After my first BritMums experience I have come home shattered but happy. I learned a lot over the weekend, and not just from the talks:
1) I *am* addicted to the internet…
…And it’s not doing my brain all that much good either. But it’s okay, because I’m making moves to balance my screen time with active time. Both outside exercising and exploring and I totally have my eye on a copy of Trivial Pursuit in the local charity shop to boost our board game collection. I think it’s time we have some screen-free evenings with ‘social gaming’ in our house.
The words we say only cover 10% of how we communicate – it’s time we practiced the other 90% (body language, tone & pace, eye contact, pheromones and other crazy stuff) a bit more.
2) ‘Comedy’ writing exercises do NOT work in very large groups of slighty confused adults.
The first talk I went to was a ‘writing funny workshop’ and ended with a group writing exercise that was a total and utter disaster. Most of the room just didn’t get it – either what we were meant to be doing or why it was supposed to be funny.
I worked out how it was supposed to go and it had to potential to be hilarious. Just not in such a massive group of people. If it was done between smaller groups, say each table individually, and explained more clearly from the beginning then I think it would have gone okay and would have been far more effective. I only worked out what was going on from my past experience of similar things on my Creative Writing degree course but could only explain it to the people on my table which didn’t do much to ease the general confusion of the room and I didn’t do it very well because I hadn’t quite gotten over my nerves of being at the conference yet.
However, I did meet the very lovely Sarah from The Secret Life of an Unknown Housewife and she managed to set me at ease and reassure me that I could get through the day without making myself look like a total twit and without hiding in a corner. I may not have taken much away about writing for laughs but I did make a friend and I know which is more important 🙂
3) It’s okay to say no to reviews
‘Hi Carole! Would you like to review our new goldfish shaped teapot and unusual tea selection?’ – Well, no. Not really. It’s very flattering to be offered review products and at first you feel obliged to say yes to them all regardless of whether or not it was something you wanted/needed/liked or whether it matched the usual content of your blog.
It is okay to say no. Be polite about it, say thank you anyway and you might get left on their list for future offers more suited to your blog. Don’t take it because you can and fill your blog with flat, dull review posts that you clearly don’t care about and aren’t relevant because nobody wants to read it and you don’t want to write it.
Take on reviews and sponsored posts but remember that it’s your blog and you write the rules.
And remember that you are worth it and don’t undersell yourself (but don’t be greedy either).
4) Be true to yourself
It’s your blog, your Twitter feed, your Facebook – don’t be who you think people want you to be, just be yourself. It may take a while but you’ll find your place and find friends that will mean the world – if you pretend to be someone else it will all fall down when you crack and it can be hard to build trust up again.
5) ‘Appreciate the dark times – they’re the only time you can look up and see the stars.’
I think Katie Piper said this was told to her by her father. I want to give the man a hug.
6) There is always tomorrow, don’t let yesterday break you
Katie Piper’s story was hard to hear, the pictures of her recovery hard to look at but her passion, love and strength was something magnificent to behold. She is truly beautiful through and through and an inspiration to us all.
7) Our children statistically have a 1 in 3 chance of living to be 100 years old
8) MY FRIENDS ARE AWESOME!
All of you – everyone who reads, comments, chats on Twitter – you are all amazing. And now lots of you have faces and voices and names which makes you even more awesome than before 😉
And some of you have the most adorably squishy babies that have made me totally broody :p
Also, when we all come together for something we believe in, we are amazing. The final moments of the closing keynotes in honour of Kerry and Matilda Mae were breathtaking.
9) I am still afraid of people dressed in random character costumes
I ran away from Alex the lion from Madagascar because he was terrifying. I did get brave and pose for a picture with the Penguins though – just for the kids. (I was still petrified)
10) How to pose for a ‘selfie’ (and how to fiddle with aperture and shutter speed on my camera)
What else do you want out of a photography talk but how to pose properly for the good old selfie picture? I took notes and put it all into practice after BritMums finished and I headed into London with my sister and brother-in-law. All of it, from faffing with aperture and shutter speed as the light faded on our London Eye night flight to taking a 3 person selfie afterwards!