Andrea Nair: Connect-Four Parenting

Sep
03
2015

Look at the Difference BlissDom Canada Makes!

Meet Friends, Make changes

Blissdom Canada

A friend who is new to blogging recently asked me if I thought it would be “worth it” for her to attend BlissDom Canada this year. With big eyes, I said, “Absolutely!” She quickly responded, “Okay, but why?”

I immediately thought back to my first BlissDom Canada experience in downtown Toronto, which was also my first time attending any kind of blogging conference. I had written a few posts with encouraging results that our local small-print parenting magazine had published. As a psychotherapist raising two little boys, I wanted to find a way to share what was significantly helping me and my clients get through the toddler years. I had NO idea where to start.

One day several years ago I saw the monthly Today’s Parent Magazine come through my inbox to be placed in the waiting room, but this time I took it home, scouring the articles. I examined them looking to see if there was a basic format the writers were using, as I was a therapist and not a trained writer! I could feel a writing itch but didn’t have a clue if I was on the track or if my writing wasn’t very good. I wanted to know how to get started writing parenting articles, how to hone my writing style, and how to get better.

I had two big challenges facing me: I still had toddlers at home so leaving the house to meet with people was difficult, and I didn’t know anyone to help me get started in the writing business. I was full of passion and lacking in direction. Then one day as I was sharing my frustration with knowing what to do, a friend quoted this phrase to me:

The only thing I had was my computer, an internet line, and the awareness that I had to stay home. I remember sitting at my desk looking out the window, and asking, “Okay. What can I do from right here?”

At that point I didn’t even have a smartphone or any social media accounts. I realized I needed to start a personal Facebook profile and after doing so, began by searching for names of writers and editors I had come across with the hopes of learning from them. Thankfully, people I didn’t know accepted my friend requests, which significantly helped me put my first step into the writing and social media world.

I sat back and watched. I wanted to see what professional writers and editors were writing about, what they shared and whom they interacted with. I noticed they were mentioning “BlissDom” in their chats, but had no idea what they were talking about. I had the sense that being there would be helpful so I took a risk, made arrangements to get out of my house, and went to Toronto.

The first time I walked into the BlissDom Canada area, I was quite nervous. I didn’t actually know one single person there. Not one! I came armed with my list of names: my goal was to listen to and interact with the people I had become Facebook friends with.

I attended amazing sessions about social media, writing, media, and parenting. I also did end up face-to-face with a few of the women I was hoping to meet. Informal chats with them did what I was hoping they would do: put me on their “parenting expert” radar. About six months after my first BlissDom experience, I saw my name in a magazine for the very first time.

This event gave me the tools to achieve my goals of expanding my reach and finding people to help me improve. I actually learned how to turn my training and experience into words someone on the other side of the world could read and find helpful — right from the little office in my house.

Specifically, I met a very talented freelance editor who I then hired to comment on two articles I was hoping to pitch to magazines. Along with her outstanding suggestions, she said one important thing, which has drastically changed my life. In the middle of an email she wrote, “You are a great writer.” I stared at those words, weeping.

Those five words gave me the confidence to take many risks like sending pitch emails to magazine editors, talking to people I would have normally felt intimidated by, and most importantly, to continue writing. She gave me the gift of believing in myself in an area that was completely foreign to me. Not surprisingly, this editor is now the editor-in-chief of one of North America’s longest running magazines.

One of the risks I am so incredibly grateful to have taken was to send a tweet to Erica Ehm, the founder of YummyMummyClub.ca. To my shock, she responded, followed me back, and we began building a connection that has grown much deeper than I could ever have imagined. Erica has been constantly inspiring, motivating, and has become a dear friend. Our working relationship and friendship certainly took off after spending face-to-face time at my second BlissDom event.

When my friend asked about why I thought going to BlissDom was beneficial, I though about that first time I went, which got me started in blogging life and a basic understanding of social media, but also the second time, which helped me understand the technical side of blogging, and better yet, started amazing friendships. The third one made me feel less alone in my home and behind my computer screen, and this last one made me realize the women and men I have met at BlissDom are my people and I can credit much of my success to them. They have helped grow my business, improve my skills and connect me with readers around the world. I now have over 32,000 followers on my Facebook page and last month alone, 184,000 people read my articles. That blows my mind!

I have even presented a few times at BlissDom. Last year, I had the privilege of hosting a panel about helicopter parenting which included these amazing people: Julie Cole, co-owner of Mabels Labels, Kelly Bos, relationship expert, Doug French, co-founder of Dad 2.0 summit, and Sasha Emmons, editor-in-chief of Today's Parent Magazine. This is a picture of us doing our pre-session social media blast out from up on the stage. 

Now I look forward to going to BlissDom Canada for the amazing content, but mostly to connect with people I care about. It is wonderful to spend time IRL with those we communicate with so often through our screens. There are real hearts and great minds behind those lovely profile pictures. Oh, that goofy picture at the top is me, in my pajamas, dancing away at last year's event.

Roosevelt Quote Image Source: TheMotherhood.com

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