SOCIAL MEDIA

01 October 2013

Influence Conference

Recaps of any type are typically my least favorite thing to write, ever, but because I've included you all in my mission to learn more about blogging and get serious in this business, I consider it my bound duty to write a little about our weekend adventure! Aren't I just a dutiful little blogger?


Angel and I took a detour en-route between our home and Indianapolis, and visited a dollhouse museum (for me) and Panda Express (for Angel). It was only then that we arrived, and walked 1.5 miles from where we were staying to the hotel at which the conference was held. We found a very interesting memorial fountain on the way.


I'd previously heard that one fun aspect of conferences is the random stuff they give you to take home, and Influence Conference definitely exceeded my expectations when it came to the gift bags and random gifts that seemed to keep showing up throughout the conference.

I may not be a big fan of spending money often, but I'm known for being easily impressed when people give me interesting things that I didn't expect to receive. Here are a few of my favorite books and other pretty things from the gift bag:


To put it simply, the conference was jam-packed with activities and speakers. I think, if I counted correctly, I listened to at least 10 speakers over the course of two days. That's a lot of info. Some speakers were more geared towards blogging, while others simply seemed to be of a generally inspirational sort. I'm still contemplating how I may and may not adjust my blogging strategies based on information from speeches--but rest assured, I'll definitely be remaining very much myself.

The highlights of the conference for me were probably the evening spent getting together with a couple other young wives to chat....and also the after-lunch session when a bunch of blogger husbands got up on stage to speak. Turns out that Angel isn't the only funny husband of a blogger--these guys really kept me laughing.

And I think the highlight of the conference for Angel was getting recognized by a couple ladies as "Rachel's husband."

As far as logistics go--this is the only conference I've ever been to at all, so I don't know how it compares to others in practical aspects. I found the overall tone of the conference to be very laid-back, the organizers were approachable and friendly. I would say that there wasn't quite as much food provided for breakfast and lunch as I would have liked--but perhaps I forgot I was going to a women's conference. I'm guessing that women in general don't tend to be known for eating excessively large meals?


There were definitely moments when I felt like I was standing with a frozen smile on my face, surrounded by a sea of women who all seemed to know someone else in the crowd. I have a feeling it's somewhat of a disadvantage to attend an event like this without already having a very close relationship with a couple other bloggers in attendance. Of course, I'll honestly admit that when I'm not on my own home turf, when I'm in a completely new environment surrounded by lots of people I don't know, it's a big stretch for me to not attempt to run away. Angel can attest to the fact that when he dropped me off at the hotel every day, I was whispering silly things to myself: "I will be brave. I will be friendly. I will smile and say hi to people. I will not be scared." Leaving the conference, I am proud of how brave I was, even if my version of bravery isn't nearly as outgoing as other peoples' versions. I'm very grateful for the ladies who did adopt me, who invited me to sit with them at meals and to come and chat during breaks. I'm not that great at inviting myself into existing conversations, and I'm grateful for the people who saw that and took it upon themselves to invite me in.

This conference was a growing, stretching experience. A weekend of identifying myself as a writer and coming out in public and admitting my word-filled plans to the world at large. I may not have learned anything earth-shattering from the speeches, and I may not have returned home saying, "Oh my goodness I met my new best friend in the whole wide world!!!!"....but I'm glad I went. It was an exercise in courage.

30 comments :

  1. Wow, looks like tons of fun! I really wish I could have gone!!! Let us all know if you attend any other events and perhaps I can go too! I really want to.

    You sure are brave! I love being around people--I find them so interesting. But I say really dumb things sometimes haha.

    That card you got was so pretty, with all the "hellos" on it!

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  2. So proud of you!! I definitely had a difficult time talking to other women first and jumping in on their conversations. I'd say that I could have done a heck of a lot better and I wish I had tried a little harder in that department! I noticed that the Influence conference had a lot of "bigger bloggers"... I think I would have been in awe lol. I know that sounds silly. I'm so glad you had a great time and although I love who Rachel is and what she writes about, I look forward to seeing the changes you decide to make in order to improve upon your blog!

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  3. A friend of mine from church was at this conference!! I've never been to a blogging conference like this before either, but would love to go. Maybe I should look into it for next year! It'd be great to meet some bloggers in person! :)

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  4. Thanks for writing this recap! I was wanting to know how it went! I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'm glad you were able to pick up at least a little inspiration, and I am REALLY glad that you were brave! Just because something may be easy for other people doesn't mean it is for you -- and putting yourself out there is really scary! :) So kudos!

