five inspirational quotes from #Blogfest15

Last month I went to my first ever blogging conference – Mumsnet Blogfest. It was fantastic. I’ve already written a post about how much I got out of it but I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say in one post without it becoming ridiculously long. I wanted to write more about the inspirational aspects of the event though, so I’ve decided to share my favourite quotes from the day. (N.B. I made a note of these as they were said but can’t promise they’re word for word quotes. Often I was too gripped by the speaker to do more than glance at what my pen was writing.)

#blogfest15 panel

Five inspirational quotes from Blogfest:

1.

“Creativity is the road to revolution. It is challenge. It’s the way we fight back against those who would oppress us. So embrace it, whatever form it takes”

Val Mcdermid

I loved this. Val then went on to say that if anyone tries to “burst your creative bubble” you should tell them to go away or “put it more forcefully using a phrase involving sex and travel… “. She was really funny and inspiring and made me realise the real power involved in creativity. That literature, art and music make us think and question everything around us, opening up the world and encouraging humanity towards all sorts of achievements. So don’t doubt yourself – go, create.

2.

“Social media is where we raise a little flag of self. Offence is used to put wind in that flag.”

David Baddiel.

Ok, this isn’t really an inspiring quote so much as a thought-provoking one. David Baddiel was, as you’d probably expect, very funny and insightful. He showed us lots of examples from his Twitter feed of how easily offended people are by him. You could see in the zealousness of some of the tweets how much those people were actually rather enjoying taking offence and how it was making them feel more important – in classic bully style. As he was talking I could visualise everyone on social media desperately waving their little flags, trying to be seen amidst the masses. It made sense of how I feel on Twitter (teeny, tiny) and why trolls do what they do.

3.

 “Equality is better for all of us: it is better for our daughters. It is better for our sons.”

Sandi Toksvig OBE

Sandi Toksvig was talking about gender equality with reference to her own political party – the Women’s Equality Party which believes “Equality for women isn’t a women’s issue. When women fulfil their potential, everyone benefits.” – something I wholeheartedly agree with.

I’m frequently staggered when I read statistics about inequality. Even in this country there are huge divisions between the way men and women are treated and it seems to happen across the board. I was reading an article recently that suggested you are far more likely to get a publishing deal if you submit a manuscript under a male name rather than a female one. Yes, here in the uk. yes, now, in 2015.

But lack of equality isn’t just relevant for us as women, it’s relevant for men too. The sexism that props up our system starts when our kids are tiny. It is there when girls are called ‘bossy’ (while their male counterparts are rewarded for ‘confidence’). It’s there when we praise our daughters for their looks rather than their brains, and laugh off our sons bad behaviour with ‘boys will be boys‘. And don’t get me started on “he’s just lazy – typical male!” that I’ve heard mothers fling at their young sons.

None of these gendered expectations are helpful. Bit by bit they teach our kids that some things are ok for boys and not ok for girls, and vice versa. It constrains and alters them as kids and affects their choices as adults. We need to treat our boys and girls equally so they can grow to be the people they are meant to be, not into the roles society expects of them. Equality is better for all our children.

4.

“As bloggers, authenticity is key. Trust is your power.”

Jude Brookes

This was during a session on ‘building your brand’ and Jude Brookes was reminding us that, as bloggers, we are free from the constraints that writing for another publication or speaking for a company would place us under. We speak for ourselves and if we are authentic people will come to trust us. She encouraged us to focus on telling engaging stories and building relationships. 100 engaged readers are more valuable than 10,000 twitter followers who you never interact with (and may well be ignoring all your tweets anyway).

This resonated with me as I do sometimes wonder if I should write in a certain way – follow a few more trends perhaps? – to get more followers (not to mention promoting myself more which I am rubbish at). I have worried about the risks of being too open in the past and held back a lot. Jude made me reflect on the value of honesty and it was good to have the idea of ‘quality over quantity’ reinforced by a brand specialist.

5.

“Could I have my photo taken with you? And Maddy, I can take a photo of the two of you together if you like…?

Sumbel Gilani

This was when the lovely Sumbel from Mama Not Dumber– my friend of a mere few hours at that point – asked Tim Dowling if she could have a photo with him and also encouraged me to do so too. This was obviously very excellent because it meant I got THIS photo!

tim dowling

Tim Dowling had his arm round me. I simply couldn’t hide my glee.

But it was more than that – Sumbel knew what she wanted and went for it. And she was lovely enough to notice that of course I too wanted a photo with this talented, funny (and handsome) man. Given we’d only met that morning, it was pretty insightful of her…. or perhaps I was a little too obvious in my fandom. But anyway, the fact is, she asked something I didn’t dare ask, was thoughtful enough to take me along for the ride and, in doing so, gained me a memory that makes me grin like a cheshire cat. A lesson in ‘going for it’ if ever there was one. Thanks Sumbel.

So, what have I taken away from these quotes? Be brave, be honest, be creative – and do so for all our sakes. Be thoughtful. Wave your little flag with kindness and empathy, rather than anger and offence. Let the winds of creativity and passion fly it high. Believe in yourself and go for it.

