Last weekend I attended my first ever Bloggers at Midlife Conference (#BAMC16) in the beautiful JW Marriott resort in Las Vegas. Arriving Friday morning to a room full of strangers, I left Sunday morning with new friendships, and enthusiasm for my blog, and it’s next steps. As a new blogger I was rather apprehensive about attending, arriving with no business cards and a nervous smile. I soon realized that even though my blog is not currently my “day job”, cards with my blog name and social URLs would have been extremely useful. Next year I will bring them (yes I plan on attending BAM Conference 2017!).
There were so many blogging tips and takeaways from the conference, but my favorite part was meeting other creative midlife ladies from such diverse backgrounds. Every blogger was unique with her life experiences, and writing style. Some blogs were in the planning stages and others were well established bloggers with high traffic blogs. Many I had met online in The Women of Midlife Facebook group, but not in “real life”. I had received kind comments from them on my blog, and through social media prior to the conference. Sharing is definitely caring in this midlife blogging world.
There is a camaraderie amongst midlife women bloggers that I have not seen in any other group. They lift each other up and celebrate successes together. There is no pretense, just authentic women who share a love of writing. Along with learning, there was much laughter at the conference, and a lot of dancing at the 70s disco Friday evening. Yes I am still rubbish at dancing, but Gloria Gaynor will always make you feel fabulous. I did “survive” the YMCA song, with much waving of my hands that had no resemblance to the original dance.
Upon reflection there were signs that I needed to attend this conference weeks before I registered. I had questions that needed answering.
- About to reach a milestone birthday of fifty years, I had a lot to share about life experiences, but just wasn’t sure how to go about it. Should I focus on moving a family overseas from London, running, hiking, parenting or the craziness that is midlife? Who would be interested in what I have to say? Would they have the same sense of humor?
- There were day dreams of retirement after empty nesting in several years time. Traveling with a computer and my husband to far flung exotic locations. How could I earn money with my blog so that dream could become a reality? I needed to know more about submitting sponsored posts and working with brands.
- I had created a new blog (with the assistance of a talented Word Press designer) that was built on my enthusiasm, and very little writing direction. Build it and they will come the online articles said, but … crickets. How should I go about building traffic to my site? Working in social media I had built a good Twitter following but how could I really leverage that to build my blog?
- I wanted to know who these midlife bloggers were. How did they begin and become successful? I wanted to meet them face-to-face. A rare opportunity in today’s online world.
- With a family, and a busy job that is at times stressful, it was time to hit the pause button for two days and focus on me. I needed to regroup and decompress out of my usual environment. Focus 100% on blogging.
I left Sunday with questions answered, new resources, and the foundations of new friendships made. Oh and did I mention the swag bag was fabulous thanks to the Bloggers at Midlife Sponsors? If you are even pondering on the idea of writing a blog, or have reached your blog traffic plateau, this conference will make all the difference. Do you recognize any of these signs yourself?