My cup runneth over…

Jeff Goins as the starving artist, gets an apple from his son

What happens when you put 275 or so writers and bloggers into a room for a weekend?

That’s what I experienced recently at the 2017 Tribe Conference in Franklin, Tennessee. I was there last year and coming back I expected great things. Some conferences are basically the same from year to year. Not so the Tribe Conference.

It’s organized by Jeff Goins, writer and blogger extraordinaire and over the weekend covers 4 key areas: Honing Your Voice, Establishing Your Platform, Expanding Your Reach and Going Pro. That said, the speakers this year were different from last year, so it’s all new content! And it’s not just a speaker or two. Jeff brought in 16 speakers who come from very varied backgrounds, each with their unique message.

Some of the speakers at Tribe Conference 2017: Crystal Paine, Jon Acuff, Marsha Shandur and Ryan Holiday
Some of the speakers at Tribe Conference 2017: Crystal Paine, Jon Acuff, Marsha Shandur and Ryan Holiday

A year ago I was in the midst of refocusing and rebranding my business of 10 years. This year I’ve changed the business name and launched new websites — for online platform building and business strategy products and services at ClaesJonasson.Design and for writing, including a novel-in-progress, at ClaesJonasson.com (where you’re reading this).

I’m doing more writing than I ever have, so Tribe Conference 2017 was extremely timely, exactly what I needed for the next steps. Because there is always a next step.

I also came away with a long list of ideas for blog posts for both my Design and Writing audiences. Yay!

Being in a place like the Tribe Conference is unique because of all the other writers around you. Before the Conference even started, there was a meetup at a local coffeeshop, then ample time during the conference to connect with people I already knew, had met online in workshops or on Facebook, or had never seen before. The sheer variety amazes and encourages me. Each person has a story.

On Saturday I had lunch with a pastor who has several Bible studies and devotionals that he delivers via email. What started as a chat over a bratwurst, ended up being a mix of business strategy and planning out a migration for him from one email platform to another and how that would improve how he delivers and manages his courses.

The next day, I had lunch with a musician (yes, it’s Nashville) who tours with Carrie Underwood, teaches music business at a college and is the cofounder of a Mastermind group in the Nashville area. It was an electrifying time talking about writing, creative endeavors and business and pushing ideas back and forth.

I went to Tribe Conference, having just passed a milestone in getting my rebranding done and being back to blogging again, which is exciting! (Yes, I’ve had several blogs in the past that for one reason or another gave up the ghost. I also produced a podcast for a couple of years.)

So I was looking forward, for the next steps. Not clarity, because as Jeff pointed out on Friday evening, we weren’t likely to find that there. (Clarity, though commonly talked about in branding, is at best elusive — a fleeting mountain top experience. Then you have to get down in the valley again and take the next step and the next and that’s where the real work is done.) Jeff did expect us to find 1 key thing to do to move forward and even to do it while at the conference so we’d be on a roll when we got home.

For me that one thing is to build up a regular writing time into my day. I’m now starting each day writing. 500 words, at least. Write new content today and edit yesterday’s content. Tomorrow, rinse and repeat.

Premium workshopThen there’s the elephant in the room. I mentioned a novel-in-writing. It’s been sidelined throughout the refocusing and rebranding process. Now it’s time to deal with it, lest it become a “someday book” that never gets written and into the hands of actual readers. So while at the conference, in our problem-solving workshop, I presented my challenge to the others around the table and came away with several good ideas for next steps to make sure the book makes it out of “someday.” On the drive home, I added to those ideas and for the first time mentally walked through the entire process from a first draft to printed book. Taking next steps.

One friend I met up with at the conference is an author from California. We’ve been in workshops online and have talked on the phone, but this was the first time meeting in person. She was so excited to bring the first copies of her new book to Tribe Conference and I’m looking forward to reading it and reviewing it. And holding her brand new book in my hand, the thought went through my mind: Next year that could be me!

So two and a half days of constant teaching sessions, meetups and one-on-one interactions are over. I’m back home. Was it worth the trip, effort, time and expense? You bet. In fact, I already have my ticket for next year.

Top notch speakers and training – check.

Opportunities to meet and connect with people from all around the US and other countries – check

Hanging out with other writers and bloggers who understand that every word you type is a little bit of your soul – check

Massive encouragement packed into a short amount of time – priceless

Jeff Goins and conference attendees dancing on the stage during a break

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