Monday 28 July 2014

Britmums live Keynote - I did it !!!

It's possible I'm the last person to post about Britmums live as it was over a month ago now. Last year I posted immediately after and it wasn't until a few weeks later that I really had processed how much I'd gained from being at the biggest blogging event of the year. This year I've taken some time to really get some perspective on the weekend and how much I learned from it all. 

My badge was as wonky as I was on friday night !

There were some welcome changes from last year including a covered area outside the Brewery in East London so that we could meet and greet at the start and during breaks. Considering how beautiful and sunny it was the outside option was much appreciated. It also meant I got to speak to some people who I might not have met otherwise - those bloggers I've been chatting to on Twitter for ages and who I wasn't sure I'd find if they didn't look exactly like their avatar.

Having been before I did have a wish list of things I wanted to achieve this time so I was a bit better prepared and not as 'rabbit caught in headlights' about it all. Here are some of the most memorable aspects for me.

Literary agent speed date: I bottled out of this last year and regretted it so this year I took a deep breath and went through the double doors to talk to lovely Louise. She helped me to focus my ideas and to think about a compelling story rather than the gimmick that would sell my book. All I have to do now is finish it !

the secret ingredient is beetroot
Ooh it's a Vitamix !

Brands: I've always felt a bit awkward about talking to brands, but this year I decided to meet and greet during the quieter bits before lunch and at the start of the conference. I talked to them all and worked out who I could find a fit with. I also got my son a football and bucket and spade for our holiday so that was good. The cloakroom came in handy for storing all my goodies while I went to the sessions.

Sessions: I may just have chosen unwisely, but I found the sessions that I attended were pretty much the same as last year and one was just unintelligible. I won't say which one to be fair to the speaker. I'd been in two minds whether to go to Nigel Camp's sessions on video technique and wished I hadn't missed them in favour of the ones I chose. I collared him and mentioned I was sorry I hadn't gone and he kindly offered to give me and my lovely friend Louise some top tips from his session right there ! He did a personalised video tutorial for us outside in the lovely covered area, so I'm delighted I read his badge and chatted to him during the break. Thanks Nigel, you were fab :)

Me and lovely Jen - hic ! 

Thanks to the lovely wine sponsors me and my pal Jen were nicely happy for the awards ceremony on Friday evening. I hadn't stayed for the BiBs last year as I was so tired, but I'm so glad I did this year, not least as I know a few of the winners so I was even more delighted for them. A lot of bloggers were staying over and met for dinner, but living so close I went home on Friday night. Before I did that, though, I ran all the way to the Betsey Trotwood pub in Farringdon to catch Sara Pascoe doing her Edinburgh warm up show. I was so glad I caught the end of her set, she is fab.

It was up and out early on Saturday morning for another day and even at 8am as I walked to the Brewery I could feel the butterflies in my tummy - yes the nerves had already started !!

Bloggers Keynote: I have spoken to a fair few audiences in my life. Some have been a bit scary. None have made me quite as wobbly or nervous as the Britmums one. I know how to reduce a room full of people to tears - I used to do impassioned speeches about the orphans and refugee children I worked with overseas. I struggle, however with the pressure to make people laugh and gave up my stand up aspirations because of the fear that no one would laugh. The post I read was a bit preachy and a bit teachy and I hoped it had a few laughs in it. All day my fears were:

  • When I get up there will be a smattering of polite applause as no one knows who I am
  • When I'm talking there will be a low hum of conversation as it's just not interesting enough
  • When I walk off the stage, it will be to silence and tumbleweed.

In reality I was so incredibly terrified that I barely noticed what was happening while I spoke and all I could think about when I watched it back was that I hadn't said 'Thank you' to the audience for listening at the end. I did it though and thanks to Nigel Camp I saw how many people kindly listened to me. I am so glad I didn't see that before I got up to speak !

Heads, shoulders knees and boobs... 

The Good Enough Mums Club: We had a sneak preview of the show with some songs and dance numbers and this came hot on the heels of my mini retreat with Pippa from The Story of Mum. The retreat was a much needed boost reminding me that I am indeed good enough :)

The main thing I gained from being at Britmums this year was coming face to face with the reality of my "imposter syndrome." That sense that you are not meant to be somewhere or you're going to be found out at any moment as a fake. I still feel like I don't fit in. It is entirely like being at school where the 'cool girls' all hang around together and I'm not part of the group. Despite trying far too hard to fit in.

I also learned that wearing a tiara is a short cut to feeling amazing and have kept mine to wear whenever I need a little lift. Thanks Emma (Freud) for that - your keynote was great and sitting in a room filled with women (and men) wearing tiaras made my day :)

I am wearing a tiara - oh yes I am :) 
If you're umming and aahing about whether or not to go to Britmums next year I'd say go and get your ticket now while it's at super early bird price.

If you don't know anyone else there you can always come over and say hello to me :)  

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