In January, I set some resolutions for myself and my Life in the Past Lane blog. I am happy to report that I checked the #4 item, to attend a blogging conference, off my list!
I became familiar with Oklahoma Women Bloggers (OKWB) through the Arkansas Women Bloggers (ARWB) group from my home state. Several bloggers I know from Arkansas are affiliated with this dynamic group, founded by the warm and humorous Stephanie Buckley who is also the founder of the Park Wife Blog. After seeing friends and acquaintances participate in this growing network of women bloggers both in Arkansas and the region, I knew I wanted to be a part of this amazing group in Oklahoma.
When the OKWB announced they were going to host a mini-conference I knew I had to attend! Even better, it was located at Oklahoma’s Sequoyah State Park. We have always been big supporters of both state and the National Parks around our house. While I was the only genealogy blogger that attended, being with and learning from the other 22 women was a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Their blogs covered DIY, parenting, cooking, marriage and everything in between! The creative energy from these women was truly motivating.
Some of our great conference swag!
Our panel of speakers could not have been more timely for this phase of my personal blogging adventure. We started Friday evening with a lively Q & A session with Stephanie Buckley and the rest of the ARWB delegation which included Debbie Arnold and Jacqueline Wolven. We had a great time learning from them about managing time, prioritizing projects, not settling, blog platforms, and the importance of community in the blogging world.
Saturday started with an important session on branding from Jacqueline Wolven. OMG! She’s not only an enthusiastic expert on the topic, but she was so much fun to listen and learn from! In her career she has worked with some of the most successful and recognizable brands and currently works as a consultant and speaker. Marisa Mohi and Mari Farthing‘s presentations gave us food for thought on how to improve our blogging and writing in general. All three articulated the the importance of good content and authenticity being crucial to success.
Allison Griffith, owner of the DIY Refunk My Junk blog and a fun local shop in Edmond, Oklahoma, spoke about the business of blogging. I confess, this is not something I thought I needed when I registered for the conference. I had not really thought about blogging as being anything more than a hobby and outlet for my research. This changed my mind and opened my eyes to possibilities I had not considered! I appreciated the way Allison covered the topic. The business of blogging can be very intimidating, even for someone like myself who by day runs a large enterprise with around 50 or so staff members! Allison’s approach made the process seem straightforward and something I am actually looking forward to now. I also can’t wait to visit her store!
The day wrapped with a great session by Stephanie Clinton, founder and writer at Hugs, Kisses and Snot. She spoke about blog envy and how to recognize and quiet those inner doubts and demons that creep into one’s consciousnesses. You have probably heard the phrase, “comparison is the thief of joy,” by President Theodore Roosevelt. This is true not just in blogging, but in life. I appreciated her candidness about her own blog envy struggles and her message that even if there are others out there blogging on a similar topic, only you can tell your story your way. What defines success for one person is not the definition for another. Having confidence in yourself is key!
Stephanie Clinton, along with Marisa Mohi and Mari Farthing, coordinated this wonderful “mini-con” for us, and I could not be more thankful to them and the ARWB ladies who came to mentor and give of themselves! I adore being around people from my beloved state of Arkansas! I am looking forward to future conferences and collaborations with OKWB as well as the upcoming Megaphone Summit being held in Arkansas, September 9th-11th. This will bring together women bloggers from all over the region! You won’t want to miss out on this event!