional bloggers.
If you're a craft or DIY blogger, then mark your calendars. SNAP is already planning the 2015 conference, and I would imagine it will be even bigger and better than this conference, which is frankly hard to accomplish. Here's why:
After three days I was exhausted and my post-conference hangover lasted for days. This introvert learned that she CAN have fun at a conference full of confident professionals, and that she does fit in and have something to add to the conversation. So step out of your comfort zone and make plans to attend a growth building event in your area!
Win my swag! Want to win some of my awesome swag? Simply leave your name in the comments section below of this blog post with your name and email address (in code if you prefer). All comments are due by Sunday, May 11th at midnight MST to qualify. I'll select ONE winner on Monday, May 12th and announce it. The prize will be shipped to the winner when I receive their mailing address. The winner has one week to reply to this post in order to claim their prize.