Nov 11, 2017

Blog Conferences 101 (Haven Conference Blog Hop)

Haven mentor blog hop

If you are arriving here from Beauty and Bedlam welcome to The Kim Six Fix!  

Today I’m participating in the Haven Mentor Blog Hop with two dozen other amazingly talented bloggers. This group of women (and a couple men) will be leading small support groups during the Haven Blog Conference that will be held in Atlanta later this summer. 

To be honest, it feels somewhat surreal to be included in this group of awesome mentors. If you have been anywhere around the home/garden/DIY world, I am sure you recognize a few names! We all can’t wait to share what we have learned during our blogging journeys and each of us has a story that is completely different from the next. 

This will be my fourth time attending Haven and I can’t wait to meet both the bloggers I’ve known for a long time, as well as anyone attending for the first time.  “Knowing” people from online interactions is one thing, but there is nothing quite like meeting someone face to face that really makes that connection.

If you are a blogger, or want to be a blogger (or just want to come hang out with a bunch of bloggers) there is still time to register for Haven! (I’ve written about Haven a bunch of times before in case you want some more behind the scenes details)

As part of this year’s blog hop I have a series of questions to answer and so I thought I would jump right in:

1. How many years have you been blogging?

So this is a very interesting question, and something you may have never guessed about me. I have actually had a long series of blogs until I eventually landed here in the DIY niche.  Originally I started blogging about the role of female scientists (especially mothers) in academia science research.

This was my old blog title and header:Toughest 2That was back after my first daughter was born (circa 2005…I actually have no idea of my original start date, that blog is long gone).
Eventually I left the bench and became a stay at home mom, and I started a blog about fixing up my house (this was around 2009).  My original blogged was called ‘The Money Pit’ and that is where I got my feet wet in the world of blog conferences.

In 2011 I rebranded to “The Kim Six Fix” and that I what I have been ever since. Now I’m more focused on DIY, woodworking and craft projects with less emphasis on home decor and design.

As I have changed, so has my blog.

2. What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?

My first major blog project and the one that set me on the road to being a DIY blogger was my 1905 Victorian Townhouse Kitchen Remodel.  It was a NIGHTMARE of a project, but the results were amazing and made it possible for us to sell our house in a pinch for a significant profit.
To this:


It was one of my original projects and I have actually never updated that series of posts..  It is like a time capsule of what blogging (and my life) was like 8 years ago.

It was a long series and and even longer process.
Before/The Plan
Demo One
Removing Paneling
Moving Steam Pipes
Drywall Repair
Demo Two
Demo ThreeFloors and CabinetsReveal
Staging for Sale

3. What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?

I’ve learned the power of surrounding yourself with people who support you and want good things for you.  My first blog conference is where I found out about blogging support groups and connected with other people who were willing to help me out and give me advice and teach me what they knew.

Before that conference I didn’t really have anyone supporting and encouraging me.  I was an island. I had made a lot of good friends in the science community, but I had always blogged under an anonymous pseudonym (because of the sensitive topic and close relation to my professional career).

When I entered the realm of home and DIY bloggers it was like a whole new world. I didn’t have to remain anonymous but ironically I didn’t know ANYONE else who blogged about what I did.  And then I met other bloggers at blog conferences and I knew I had found my tribe.

Since that time I have started my own Facebook group to help other bloggers learn from both my successes and my failures, and to make sure nobody ever has to feel alone. To me, blogging is not only an occupation, it is a community, and the way we treat the people in our community says a lot about us. We should be there for bloggers who need support or lifting up, since we would want to be treated the same way if we were in their shoes.


4. What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?

I love how creative and unique bloggers are.  When you look at almost any trend, be it home, garden, fashion, food, crafts or design, bloggers are always on the cutting edge.  When you take some of the most creative people on the planet and give them a place to showcase their talent, it is amazing what they can produce.   That genuine and original content is what sets the blogging community apart from other forms of media.

Blogging has changed a lot since when I first started, and not all of it has been for the better.  I wish we would reduce the emphasis on monetization and the notion that success as a blogger means you need to be making a lot of money.  I mean, sure we all love money and it is great if you make lots of it, but the focus on blogging as an income stream has sucked the joy and creativity out of a large part of the blogging community and often hinders sharing and collaboration.  It also has set unrealistic expectations for people who are new to blogging.

Money is only a small part of the blogging equation, but it gets a huge percentage of the attention. There are many many more measures of success than a single number, but we often lose focus on those.

5. What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger--new or otherwise--who is going to Haven?

Everyone is nervous and just because someone seems like an extrovert online don’t mean that will be that way in person.  Don’t confuse someone being shy as someone being snobby, since it is easy to mis-read people when they are in a situation that may make them uncomfortable.  Conferences are a whirlwind of activity.  There is so much to take in and so much to see, and it can feel overwhelming.  So give anyone you meet the benefit of the doubt.

It may also feel like EVERYONE seems to know EVERYONE else, and if you are new, it can be really intimidating. You can still feel really lonely in a room full of people.  But you aren’t the only one. Be brave and talk to the people you ‘know’ from their blog.  It is always flattering to be recognized and even the most “famous” of bloggers are just regular people.

Finally, talk to people you don’t know.. since the people you meet will be 1000 times more important than the classes you take or the swag that you get.

Remember! This is supposed to be fun!  Stressing yourself out sucks the joy out of it!

The blog hop continues with my good friend Janet of Shabbyfufu, so go ahead and click on over!  

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