On Monday I shared most of the photos I took at Alt, but today and tomorrow I wanted to share some of the takeaways that I’ve been thinking about since I left.
I took in so much information at Alt, including lots of great tips, but rather than break down my notes for you guys, I decided to divide my thoughts into two posts. What I’m taking away from the overall messages I heard there. Today I want to talk about authenticity, persistence, and originality.
It’s funny, because I would have thought that in blogging things would get easier over time. I’ve written about the cyclical nature of blogging before, but there’s something else at play here that I hadn’t considered before. As your audience grows and you’ve been doing this for a while, some fear starts to creep in. You become gradually aware that people are watching you. And although that can be empowering, it can also be limiting. After all, the last thing you would want to do is lose that audience you’ve worked so hard to build.
I’m a collector, so as I’ve gathered information and inspiration from the online community over time, things have started to feel crowded. It’s easy to feel like there’s not a lot of room to truly be original in this insanely creative community, and we all know that being unoriginal, or worse, possibly too influenced by others, is really the kiss of death in this online space.
I think a lot us, myself included, let fear rule our decisions on an all-too-regular basis. Fear of what others will think, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough. The message in so many of the talks was about the importance of exploring. I definitely walked away from this trip with a renewed commitment to thinking outside the box.
Garance Doré spoke about dealing with negativity, and while I honestly haven’t encountered much negativity directed towards me online, so much of what she said about being true to yourself hit close to home for me. There will be challenges and hiccups, but being true to yourself and continuing to put yourself out there is a choice you will have to make over and over again. Not just once- the challenge doesn’t go away after your click publish on your first blog post.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be better like yesterday. Inevitably when you go to a conference where you’re learning a lot in a short period of time, it’s easy to come home and feel like you’re spinning your wheels. It takes me about a day or two to start feeling frustrated that I can start implementing everything at once. So I’m trying to remember this week that this is all a process. Progress happens a little at time, and there are some things in regards to my business that will never be “done.” Some things are always a work in progress.
What do you think? I want to hear! And stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!
As someone new to the blogging scene, it’s refreshing to hear that many bloggers–new and experienced–have the same kinds of fears and thoughts. Thanks for sharing some of your Alt wisdom with the rest of us!
I find my creativity comes in waves. When it’s sparked, I have too many ideas and not enough time. When it’s burning low, I can’t figure out how to do the simplest things. I’m working on being more consistent, which means it write down a lot more than I used to – ideas that pop in my head, posts that inspire me, graphics that made me think. Hopefully it’ll mean I continue to present new ideas (or old ideas with a refreshed perspective) instead of unoriginal repetition.
I’m also learning that progress is a gradual thing; we live in an instant gratification world, so it’s hard to not expect that same kind of instant satisfaction from blogging sometimes.
I started blogging in December, I’ve written maybe 40 posts, and I’m already starting to feel this. I think the best approach I’ve heard so far (when it comes to fear and self-doubt) is to remember that it’s your space to do what you want with and know that you will eventually find your audience (and that it’s okay if everyone doesn’t like your stuff). Another good piece of advice that I’ve heard along the way is to write/produce content that you would want to read. I think about my favorite bloggers and why I love them and try to create the kind of content that I like to consume, not a ‘copy’ of what they write but just a version of the same idea through my own personal lens. Any whenever I worry that I’m not being ‘authentic’ enough, I try to remember that there are no original thoughts in the world. Everyone is influenced by something and someone has already done that super ‘original’ thing that you’re worried about ripping off. (Of course I don’t mean plagiarism.)
Great post, Kate! I can definitely relate, especially with the feeling of wanting to do everything at once. I have huge goals, and I have to remind myself all the time that I can’t accomplish them all in one day – although it’d be nice ;) Good things take time. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!
Kelly - Talk of the House says
Just found your site today, and I am loving it! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the conference, and I am looking forward to your part 2 post. I feel the “never be done” feelings…more like, I will never reach an end to my “to do” list.ever. There was a quote floating around Pinterest that said, “I have too many tabs open in my brain.” Writing everything down is certainly the way to go.