The Fresh Exchange Blog

Alt Summit Taught Me To:

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Be You  |  The Fresh Exchange

It has been quiet hasn’t it? Yeah I know. Funny how a blogging conference makes it hard to blog, but time away is never a bad thing I am learning.

As you all know I was speaking at Alt Summit this year, which was a huge honor. It was completely frightening and exhilarating. I loved it. I am planning to share some of what I talked about in a post soon for those of you who were not there. It is pretty exciting to share tips and tricks about things that I have learned being a blogger so I hope you all will enjoy.

Besides speaking, Alt was amazing as always. The parties were above and beyond, there was dancing, champagne, catching up with old friends, and making new ones. Instead of giving the normal recap about every panel I thought I would talk about what Alt taught me this year.

Before heading to Alt I was personally struggling with feeling uninspired. I felt exhausted. Though traveling is pretty much the best thing ever, it can also be draining for someone who needs alone time and stability. Let’s be honest, an evening with a little Bon Iver, wine, and your Pinterest can cure all ailments right? So I left prepared to soak in whatever Alt had to teach me. I needed a little mo-jo pump up.

When arriving at Alt I found a group of women searching. Searching for sponsors, connections, publicity, and maybe even a book deal. Though many of the panels were about finding your voice, opening shops, and branding yourself, I felt this odd pressure to be making my rounds to potential sponsors and I saw many others with this “hunger”. On many levels I don’t think it is wrong to be searching and working hard to land these things. As bloggers we have something to offer and we should be compensated, and I know I have done my fair share, but within that search I know personally that passion and perspective can become lost. I have seen it in myself. This ugly head rears. Watching all these talented ladies searching and “working it” made me personally question if this was a world I wanted to be in. I am not a sales person…I am a creative; someone that just wants to inspire and challenge myself, which isn’t that why we all begin blogs?

The other thing I noticed was how much there is to keep up with. Write an editorial calendar, instagram this, hashtag it with these things, wear polka-dots, pitch an idea, create create create, give the impression it is all perfect, have a rate sheet, make original content, contribute. Then hello…Vine..! Yeah I have an account but I am scared to make a video…yeah silly I know. It concerned me for the lifestyle and design blogging community, because when were we finding time to just live the lifestyle we are exemplifying? Where is the time away from a screen? I began comparing and feeling as if I could not keep up with this. I knew it was not Alt, but just the bringing together of the community that had brought this whole thing to the surface for me.

Create Without Fear  |  The Fresh Exchange

Then Stefan Sagmeister came and saved me! At the moment I felt all this pressure and insecurity of keeping up with this world I have fallen in love with, he reminded me about what it truly means to be a creative and how it is so easy to struggle with happiness. He talked openly about how design must remain a calling. He showed how he himself has been crazy fearless with his own ideas and yes we saw all sorts of penis.

What I took away was the reminder of why I do this. Why I sit here day after day dreaming, creating, and helping things come to life for the clients I love. He refocused my head from this being about getting ahead and more about remaining real with yourself, with my creative bones, and challenged me to be more fearless. Thank you to Alt for bringing him. It altered everything in me. He pushed me and challenged me to see deeper in myself and reminded me that there is more to this whole blogging thing than just the surface of what I put out on social media and on these pages. It is about finding happiness and knowing what you want to do in this life with the talent you have been given.

So coming home, I felt this understanding of myself creatively I did not expect. For once I was giving myself more creative freedom and not shooting down ideas so quickly. It was the push I needed. I remembered why I blogged  and that I did not start this space to make money, but instead I began it as a space where I could create on my terms. If it so happens there is an amazing company that fits the bill to work alongside my creativity and vision, AWESOME! I am all about collaborating. I think when I felt failure in this space was when I felt a need to fit a mold. I forgot there is no mold in the creative life. All I have to do in this space is to use it the way I always intended to use it; as a creative outlet. Yeah, I want to create crazy shit, travel and see the most I can, do the most good I can, inspire the most I can, and I want to make babies and inspire them to live crazy creative lives too, yup that’s what I want. That’s it and whatever happens along the way of doing that is what happens. It will all come together as it should.

So whether you attended or didn’t, you may have at one time or another wondered if you could do this or if you could keep up. The truth is keeping up is not what matters, instead just do what you love. Tell the story you want in the way you think it should be told . There is no mold or formula to success. Create what you want to see, work hard, and be nice. That is it. Things come together. Everyone has their own pace because we are all individuals. We all have our time and we all have our own places in this world and community.

All these thoughts contributed to some big changes you will be seeing here (thanks once again to Alt for giving me direction). My editorial calendar is getting reals around here. I have big ideas, a new contributor (you are never going to guess who it is), and some crazy new concepts coming your way. Some of these things scare the living you know what out of me, but I figure I need to do what feels crazy more often. Breaking out of the box feels good sometimes. It’s kind of like jumping head first in to freezing cold water, a total shock at first, but you quickly adjust.

Happy Wednesday my friends! Stay true.

 

images via: Cory Weber

114 Comments

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  1. Looks like you got a lot out of this. It seems like it was a great conference. Good luck with the new projects you have planned. And hey, if they asked you to present at Alt then you must be doing something right ;)

  2. MEGAN- this post is like a breath of fresh air to me! I’ve been really struggling so far this year to get a grip on what direction I want to head in- I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed and not really getting any joy out of stuff lately. I can totally relate to what you said about creating really being the why of it all- I think that I just need to get back to that a little more. That’s where it’s at! Thanks for being so candid about your struggles and your experience! And sorry for the novel, haha :)

  3. Sagmeister is a pretty inspiring fellow! I had a chance to see him when he came to lecture at my school and had a similar experience as you. I think as creatives we all get down on ourselves every once in a while, but we all have our own styles and we’re all awesome!
    Great blog, Megan! I’m glad I stumbled across it.
    By the way, I made your Vegetarian Chili and it was the best chili I’ve ever had! I just finished the last of it :)

  4. megan, what a fantastic post. i also felt amazingly overwhelmed and like i couldn’t keep up with everyone else at alt. but i decided that was okay because it was more about figuring these things out for myself. i actually refrained from tweeting and instagramming because it was taking me away from being present.

    i totally agree with you about stefan sagmeister changing things for me… he’s always been a huge inspiration but after hearing his keynote, i felt so much more confident in myself. i’m still not sure what clicked for me but i now feel so much more empowered… just as me!

    i can’t wait to see what you create, girl! keep on being you ;)

  5. Yeah so glad you had the chili!!! So yum huh? Totally worth breaking the 5 ingredient rule ;)

  6. Awww thanks Erika!!! Good to hear we are not alone in all this ;)

  7. This. Brilliance. Pinning, favoriting, printing out, taking notes.

  8. Best Alt recap out there! Glad you’re refreshed and inspired and you can know that you’ve inspired us too. Thanks for sharing Megan. Can’t wait to see what you do with all this energy and focus.

  9. Wow thanks Sandra. xoxo

  10. