Life & Blogging & My Trip to Sydney for Voices of 2013

 

Well last week was pretty exciting. I was whisked off to Sydney at very short notice to attend the Kidspot Voices of 2013 bloggers masterclass and competition launch party… and I had a ball!  

 

My blog was selected from almost 700 other nominated Australian blogs to be amongst the top 25 Food & Wellbeing blogs in Australia! Wow. I was pretty excited. Next followed an invite in the mail to attend the launch party in Sydney. I really, really wanted to go, but I didn’t think that it would work out… Sydney is a world away from my little country town in the mountains west of Cairns, in Far North Queensland. I was busy with homeschooling and running a business from home, and I’d only recently gotten back from a trip to Daydream Island for a Thermomix seminar and holiday. And my husband and youngest daughter were just about to leave for a trip to Perth to visit family. It was all a bit too hard.

 

Excited to be in such good company!

But even though my head was saying ‘you won’t be able to go, be sensible,’ something else was telling me ‘don’t book anything into those dates, you’ll be in Sydney.’ So I kept the dates free. (Which is no mean task with my crazy life!)

A few days before the RSVP date, an email came saying, ‘You haven’t booked in! We want you to come. Tell us in 30 words or less what YOU could bring to the launch party, and Ford (the sponsor) will consider flying you down for free.’ Here was my chance. I went into my room to escape my noisy kids and skeptical husband, sat down on my bed, and excitedly dashed off an answer. It was pretty silly. I said, ‘I’ll bring my biggest smile, my quirky sense of humour, and I’ll be wearing my crowd-stopping chocolate perfume.’ Ha ha!! (Yes, I really do wear chocolate perfume. I’m kind of addicted to chocolate, if you haven’t noticed.)

I didn’t think my silly answer would win me a free trip. But I still kept the dates free, just in case.

And guess what? I won the trip!! Free flights, accommodation and transfers. And all thanks to my chocolate perfume… the judges must be chocoholics too.

Surrounded by bloggers, loving every minute!

So what did I learn in my time away? Well, I gleaned lots of blogging tips from many successful bloggers; nuggets of wisdom that also apply to life in general. And when I say ‘successful bloggers,’ I don’t necessarily mean bloggers who make a lot of money from their blogs, or are world famous. I mean bloggers that make us laugh and cry. That win our affection by their openness and vulnerability. That open our eyes to the beauty around us. That give of themselves, writing with enthusiasm and joy. That share their thoughts, inspirations, ideas and passions, and each make a difference in their own small (or big) way.

 

Let me share some of these nuggets of wisdom about blogging (and life) with you… 

{from various bloggers, plus some of my own tips}

Do what you love, and love what you do. If you don’t love it, chances are no one else will either.

Stop watching what everyone else is doing and be yourself. Stay true to yourself, your ideals, and your personality.

Don’t be afraid to have an opinion, and own it! Opinion-less people are boring. (But at the same time, don’t be rude or sarcastic about anyone else’s opinion. There’s enough of that in the world.)

Be your own critic. Step back and look at what you’ve done and ask yourself, ‘Does it look good? Do I love it? Will I regret what I’ve said/done in five hours? In five years? In ten years?’ Don’t forget, the internet is ‘forever’.

You have a unique opportunity to connect. Don’t just sit and wait for people to come to you, go to them. Be open and friendly and ready to share yourself. Make it easy for people to get to know you.

Use spellcheck.

Keep it simple. Don’t get so ‘clever’ with the way you say things that no one knows what you’re talking about.

Take lots of photos with a good camera. Jot down your thoughts. Be alive to what’s going on around you, every day.

Don’t stress about SEO and other means of ‘getting noticed’. If you’re genuinely passionate about what you do, and you’re good at it, you’ll be noticed. Be less interested in statistics and more interested in people.

Be picky about who you are affiliated with. Go with your gut. If it feels ‘icky,’ don’t do it. Integrity is so important.

Perservere. Be persistant. Don’t give up when you hit a bump in the road – climb over it and keep going. Build good relationships with other bloggers and build up a buddy system to help each other along.

When you doubt yourself (which we all do at times), think back to your motivation for starting in the first place. Keep that in mind. Write about what you love.

Stay humble. Without your readers you would be nothing.

And above all, don’t take yourself too seriously! Blogging is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun anymore, stop blogging.

And we sure did have fun…Recognize anyone? 

{Clockwise, left to right} Maddie of ‘Colour Me There’; Lauren of ‘Potpourri’; Kate of ‘Finger, Fork, Knife’; Ally of ‘The Vintage Valley’; me and Alexx of ‘Alexx Stuart. Real Food. Low Tox Living.’; Claire of ‘Checks and Spots’; and Lexi of ‘Pottymouth Mama’. 

Interviews… 

Sore feet, but lots of goodies to take home! 

While I had the chance, I spent a couple of days roaming the big city on my own, taking photos, getting lost in the city streets (and loving that I had nowhere I needed to be), sitting in sunny courtyards listening to street musicians and just enjoying some time alone… Because we all need some time out now and then to let our souls catch up to our bodies.

 
 
 
  

And here’s my favourite photo from my visits to the Opera House…

he walked into my photo and made it perfect.

 

What a very special few days.

Thanks for the great time, Kidspot! 

Sydney – I’ll be back!

And thanks to YOU, my lovely readers, for making it all possible.

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