When I first started blogging I was completely ignorant that there was a blogging community, blogger events and the fact that you could actually make friends with fellow bloggers. I was just a shy girl blogging from her bedroom in Hull for the love of writing and for something to do in her spare time (I'll stop talking about myself in third person now because it makes me sound like a class A loser). When I started I didn't have Twitter or Instagram so it was a whole year before I even discovered that there was a Hull bloggers group and I didn't know how to promote myself at all. When people actually started reading my blog it made me nervous - I was almost happier writing things that nobody was reading because I didn't have to worry about anyone judging my writing, my photography and me as a person. I was also confused as to why anyone would want to read my blog - I didn't think it was particularly good or interesting, I hadn't found any sort of niche and I certainly wasn't doing anything massively different from anyone else.
The first event I ever attended was a local one and I was horrendously nervous. I got lost on the way so arrived late, didn't know anyone and was awful at making any kind of conversation or introducing myself. Luckily I sat with the nicest people who made conversation with me and made me feel at ease, but I didn't feel like I belonged in this blogging world or that I deserved to be at the event at all. I left feeling as nervous and uncomfortable as I had when I arrived.
Fast forward to a year later and I was on my way to the Blogger's Blog Awards with Ashton. I'd attended a few more local events, met some lovely people and come out of my shell a bit more. I was still disappointed in myself at how shy I was at the actual event though (I wrote a post about it here) and wished I'd had the guts to talk to more people. A lot more people were reading my blog by this point and I was actually pretty happy with my content and photography (although I'm one of those people who feels like I can always improve and I'm never 100% happy with anything I do) so I didn't necessarily feel out of place being at the event, just overwhelmed, shy and annoyed at myself for being so. I think each event is a stepping stone though and the more you attend and the more bloggers you speak to, the easier it becomes.
This year I feel like I've really been pushing myself in terms of both content and photography and eventually think I've found my niche. One of my non-blogger friends said to me a while ago that my blog is interesting because I make it so, my niche is me. I didn't really think about it at the time because it seemed a bit self indulgent, but I've realised that I read blogs for the person, not the blog. I read blogs where you feel like you're getting to know the blogger behind it and simply because I like that person. This year I feel like I've been writing for me rather than writing a post that I think will get a lot of views or that people will want to read because hopefully people will just want to read my blog anyway. This way of writing has given me a newfound confidence - I think because I'm not trying to please people, I'm not trying to get views and it's coming so much more naturally.
So when I attended BlogConLDN this past weekend I felt that confidence in myself as blogger, I felt at ease and like I belonged there. I wasn't nervous at all, I chatted to everyone I wanted to without being worried and I had a great time. A big thank you to Ashton (who I now want to be my personal photographer after taking the above photos), Kirsty and Rachel who definitely played a big part in making me feel at ease and also to all the lovely people I chatted to and finally got to meet! I feel really inspired with blogging at the moment so I'm hoping that will continue and that my confidence will continue to grow. I've learnt that I need to push myself out of comfort zone and *mega cheesy quote alert* feel the fear and do it anyway.