#BarCampOmaha 2014

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WAHHH cover

On Saturday I attended BarCamp Omaha for the second year in a row with my good friend Lauren of The Curtain and Pen. Lauren is a freelance copywriter, editor, and blogger, and in addition to being my buddy at events like these, this time she was also my co-presenter. We gave a talk on our experience as work-at-home parents including some tips for others in a similar boat.

BCO14Photo by Erin Fairchild of Her Heartland Soul. Thanks Erin!

We were pretty nervous about giving a talk, because BarCamp is filled with awesome and talented people and that can feel intimidating – though it’s worth noting, those awesome and talented people somehow also seem to be a humble, friendly, and supportive bunch. Lauren did most of the talking because she’s way better at that (PROJECTING MY VOICE is not one of my personal strengths) and I drew the slides for our presentation, which you can see in total at the bottom of this post.

We presented in the morning so that we could relax and enjoy talks for the rest of the day. Every half hour there are four new talks happening simultaneously and many times it was really hard to choose which one to attend. One of my favorites of the day was a talk by Justin Brady on Uncorking Creativity. Some of his ideas reminded me of concepts I’d read about in Quiet by Susan Cain (one of my all time favorite books), and I told him so during the Q & A. He answered that he has mentioned Cain in an article he wrote for the Washington Post – which is here. I’m eager to read it when I have a moment.

Another great talk was called The Accidental Blogger by Steve of Hit That Dive. It certainly helped that I happen to love dive bars (I met my husband in one, after all) but Steve’s honest, straightforward advice on blogging was right on point. I particularly liked his warnings to not try to gather superficial clicks and Likes with cheesy link bait or other gimmicks, because those people won’t keep coming back for your content.

One of my favorites was a fairly impromptu panel discussion that came together when some BarCampers noticed an afternoon slot was still not filled (this is part of the fun of an unconference!). They were five local business owners: Autumn Pruitt of Aromas Coffeehouse and Bliss Bakery (HAPPENS to be my favorite coffeeshop in Omaha Рthe Benson location), Kristen DeKay of the branding and design company Grain and Mortar, Dave Kerber of software development co Agape Red,  Sharon Davis who owns another Benson shop called Buds and Buttons and also does sign painting as Arbor St. Studios, and Jessica McKay of Birdhouse Interior Design (whose work I have followed since I was a faux finisher a few years ago). Their talk, The Leap, was classic BarCamp fare: inspiration and motivation for creative people who have a big idea. I loved their advice to ignore the haters but also learn from criticism; keep in mind that growth is difficult at every stage, and (if you tend to be a perfectionist) set realistic goals rather than perfectionist goals.

I also loved the idea from Seth, a devoted BarCamp attendee, to keep the enthusiasm and inspiration going with some kind of smaller spinoff event that could possibly be held monthly or quarterly – let’s keep it going!

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