While I may look like I’ve been up for weeks on end with a newborn, the exhaustion written all over my face is that of a different kind. It’s one of immersing myself in learning new things, meeting new people, and connecting with those that I met last year. I stayed up late, got up early, and came home with my brain working overtime, full of ideas that I’m excited to put to work.
If you’re a blogger and you’ve never gone to Haven, I have to tell you that my only regret is that I didn’t go sooner. I’m pretty sure when I came home from Haven last year, that there was smoke coming out of my ears. I learned so much, and reprimanded myself for not going earlier – how much that learning could have helped me make greater strides in my blogging life. But, I found that I’m not the only one who feels that way, and that you just have to put it behind you and move on. You don’t know what you don’t know.
This year, I’m going to sum up Haven, in a semi-cheesy mnemonic — I told you I was exhausted…
H is for Happy Place
Haven is my Happy Place, my Tribe, my people. It’s awesome to hang out with a group of people who get it, and know your struggles, because they have had the same struggles. Even better, when I talk to fellow bloggers, their eyes don’t glaze over
like my husband’s have a tendency to do. Their eyes light up, like mine do.
A is for Amazing Swag and “A Face with the Name”
You can’t talk about Haven without mentioning the swag that they pull together for all of us. They don’t mess around. I got smart this year and brought an extra duffel bag to lug all of my loot home with me.
Ok, I know I’m reaching on this one with the letter “A”, but it’s a valid point for my list. I was able to meet some bloggers that feel like “old friends” (even though we’ve never met), which is always a huge treat. I met Kris from Driven by Decor, Cassie from Primitive and Proper, and Shelley from Calypso in the Country.
We were also set up into groups with a successful blogger as our mentor, to help answer additional questions that we have. I had Mandi from Vintage Revivals, who is just as charming and funny in person as she is on her blog. My favorite quote of the entire event came from her, in describing a contest that she participated in at another blog conference – “I’m not competitive, I just have to win.”
V is for Vendors
The vendors at Haven are phenomenal, and to have all of them together, excited to talk to you, and learn about how they can help you, is quite empowering. When you’re at home, plugging away, looking for a contact from a company, sometimes it’s difficult to find the right person to talk to, and at Haven, they serve them up on a platter and it’s left to you to make the connections.
E is for Enthusiasm
After meeting bloggers old and new, attending educational sessions on how to grow your blog and your blogging skills, I dare you to go home not feeling energized and enthused. It’s impossible. Even when I went to bed, completely tired, my brain was buzzing with ideas. How often do you get that response to learning and talking with people about your work?
N is for Networking
There is networking of all kinds going on at Haven. You network with brands and with other bloggers. You learn as much in the sessions as you do by sitting down with a group of bloggers for lunch. The learning never ends, and the networking extends far beyond the end of Haven. I know that bonds are formed, Facebook groups are created and Instagram parties are planned. Being around a group that is so committed to sharing and helping one another is what keeps people coming back year after year.
The reason I’m so passionate about Haven and about blogging in general, is because it has literally changed my life. If you had told me that I would be doing what I’m doing now, when I first started on this blogging journey, I never would have believed you. It has been life changing for me, and for many others. I guess when something changes your life for the better, you’re excited to shout out to the world about it.