I have been playing well outside the garden recently and having great fun.  This Saturday I tiptoed nervously for the first time into a conference for bloggers, called the Mumsnet BlogFest.

My BlogFest day started brilliantly.  I love coincidence and unplanned meetings.  I once went on holiday to southern Ireland and met a family for the first time who lived 4 doors down from me in my London house.  On Saturday the first person I started chatting with was a blogger, Natasja King from Crochetime.   She mentioned to another participant that she had recently decorated a local fence with some of her work.  A couple of days ago I had seen a photo from one of the social networks of a beautifully decorated bench, which I now know had been yarn bombed (watch for future posts about this).  We discovered that not only had she decorated that bench, but that she only lived a couple of miles from me.  Not a bad coincidence from an audience of over 300.  From then the day just got better and better.  We laughed, shared, digested, networked, chatted, listened, and learnt all in the spirit of BlogFestHood. 

This Blog is now over 3 years old and I have loved and looked forward to writing for it, thinking about what I might post, and taking and learning to take photographs for it.  As with a garden I couldn’t help feeling that it was time to dig in a few new plants and load a lot of more fertiliser onto the plot and to breathe some new life into the blog.  I hoped that the Blogfest would provide me with a few pointers on how to achieve this.   It did and it gave so much more.   A top tip early into the day I was reminded that to write and write well is like exercising a muscle that need to be stretched again and again.  Regular posts = improved writing.

Another very strong message  was to be true to yourself then you will start to find a sense of your identity and your own voice in your writing.  I always find it difficult when to make the decision to stop editing a piece and hit the send button to publish the post.  My thought are always, have I said too much, too little, crossed the border between the public and the private, expressed feelings and emotions I would rather remain private or might affect other people.

A number of bloggers on the platforms I attended had set themselves boundaries between their private and personal personas. I never identify any members of my family and others in my blog.  You may have noticed that this also includes photographs.  There is obviously much food for thought here. One of the most interesting questions from the audience full of mummy bloggers was what she should do now that her 16 yr old son had requested her to stop blogging about him.  A response from the Times journalist, Tania Bryon, that she should respect his wishes received a large applause from the audience. 

Caitlin Moran at Mumsnet Blogfest
I want to blog to connect with people and share experiences that may be familiar to them or that they may want to try in the future.  I would love people to read what I write and say yes what you say resonates with me.  Or think I’m kind of interested in your views and I’ll come back to this blog at a later date.  I loved Caitlin Moran’s take on good writing.  That it was like playing pool, where you had to walk around the table and take the shot on the ball no else has. I’ll now be doing lots of traipsing around my and other people’s gardens working my way through the angle I need to write about.

The day really made me think about what blogging was all about.  What makes it different from writing a book, a series of articles or a regular column in a newspaper or magazine?   My view following the Blog Fest is that it is most similar to that now rather old fashioned form of communication, the personal letter.  Several of those speaking on Saturday said they had a particular person in mind when writing.  A friend who now lives in India says that she often reads this blog as a way of keeping up with me and my family.   So maybe she will be my ghost reader.

Sunny Spells
Oh and by the way the day also ended brilliantly.  A goody bag to die for was the icing on the cake.  I loved everything in it, but what I liked best was the message above displayed on an umbrella box.  Well the sun certainly shone on Saturday.  Thank you so much Mumsnet for such a lovely lesson in Blogging.  It couldn’t have been better

 Read more about the BlogFest here.

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