    Also, there were like NO PEOPLE from the northwest, haha. Wow. :)

    --Erika
    http://www.chimerikal.com

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  5. oh, i can only imagine that it would take tons of courage to attend a blogging conference. i get anxious just thinking about all those people and all the cliques that go along with blogher and such. but i'm glad you found a conference that works for who you are.

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  6. oh i so wanted to go to this conf! it looked amazing :) and indy is my hometown. WHAOO!

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  7. Looks like you've had a great time. Thx for sharing Rachel.

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  8. I have never attended anything like this. Jealous!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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  9. How fun that you went! I thought about going too, but decided instead to attend a Christian women's conference here at home (nothing to do with blogging, but an amazing weekend of worship, diving deep, and fellowship). So glad you braved it! How many people ended up going?

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  10. I saw a blogging conference that a friend of mine went to. She loved it! If blogging is your dream and gift, which I think you have both, it's awesome that you got to experience your first conference! It sounds like a good place to gleam experience, ideas, and encouragement from. Keep up the good work!

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  11. Sounds like an amazing time!!! I'm hoping to go to the Influence conference at some point! :-)

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  12. SO jealous of the dollhouse museum! I went to my first blogger conference this year and yes, it does help to know someone beforehand. I knew no one and felt like a fish out of water all weekend. Thanks for sharing the recap!

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  13. That is amazing that you went to that!! It looks like such an amazing conference to attend.

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  14. Good for you for going. We only grow by challenging ourselves. That said, I agree that is must have been a bit stressful. I don't know if I could have done it.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  15. Awww...I bet the trip and conference was fun. I hope that one day I'm able to go. Also, I love Shauna Niequist. Cold tangerines was a great book. I just finished reading bittersweet last week. :)

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  16. You were brave! That's awesome! Seriously, going into big crowds and situations like that scare me, too, and I'm so impressed that you stayed and made new pals! AWESOME!

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  17. Happy you had a good time. I'm slightly disappointed that you didn't have Angel dress up in the Bear costume. I bet you more people would have recognized you guys then ;)

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  18. Wow, sounds like it was an awesome experience, so glad you got to go! I really like that map with the tacks, what a cool concept.

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  19. What fun! Stick a pin in Texas for me, won't you?

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  20. That seems fun, Rachel! Also, a big congratulations on being so brave! I know it's really difficult to do things like that sometimes. It's a great feeling to stand up to those kind of fears. Like you, I really respect and appreciate people who acknowledge and include others who might feel like they don't quite fit in yet. It's always a compassionate person who perceives this and tries to put people at ease. :)

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  21. That's awesome, way to step outside your comfort zone! I definitely think this would be the sort of thing that would be much more fun with a friend. I'm glad you had Angel there for part of it though! What a supportive husband.
    and the dollhouse museum sounds fascinating! I'd love to see that someday. :)

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  22. It was SO good to see you :) Wish we could have spent more time together, but I was just honored to meet you!

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  23. I'm sorry we didn't get to chat longer. The whole weekend feels like a blur to me, and like I needed another 20 minutes for each person to just get to talk. Maybe next year! :)

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  24. The manel was hilarious! And I think bravery is bravery, regardless of how it's manifested.

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  25. Glad I got to meet you, Rachel! The conference was a stretching experience for me, as well, and I think it's so awesome how God honors our bravery and blesses us for stepping out of our comfort zones and doing things that scare us. :)

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  26. I am so glad I got to meet you in person and that you made the brave choice to come to the conference even though you didn't know anyone personally. Hopefully, we will get to see each other next year, too! I feel like I am still decompressing from the conference an haven't even attempted to recap. Excited to see what changes you choose to implement on your blog!

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  27. Rachel I'm so glad I spotted you at the conference so I could say hello. I saw Angel too, and should have said hello because I so recognized him from your blog! I love recognizable blogger hubbys ;) So fun

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  28. So great to meet you there! I loved the married chat, too. :)

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  29. Thanks for your honesty in this! I think so many of the posts are done by the social butterflies of the world (guilty as charged), so we don't really get to read what it's like for those who may have been intimidated by the whole thing. I'm glad you were able to break out of your shell and meet some new people. Even if you already have your BFF (aka Angel), it's nice you were able to get more comfortable with talking to strangers which is key in witnessing about God's glory. I think us bloggers can feel tempted to hide behind out computer screens forever and say it's the only way we can minister to others, but God has given us our wonderfully unique personalities for a reason and I'm sure there is someone from the conference who is thinking, "I'm so glad met that Rachel girl", lol. Love you sis!

    xoxo

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