Texas Style Council’s Summer School (Part 1).

As a blogger, I spend a lot of time online. For me, that’s fine – I love to write and I love to write my blog, so I certainly don’t mind the hours I spend typing away behind a computer screen. But, sometimes, it’s nice to give the ole’ laptop a break, and do some socializing the old fashioned way – face-to-face. So this weekend, I did just that and attended my very first blogger conference: Texas Style Council’s Summer School.

Let me tell you something, y’all: it was great! There is something so wonderful and inspiring about coming together with a group of women (and a few men) who love doing what you love, and sitting in sessions where the speaker spoke to every one of my own blogging thoughts, concerns, insecurities and goals. There was definitely a lot of sitting – in total, I think I sat through 10-12 separate sessions, but it I hardly took notice of the fact that I couldn’t feel my butt by the end of each day.

It would take me blog post after blog post to give y’all a detailed description of each session that I attended, so I’m going to take a page from my friend Nicole at Writes Like A Girl and share the highlights from each of my sessions (or “classes” as we loving refer to them in summer school):

HTML 101Jen, owner of Purse & Clutch gave us a crash course on writing in HTML (which I now know stands for HyperText Markup Language). I’ve always been interested in learning how to write in HTML, and while I wouldn’t say that I’m a master HTML-er after Jen’s class, I can proudly say that I understand the very, very basics. Now just to build on what Jen taught…

Freelancing 101 | One of my favorite Austin bloggers, Tolly of Austin Eavesdropper, schooled us on the ways to break into a freelance writing career, as well as selling yourself and work to the right publication. This class was right up my alley because I would love to one day become a freelancer – I think if I was listening any more closely, I would have fallen out of my chair.

Creative Living 101 | When I decided to join this class put on by Jessie of Style & Pepper, I thought I would learn how to add creativity and flair to my everyday life (two things my life desperately needs almost 100% of the time), but what I actually learned was how to bring my online world offline – a useful tool for many bloggers and shop owners whose blog is their brand.

Personal Budgeting 101Now, I’ve never thought I have been bad with money, but when I heard that Eric & Kelsey of Words of William were teaching a class on budgeting, I knew it was a must-attend. Budgeting is not my strong suit, and they are PROS! The biggest lessons I learned from this session: Find a tool that works well for you (they use YNAB) and stick to a budget for at least three months to help acclimate yourself to the new lifestyle.

DIYAt this point in the day, I was getting a little worn from sitting in panel after panel, and thought it was about time that I got involved, so I went to two separate DIY sessions. The first was a class on designing and crafting gemstone chip earrings, taught by the fabulous Sierra of Manic Trout, and I made two fabulous pairs of earrings to add to my jewelry collection. For the second DIY session, I created some awesome leather key fobs a la Jessica from Son of a Sailor.

Create Your Own Media KitThough I’ve never been in need of a media kit, at figured learning how to make one for my own blog was a valuable lesson at this point in my blogging career. And if I’m going to make a media kit, there’s no better teacher than Tieka of Selective Potential (she’s a graphic designer, and therefore knows how to make a beautifully designed media kit).

After that, sessions ended for the day, and it was time for us to head home an get ready for the night’s activity – prom. Yes, you heard me. Seriously, what would school be without a prom to celebrate all the accomplishments you’ve had at school? Brandon and I got all dressed up and headed over to TxSC’s Prom for a night of dancing, dress-up, and lots of awesome freebies! It was great – seriously, so much fun.

And that was just the first full day of the conference. Just wait until the next post…

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