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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

BlissDom Canada 2014 Recap

While I expected to have a great time at BlissDom Canada this year, I didn’t expect it to have such a profound effect on me. Over the course of one weekend, I laughed and I cried; I met old friends and made new ones; I was inspired and challenged. I left feeling completely rejuvenated.

And then I came home to discover that I had gotten a bad case of conflu. So that’s why I haven’t posted about my experiences now. But now that I’m healthy(ish) again, I’m getting super excited about everything that happened last weekend all over again.

The Highlight Reel

Blissdom Canada 2014

  • Lesley’s talk in the Power Hour was phenomenal and inspiring, and I am lucky to call this woman a friend.
  • Derreck Kayongo’s (of Global Soap Project) closing keynote showed us how one person can make an impact on so many people in one of the most humorous presentations I’ve ever seen
  • The Throwback Thursday party, sponsored by Kahlua Canada, was all kinds of throwback love. My boyfriend is a HUGE fan of The Big Lebowski, so the fact that this party was very Dude-themed… well, let’s just say that he may never get over his jealousy.
  • The Canadian Lentils Carnival was just… I have no words. First, I have a full-on lentil obsession. But the fact that there were can-can dancers, and a man on stilts, and a fortune teller, and oh my goodness! This was one of the most elaborate events I have ever been to, and was amazing. Plus, the vegetarian lentil burger may be my new favourite type of burger.

And if someone were to ask me to tell them quickly about BlissDom Canada this year, that is probably what I would be spewing on about. But there was so much more that happened than just that, and so much more that made it an absolutely wonderful weekend.

The People

For me, it was definitely the people who made this conference as enjoyable and as meaningful as it was. Yes, there was so much amazing information to learn and absorb, but it’s the connections that will keep me motivated throughout the year.

This is such an amazing community filled with such intelligent, talented and driven people who utterly inspire me. I don’t know when the last time I have felt so included and so at home in any community. These are the people who I want to surround myself with on a permanent basis.

I’m lucky that these people are in my life, and want to nourish and grow these relationships.

Being honest with myself, if I hadn’t known these people before going to the conference this year, if I hadn’t spent the past year getting to know them, I would not have enjoyed the conference nearly as much as I did. Knowing these people ahead of time is what gave me the courage to come out of my shell and really throw myself into the weekend.

For those who went for the first time this year, and are considering going back next year, here’s my biggest advice for you: spend the next 12 months chatting with some of the people you met this year – because they are going to be what makes the next year twice as awesome for you.

Sessions, Panels and Presentations

I can’t give enough props to the BlissDom Canada team. There was so much great content this year, and I wanted to see ALL of it. Unfortunately, that was not possible, but I thoroughly enjoyed everything that I did actually get to see.

We heard how we could improve not only our blogs and our businesses, but ourselves and our world. There was a great balance between the personal and professional content, and being in an environment where everyone wanted to learn and absorb as much as possible was so refreshing.

My favourite session was definitely the advanced workshop run by Dan Morris and Rachel Marie Martin of Blogging Concentrated. I came away with so much that I want and need to do to bring my blog to the next level. Honestly, if you ever have a chance to see these two speak, or if you can ever attend one of their workshops, don’t hesitate. It was SO informative, and I could have listened to them talk for hours and hours.

The Community Leader Experience

This alone was such a huge step out of my comfort zone. On a personal level, I am so thrilled that I was able to do this. It has been an important part of my BlissDom experience, and it made me touch base with so many people that I never would have if I wasn’t in this role. It also allowed me to share some knowledge of the web that I have that others in this community may not have. So it was a great experience. But now that I’ve done it once, I think I can cross it off my list of personal goals and not worry about needing to do this in future years.

The thing I was most looking forward to as a Community Leader was leading a microsession, and it was exciting. I got to talk about making a blog more readable on and optimized for mobile devices. While my session didn’t have the highest attendance, I was able to share some of my knowledge with a handful of attendees, and that made me feel like there was really something that I could offer this community that is worthwhile.

I did, however, miss attending other microsessions – and there were so many good topics this year that would have been awesome to learn about!

What This Means for My Blog

Like always, I came home with a huge list of homework to do. It’ll probably take me 10 months to get it all done, and on completion, I will start getting ready for the next BlissDom Canada.

After last year, I went the route of making my blog more personal… which I needed at that point in time. And doing so gave me a platform to talk about my anxiety and depression. But it’s diluted the purpose of my blog, which was mainly aimed at books. So I’m going to stop blogging quite so much about my mental health… and I’m going to increase the purpose of my blog so it includes movies, television and other documentaries… and I’m going to try to focus my reviews and my posts on how each work of fiction (books, movies, television, etc) can expand our own horizons and realities.

What About You?

If you attended BlissDom Canada this year, what were the highlights for you?

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 8:19 pm October 9, 2014.
Category: BlissDom Canada

  • Kyla @ Mommy’s Weird

    YOU WERE MY HIGHLIGHT. Watching your growth was amazing.

  • Bibliomama

    I love that you pushed yourself to do the Community Leader thing, and I might love even more that now you’re all ‘been there, done that, onward’. For me Blissdom is all about the people – the ones I go to hear speak, and the ones I go to hang out with. So great to see you again!

  • Courtney Wilson

    Thank you Kyla! I really couldn’t have done it without you this past year – you’ve been so helpful and supporting. You have no idea how much I adore you – you could very well be one of my role models! :)

  • Courtney Wilson

    YES! I had so much fun seeing you again! :) I wish we could see each other EVERY weekend. :) (Though I’m sure your husband and kids, and my boyfriend, would have much to say about that.)

  • Lesley Donaldson

    You carried yourself with brightness at Blissdom, how could I not love you? Plus, you’re helpful and insightful. I’m happy to see that your bag is full of homework and I hope to see more of that productivity! (and showcase it!)

  • Jenn vanOosten

    Love it! You were one of my highlights. Looking forward to seeing what your homework is as it shows up in places!

  • Nancy

    I told my husband that I’m going again next year (couldn’t make it this year – we’re in California and couldn’t justify the price of flying). But I’m sooo going to make it in 2015!!!

  • danrmorris

    Thanks for the kind words about our workshop. That means a great deal. We do endeavor to teach bloggers how to be better. Looking forward to seeing you at a Blogging Concentrated event.