On Saturday 18th June 2016, I took myself off to an event in London called Blogtacular. An event founded in 2013, it is a way for the creative community of bloggers, freelancers and and indie business to come together.

I was feeling so wiped out and after already spending the week travelling between Leicester and London, the thought of commuting back up to town one more time felt like such an effort. However, I purposely bought a ticket for this event in advance, knowing it was important for me to ‘give it a go’. In true Guilty Mother style, I will rock up with no expectations and open eyes. I’ll embrace every one I meet and get as much out of the day as I possibly can.

Keen to continually improve my own writing, I wanted to acquire some great tips and advice from people who have successfully carved out a business for themselves from their writing.

The opening keynote was warmly and positively delivered by artist and author, Lisa Congdon. Her energy and passion for not only sharing her story but honestly reflecting on the battles us women have against ourselves and our own abilities to succeed resonated with most of the room. It was like the nodding dog from Churchill. Our ongoing tendency to compare ourselves to others is one of our biggest issues. Lisa spoke about how we all put ourselves out there every day and we are often so fearful, because we just don’t know what to expect in return. An ongoing worry about whether people will like or respond to what we put out there. Is what we have written ‘good enough’ and will it be ‘liked enough’ and what is the definition of enough? And when we think about blogging success, we should perhaps ask ourselves, what does success look like and what is success to you? This is one of the hardest questions someone once recently asked me. I told someone that ‘I had been successful in my career’ and he asked me in reply ‘what does success look like to you Jo?” and that question creates many deep thoughts. Does success always need to mean financial? It's an interesting question, don't you think?

Furthermore, what impact does our ongoing ‘busy’ lifestyles have on our health? I’m always striving for more. Half the time I am unsure I can change it, however I’m also conscious of the amount of friends and family I have witnessed around me who have pushed their work commitments to the wire, resulting in ongoing health issues. No-one should believe they are unbreakable as everyone has their own break point. When I feel the stress rise inside me to a level I am not happy with, I ensure I take a rest, but by all accounts, I quite honestly, I don’t always achieve this as well as I would like.

I’ve always been a confident person but it’s still taken me a long time to figure out my own best skills and understand my own self worth, without comparing myself to others. If there’s one thing I have learnt over the last few years, it is for all us to a fraction less critical of our own selves and quite simply, to believe in ourselves that little bit more.

As a motivational and confidence speaker for women and teenage girls, I am often trying to help others to seek out the confidence and courage inside themselves to take a chance on something new. Giving something a try is really important whether your 13, 30, 40 or beyond. The only reason why sometimes we don’t try something is because we so fearful of that dreaded word ‘failure’. But what does failure mean? Did you know that fail actually stands for ‘First Attempt In Learning’. So, even if something doesn’t quite work out as you plan it to, you’ll still always take something away from that experience and you are likely to learn from it.

Blogtacular was a great way to meet other bloggers in the flesh. From photography, food, craft and fashion, we all came to together as one. A healthy place to bounce ideas off each other and share business passions.

In summary, Blogtacular 2016 taught us two key things: embrace your imperfections and focus on being your authentic self. The event has left me feeling hugely positive about my blog. I know Guilty Mother is on the rise and I promise you, that won’t see anything else than an authentic woman and mum.

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