A few weekends back, I set out on a big adventure. To drive to Brooklyn. If you are not from around New York area, let me describe this experience for you. You are doing one of the following:
Sitting in traffic
Avoiding potholes (and occasional potheads) on the infamous BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway)
Trying to handle profanities yelled at you by neurotic New York drivers in an eloquent and elegant way
I went in anyway because I was a lucky winner of the Blogcademy scholarship and I really wanted to go to this blogging workshop. Although blogging has been just a hobby to me, I am currently cooking up a few things and I wanted to do it right, meet the famous blogging trio (Gala, Shauna, and Kat) and also, meet fellow blogging addicts. And I have to say, those four hell of rides were well worth it.
Before I go into details of this workshop and what my experience was like, let me first start by saying that the whole time I was sitting in the “classroom”, taking notes and absorbing all the information, I was thinking: I wish my eighth grade chemistry class was just like that. Let me elaborate. I loathed my chemistry class in elementary school. It was SO BORING. The teacher probably assumed that no lab was necessary because chemistry and all chemical reactions are much better to be taught as strings of non-sensical numbers and letters. To make things worse, my dad’s dream was for me to become a chemist or a pharmacist (stable job, good money), but I crushed his dream by not only ditching chemistry, but also by enrolling in art college (sorry, dad). Anyway. So because my chemistry class was so boring, I made up a little game. In the corner of my notebook, I would count every single minute of that class. I basically spend my time watching the clock and by the end, I would have 45 lines in my notebook.
The Blogcademy workshop was NOTHING like that. In fact, the entire weekend flew by way too fast and I could have stayed and listened to these ladies for days, for weeks! So just the fact that I got hooked ranks this workshop pretty well in my book.
THE BIGGEST LESSONS LEARNT
There are no shortcuts
The Blogcademy teachers (aka the headmistresses) are pretty clear on that there is hard work behind their success and nothing else. They basically tell you straight out that unless you put in the extra mile(s), you won’t achieve your dreams. It was incredible to listen to each of these ladies and their journey and how they got to where they are. Truly inspirational.
Be yourself, everyone else is taken
Oh, you haven’t heard that one before, have you? Despite the fact that this is something like blogging mantra, it’s actually pretty damn hard to be yourself (especially when you are starting out). Crazy, huh? Well, if you think about it, although blogs and social media sites are our venues of expression, there is still a filter that is keeping our true selves out. We post curated content. Just pieces of ourselves. Another revelation- my first blog (on DIY tutorials) was so awfully impersonal, I can’t event tell that I (Marketa) wrote the posts. Yeah, that bad. Which brings me to my next point:
Allow yourself to grow and make mistakes
I think collectively, the headmistresses wrote over 10,000 blog posts, and each post brings you a little closer to becoming more you and to grow as a writer. So yeah, don’t sweat every little thing. Just do it, try, experiment! (I am so guilty of this, overthinking everything.)
It’s easier to write for one person than for millions
I always imagine one of my lovely readers, who leave me lovely comments on my blog posts or social media and think: would they like this? Would they be interested? That really helps me plan out my content.
Need a secret sauce
Something that makes you different- in a good way. Something that makes you recognizable in an instant. Something that drives people to you, so they want to get to know you. But it takes a while. I am sure that the folks over at KFC had a few failed attempts before they screamed out “Eureka!”
If you are thinking about attending The Blogcademy, here is my advice:
1. Treat is as a networking event
One of the benefits of the workshop is to connect with fellow bloggers in person. I got to meet really awesome and interesting people, so I am grateful for that.
2. Short on cash? Apply for a scholarship!
I really love the fact that the ladies give out this opportunity! I think all three of them remember the olden days when they were trying to make it with just a few pennies. My advice on this: write a kick-ass scholarship post. I put a lot of energy and effort into mine and the headmistresses loved it.
3. Is this for you?
There was such a variety of bloggers at the workshop: from a girl who published a book to a girl who hasn’t written her first post yet. Well, just yesterday, The Blogcademy ladies announced that there will be two levels of workshops : beginner/intermediate and advanced, so do the research to find which one would be a better fit.
BEHIND THE SCENES
1. Do you see the photo above- the one on the right? It’s from the very end of the workshop, when everyone basically left. I am not kidding, but I am always one of the last ones to leave ANYTHING. In my high school gym class, I would be the one who would take the longest to change back to her clothes. Even when I wore jeans and a T-shirt and made an effort to rush, I would still be one of the last ones. I don’t get it. It’s my curse. Or a blessing. Not sure, really.
2. I won the best venue photo award (it’s the top left photo in the collage of 4 above) and got an awesome turquoise wallet. I am bragging here of course.
3. I was so happy to receive a report card with such positive feedback. Am I bragging again? No, there are still things I need to work on.
4. Our class learnt about the Level 2 Blogcademy class before it was officially announced.
5. And, of course, people in Brooklyn thought that we were a bunch of crazed babes when we posed like this in the street:
Overall, super fun and exciting experience. Loved every second! Thank you for letting me share my story! Are you thinking about going to a blogging workshop? What’s your experience has been?