February 16, 2012

Highlights from the Alt Summit:

It’s been almost a month since I was at the Alt Summit in Salt Lake City…. Yeah, I’m a little behind. I finally carved out a little time to go over my notes from the trip and now I’m ready to digest them! Even though this conference wasn’t a Food Blog conference, it left me with PLENTY of food for thought. See what I did there?

Here are a few of my highlights:

Be proactive instead of reactive. Think of this is in terms of getting organized & getting things done. Instead of hanging out on twitter & facebook first thing in the morning, get to work! Wasting time being apart of someone else’s conversation doesn’t help you with starting your own. You will have more to show for your hard work if you’re actually working.

Don’t think of balance as a seesaw. Balance isn’t a straight line. Think of balance as if you are juggling balls. Each ball in your life has a different weight. Through the process of elimination, you can decide which balls to let go of and which to hold on to dear life for. You must constantly evaluate and weigh the importance of each new thing you plan on inviting into your life. It is also important to take a step back and evaluate how to make things better so you can continue to juggle the biggest balls in your life (get your head out of the gutter).

Guilt. If it won’t motivate you to do something, then it’s a waste of your time.

Mothers make the most use of time and are the greatest multitaskers (GO US!!). If a mom has 45 minutes to get something done, she will do it in 45 minutes. As moms, we need to be less hard on ourselves to GET EVERYTHING DONE. Peace of mind comes when you learn how to schedule time in your day to do certain things. Leave your phone behind when you’re at the playground and answer emails when you are in the RIGHT FRAME OF MIND to do so. The fact that you’re in between two worlds (Mom-ing & Working) is what adds to your stress level. You will find that you are stressed because you can’t do ANYTHING at 100%. Preach!

If you are working on scheduling time as a creative person, remember to leave time to be flexible. If you’re over-scheduling yourself, you will not have the necessary time to nurture your creativity.

It’s nice to be around people who are doing the same things but being around people who are doing the same things DIFFERENTLY is really where you learn the most. I think this applies to life and it’s always been my approach. Being around a variety of people brings out different parts of your personality and add dimension to your life/work. There’s good & bad to that, but as long as you align yourself with the good, that’s what you’ll get back in return.

If you’re nervous or afraid to meet someone you’ve been following online in person GET OVER IT. Chances are they’re equally nervous to meet someone who knows so much about them. Plus! You never know who actually knows YOU. The nice thing is that people can’t blow you off in person. Exploit that!

This one is pretty self explanatory. Basically BE PREPARED. Think of yourself and what you have to offer. What makes you different? How do you stand out? Think of how you would explain what you do best in a few sentences. This applies to LIFE. You should know your elevator pitch when you’re interviewing for a job, right?! Have a tagline:  I am the ______ that does ______ from _______. Fill the blanks in with uniqueness. Choose what you are and BE THAT.

Yup. Having a book has a lot of cache and gives you a bunch of cred. It also costs a lot to work on one. So if you think that you’re going to make a ton of money on writing a book, just remember there are hidden costs.

Sometimes the big names are just that. Big names. Gabrielle of Design Mom said that she received more traffic from her sister’s Jordan’s blog than she did by being named one of the Top 50 Websites in Time Magazine. So when you have large goals, remember they may not always give you the satisfaction you desire.

It’s all about making connections with people. I get emails all the time about the worth and importance of blog conferences. Should I do it? Was it a good experience? And what I always say is that a conference is what you make it. I’ve found that the connections with people that you make in person are far more valuable than the panels you sit in on. Sure, there’s a lot of relevant information but when you come home and you’re back in real life it’s the people that you met that inspire you/your blog and your future. It’s gold.

This is tied into the making important connections thing. While I was at the Alt Summit, I struck up a bunch of conversations with a diverse group of people and we didn’t necessarily talk about blog stuff. Nope. Some of my random, but engaging conversations included topics such as astrology, marriage, adoption, ghosts, veganism, haunted houses, favorite cookbooks, quality paper, what it’s like to be a Navy wife, photography, the pros & cons of having more than one child, roller derby, guilty pleasures, champagne, as well as chicken keeping! I’m pretty sure some of those conversations were memorable for both parties involved!

  • If your friends suggest getting burgers in a hotel room late at night. Just do it.
  • You can tell a lot about a person by the props they pick in their photobooth picture.
  • When you get a tip from a reader about a great donut place in the town you’re visiting, GO TO IT.
  • Be nice to everyone.
  • You never know where your work will take you! I had the opportunity to meet many people I’ve admired from afar in person this year because of my blog. I am so grateful for that!

And lastly….

Thank you Ben of Pinterest for that last quote!

  • movita beaucoup

    Thanks for the tips and inspiration!

  • Katrina

    So many great tips here! Thanks Tracy 🙂

  • Advah

    Brilliant tips and very inspiring, thank you!

  • Sonia

    Thanks Tracy! These are great tips.

  • Amanda {Thinly Sliced Cucumber}

    Wonderful advice! The fist one really spoke to me. I am making it my motto for the rest of the week- “Be proactive not reactive”. On that note guess I should get off the computer and start being productive 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Heidi

    That whole proactive vs reactive thing is something I’ve been reading about in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and it really does apply to everything (like, hey, why don’t you find a solution rather than whining about something, or basically, “make your own weather.”).

  • Christina

    Above all I love your “Other Thought”! They’re all very true…and if you’re ever in NYC go to Donut Plant, and if you’re ever in Brooklyn go to Donut. They’re both equally mind blowing.

  • Deb

    One of the best recaps I’ve read! Thank you an it was great meeting you!

  • Heather

    Very Motivational. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dottie

    By far the best and most inspiring round up from Alt. Well worth the wait and actually better because it reminds me of all the things I loved about Alt.

    Lady, I was so tickled pink to spend time with you at Alt. But I want to spend time with you here in SF! Let’s make that happen! Maybe a trio–get Alix in on the mix too?

  • Kayla

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing your insight and lessons learned.

  • Lisa [With Style and Grace]

    great points, but really digging your layout and awesome fonts! I’m such a nerd.

  • Kimberley

    This is fantastic. Start to finish. I want to favorite it and like it.

  • stef

    this is awesome my dear! thank you!!!

  • jackie @ marin mama cooks

    Great advice Tracey! I am new to food blogging (just started in October) and I have thought about attending a conference but am a bit intimidated I must say. None of my friends blog so I would be attending all by my lonesome! Do a lot of bloggers attend by themselves?

  • Tiffanie

    This is a wonderful and inspiring post (like everything I heard coming out of Alt…I could’ve published an inspirational tome from following the #altsummit twitter feed!).

    My favorite here are your first notion of being proactive vs. reactive. I just got a laptop for the first time ever and find myself conveniently online way more than I would like to be. The idea of being proactive again set me straight this morning.

    I also like the elevator pitch template, because that is something I really want to nail down first, both to know what I am doing and to know where I am going, like you point out.

    Great post!

  • Nicole

    Love this, Tracy! It must have taken a lot of work to contain Alt into these concise points. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • RainyCityGirl

    Tracy..this might seem like such an odd request. But in one of your summit photos, there was a photo about a tote–a travel tote made in CA! I so wanted that but forgot to bookmark it. Could you share the name of the tote manufacturer? It will make my day.

    • Tracy

      oh man! I don’t know which tote you’re talking about! Was it on my flickr? or on a Everyday Life photo? Is it MY tote?

      • RainyCityGirl

        Tracy..you are sweet to reply. I don’t think it was yours..Ugh..I wish I had it bookmarked..it was a couple of ladies who had matching totes at your summit..and I swooned.

  • Petila

    Inspiring post!
    There are some great life management take-aways even though I’m not a blogger!
    Thanks for being so gracious with your insight and creativity!
    You are definitely a mover and shaker!

    🙂 Petila

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  • Helen

    Thanks for posting this Tracey, it’s so motivational. I admire how you make time to work on your blog. It’s so hard to find quality time sometimes. I also work & am a Mama to my toddler.
    You’re an inspiration :o)

  • Petit Elefant

    I’m having major sads we didn’t connect at Alt – it’s in my hood! If I’d known you were there, I would have tackled you in the hall with a bear hug.

    Perfect stranger! It’s how I roll…

    Glad it was good for you, it’s sweet to hang with people who get you huh?


    • Tracy

      major major sads. BUT we breathed the same air! When we finally meet up we’ll make that bear hug COUNT. I love bear hugs. Brace yourself!

  • radhi

    thanks for virtually bringing us along to the conference. all your different perspectives make me want to be better at life! and your font choices were awesome!

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  • Meredith

    I’ve told myself “be proactive instead of reactive” whenever I’ve found myself spending too time on social media this week. It has helped me be so much more productive! Just wanted to let you know.

    • Tracy

      Excellent! I unplugged yesterday for the ENTIRE day. Laundry is almost done and my fridge has been cleaned out & completely organized. It’s amazing how much time can be wasted on the computer. It totally sucks you in, doesn’t it? Thank you for spending time here 🙂

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