When Brady approached me about collaborating on a proposal to speak at the BlogHer Food conference in Seattle, I didn’t think twice – because I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that two small-time bloggers like us would ever be chosen to speak. When I got the much-exclamation-pointed text message from her that we’d been accepted, it became a whole new ballgame, one requiring booking flights, splitting hotel rooms, and using precious vacation time, not to mention hours spent preparing for our session. I was interested to attend the conference, but not quite as excited as I felt I should be.
What I felt instead was anxious. Even now, I can’t pinpoint why. Of course public speaking is nerve-wracking, but I’ve done it loads before and was confident in myself. Traveling alone is extra hassle but not entirely unpleasant. I think, if I had to choose one thing that was stressing me out, it would be three days of constant socializing. From rooms full of strangers to sharing a hotel room with someone I’d met in person only once before, it sounded exhausting.
And it was. It was also the most fun I’ve had in ages. It was nonstop talk about food and photography and websites, nonstop exchanging of business cards, nonstop twitter updates, nonstop sightings of people you’d previously only seen on a computer screen. It was learning and teaching and eating, and yes, constant socializing.
I solidified some friendships and began others. “Internet friends” became “IRL friends”. I met representatives from some of my favorite companies. I discovered new blogs and found people I’d like to work with in the future. I kissed a fish.
I picked up some food styling tricks and was reminded that I need to get a backup set up for my blog (asap!). I realized that shooting a video will take a lot more equipment than I have now. I was encouraged to think more about what I write compared to what I like to read. I discovered that Brady and I make a great team well beyond planning and delivering a session on the post processing of food photos. And most importantly, I left feeling like a socializing superstar, confident and happy and eager to apply all of the lessons of the weekend. But exhausted nonetheless.