Early in 2015, I went on holiday. I’ve got to say, February in Suffolk wasn’t the most appealing option for me, but for some reason I agreed to it. I’d never been to Suffolk before, nor have I since, but that’s not for a lack of interest. We had a surprisingly enjoyable week.
The previous year, I’d encountered and received support for my writing from fellow author and blogger, Dylan Hearn. His blog goes by the name Suffolk Scribblings and, with the clue being in the title, my holiday seemed like a great opportunity to meet up. So we did, spending a couple of hours in a nearby hostelry one evening, getting to know each other better and sharing thoughts and ideas.
Up to that point, although my interactions with other bloggers had been positive, there was still something missing in terms of the connection. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve built up some great online relationships over the years but, to me, there’s nothing quite like meeting people.
Then, a few months later, word started to come out about the first Bloggers Bash. Dylan was going, and so were several other people I’d got to know online. After that meeting in Suffolk, and the pleasure I’d got from chatting to one person, what would it be like to meet a group?
Several blog posts were shared after the event, each giving different perspectives on that gathering. For me, it turned out to be a shot in the arm, not just to my blogging – which had tailed off a little at that time – but also to my writing in general. Encouraging comments from others there made me feel I needed to get back to writing, and I did. It helped that I promised someone I’d put out a blog post within 48 hours. I didn’t, but I only missed the deadline slightly. The point, though, was that I actually did something I probably otherwise wouldn’t have.
There will be some who would prefer to hide behind their screens and not actually meet up in person (that’s a personal choice). And there will be others, like me, who like the idea, but are apprehensive about meeting people in the flesh. My own expectation was that there would be around twenty people all standing on their own and looking at their feet (it wasn’t like that at all). Meeting for the first time can be uncomfortable. But the benefits are worth it.
And much more has come from that first meeting. A broader range of friends, for a start. Yes, some of them were in my online life already, but now we occasionally meet up (and not just at Bloggers Bashes). If time permitted, I’m sure there would be even more of those meet-ups. And I know that, wherever I am in the country, I can put a message out and see if there’s anyone local who wants to get together for a drink, a bite to eat, a chat – or anything else that takes their fancy!
Doors have opened. I’ve stepped through some of them and held back from others (again, it is about personal choice). The Bash hasn’t taken over my life – though since I joined the committee, I do sometimes wonder about that – but, having been to all the Bashes, I have no doubt it’s enhanced it.
If you haven’t been before, don’t expect anything fancy or slick. But do expect to meet some genuinely nice people who want to meet you, want to know more about you, and want you to feel included in this fantastic community.
To find out how you can be part of the Bash, follow these links: