For the last few months you may have noticed in the sidebar a button indicating I’m going to the inaugural Aussie bloggers Conference in Sydney on March 19. As the day draws nearer, I’m pondering more and more some of the concerns I’ve had about the conference from the start. I think it will be interesting, but to say I’ve not had doubts about attending would be a fib.
My friend Ally of ActingLikeAMama invited me last year and I said yes right away. The plan is a good one. We’ll have a road trip to Sydney, stay overnight in the hotel where the conference is being held and have a fabulous time. In the evening we’ll attend the dinner and drink wine and let our hair down.
At some point I actually looked at the website. Probably I should have done that right away but I didn’t think I needed to. A conference about blogging? You bet! I love talking about blogging in the same way I love talking about knitting or my chickens or any other subject close to my heart.
When I looked at the list of attendees and their blogs and the FAQs I had a sudden, sinking feeling and one I’ve struggled with ever since. The conference is being run by a group who identify as Mummy Bloggers and it’s aimed specifically at Mummy and Personal Bloggers. The organisers said for the first conference they’ve aimed it at their own community and that they hope to expand it in future years. I hope they do. I understand they welcome people who blog outside that sphere, and that’s great, but my concern is less about how welcome others are and more about how well will other bloggers, like me, fit in content wise? What is our shared experience of blogging and is it enough to give us common ground on the day? I’m really not so sure.
If you’ve been reading here a while you’ll know I’m neither a Mummy Blogger nor a Personal Blogger. Even if I could be a mum, I don’t think I’d ever be a Mummy Blogger. Nothing against them, per se, but I’m pretty sure as a mum I’d want to still keep a blog that was primarily a knitting blog. If I had children I’d need that creative outlet as much as I do now. I’m certain of it. It’s how I started my blogging life and it’s the niche in which I fit most comfortably, even if I do stray from time to time. And yes I do post pictures and stories about my niece and nephew but only when it relates to my core subject matter.
For the most part I don’t read Mummy Blogs either since stories about sleepless nights, tantrums and breastfeeding have no relevance to my life and to be frank, it’s a bit like picking a scab that’s healing nicely. So I just don’t go there.
Like the knitting community I’m part of, their community is obviously an important part of their lives and any place where we find like minded friends and acquaintances is a good thing.
I’m not a Personal Blogger either. Telling stories about the minutiae of my day to day life isn’t really what I’m about – small details slip through yes, but on the whole only in as much as they relate to the knitting, the garden that sort of thing. It’s never the full picture. Just a glimpse and I try to write universally.
I very nearly pulled out of the conference. Were it not for the fact that I was, and still am, looking forward to the weekend away with Ally, I might have. I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to be a little bit like a fish out of water there, not least of all because I imagine on meeting a room full of mums I’ll get the inevitable ‘how many children do you have?’ question. That’ll get old really fast.
I think knit-blogging and mummy blogging are quite different and so it seems to me like we’ll be talking at cross purposes a lot of the time. There’s not a lot of push in the knitting (or other creative activity) communities to get on board with advertising, sponsored content or ‘monetising’. We just don’t do it. We write about our creative journeys, photograph our knitting, sewing or crochet and tell stories about how we love it and derive great personal pleasure from it.
We write to inspire and be inspired about a pretty specific subject.
Have you ever tried explaining a knitting blog to the uninitiated? It’s hard. We write about the gentle things in life and how they relate to our knitting. How dull that must sound to someone who doesn’t get it but I don’t actually care. I’m not writing for the broader community and neither, I’m sure, are you. Just as the Mummy Bloggers (and the subset – the dieting bloggers) are really only writing for an audience who shares their experiences. We can’t and shouldn’t write for everyone. If we did we’d never write anything meaningful.
I’ve taken some comfort from the fact that there are a small number of bloggers attending who don’t identify as mummy/personal bloggers – but even most of those are mums (and a few dads). On the day I really hope that we’ll all have something to contribute and learn from each other that crosses the divide of our content differences.
I’m not sure I even know what I’m hoping to get out of the conference. I’m not out to learn about incorporating paid advertising into my blog. I’m not needing help and advice on growing my readership or creating better content because frankly I’m pretty happy with the status quo. All I can do is show up, be myself, hopefully meet some nice people and talk about how fun it is to write and read blogs of interest. That’s really what got me to say yes, simply the thrill of being in a room full of people who love it like I do. I don’t feel the need to be too earnest about it.
It’s only blogging, after all, you know? It’s possible to be serious about blogging without being Serious, if that makes sense.
If you’re going to be there, I’ll be the one who knits through every session. If you knit or crochet, will you bring something to keep your hands busy? Between now and next weekend I’ll be planning what to knit. That’s the big question for me right now and I have some exciting ideas brewing.