Writing Bubble

This week ‘The Prompt’ is ‘believe’ which fits with the overall feeling of self-belief I got from Blogfest.

mumturnedmom
Also linking with Victoria’s last ever #PoCoLo. Thanks for being such a great host all these years, Vic and good luck with your blog’s new direction.
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27 thoughts on “five inspirational quotes from #Blogfest15

  1. Nicole

    I’m fairly new to blogging and intrigued by blogfest, I wasn’t really sure what it was all about but this is such an engaging insight. I may have to go myself now next year! Thank you.

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  2. Marija Smits

    Thanks for blogging more about Blogfest – I can connect to all of those quotes, especially Val’s one. And I’m glad you got the photo taken – sometimes us HSPs do need someone who is more of an extrovert to give us a helping hand to ‘put ourselves out there’ a little bit more! Hope you have a great Christmas, Maddy, and thanks for all you do to share writing hopes and dreams. xx

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  3. Sumbel

    Brilliant article, Maddy! I love the quotes. It’s so inspiring to read them a few weeks after Blogfest, as a refresher. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m (almost) speechless at such a lovely mention and so pleased that I was able to contribute to a cherished souvenir. It was great meeting you and a bonus that I love reading your work, I find it so relateable. Xx

    Reply
  4. Mummy Tries

    I’m so pleased you got as much out of BlogFest as you did hon. I was put off by it for various reasons tbh, glad you had a great time. Absolutely love the Val Mcdermid quote, and David Baddiel is a very wise man too, in fact they’re all great :) You look soooooo chuffed with yourself next to TD xxx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Bob the Builder to the RescueMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Haha I know I look slightly TOO chuffed really but I just couldn’t hide it! I loved blogfest because it felt more about the writing than the blogging which suited me. I think you would have loved the speakers! Thanks for commenting as always lovely Reneé xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-sevenMy Profile

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  5. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Maddy, you have some really interesting quotes here. I don’t know if it makes me sound naïve, but I just don’t see the need for ‘revolution’ in the words of Val McDermid, here and now (maybe I’m missing the context). I do however believe that creativity is the mother of invention, progress, achievements of the human race generally and the stifling of creativity is oppressive, long may we all be creative!
    Being honest with and about myself is the key purpose to my writing. This comes along with me being wary of social media, I definitely don’t want to attract the attention of trolls and there are many out there. Sometimes you wonder what goes through peoples heads, but mostly I think they must be caught up in a very small existence. At least we can know that we are expanding our own and others by our writing and connections. Thank for sharing. xx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…On recovery as acceptanceMy Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Hi Alice, I think the context of Val’s quote was worldwide. There are horrendous regimes that torture and kill artists of all kinds because they are brave enough to speak (or write, paint etc) the truth in a way that affects people and provokes action. Artists have been important through out history in this way. As for here in this country and now, much less so… but then I still think there’s a way that creativity of all kinds can tap into something in us and teach us things. I’ve seen some amazing pieces of art about the refugee crisis. I think you never know when a creative act can inspire someone to make a difference. I think revolutions can be small, personal ones too. As you say, creativity is the mother of invention. I would have loved to have heard val speak for longer and to have had the opportunity for questions too – she only had five minutes!
      I’m wary of social media too. Hate the idea of being trolled. I thought David Baddiel took the nastiness remarkably well! Thanks for commenting Alice, you’ve made me reflect more. xxx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-sevenMy Profile

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  6. El

    What great inspiring quotes to take on one’s blogging journey with you. I have been plagued by self doubt and the should I go here or there? Should I change this or that? “As bloggers, authenticity is key. Trust is your power.” What an incredible quote and a strong reminder to stay true to yourself, your craft and your passion. Thank you for sharing what you have learnt. #WhatImWriting
    El recently posted…A bit of Everything Week 10My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Glad that quote spoke to you El. I think it’s so easy to doubt ourselves as bloggers because it’s such a visible industry (industry isn’t the right word but I can’t think what is right now!) and we can all see what everyone else is doing/writing/posting and compare ourselves. I really do believe in authenticity, although it also comes with vulnerability which is a bit scary! Thanks for commenting xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-sevenMy Profile

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  7. tracey bowden

    I really wanted to go to blogfest but didn’t make it this year maybe next. I love that you’ve placed the emphasis on the quotes and what you go out of it. I have always tried to be honest and find my own voice on my blog so Jude Brookes quote really resonated with me as I have, in the past, got a bit lost with my blog trying to write how I think people want me to write instead of how I want to write #WhatImWriting
    tracey bowden recently posted…I’m ReadyMy Profile

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  8. Sara | mumturnedmom

    It sounds like this was such an amazing event; one those times where I wish I lived just a little bit closer! I love all of these quotes (the last one makes me smile, a lot, good for Sumbel). I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity recently, and am finding myself much more comfortable writing fewer posts, focusing on the quality instead: no, bash it out, last minute efforts just to get something published… except the prompt of course, which is always last minute! David Baddiel’s quote is really interesting, and very true. Thank you so much for sharing with #ThePrompt, and for supporting the linky all year. Have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year xx
    Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…The Prompt 95My Profile

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    1. Maddy Post author

      Your new blog direction makes sense to me Sara – I think quality over quantity makes for a more authentic blog. Am very impressed that your pieces for #theprompt are so last minute – they’re always so good! Thanks for all the inspiration. Happy Christmas to you too! xx
      Maddy recently posted…What I’m Writing – week fifty-sevenMy Profile

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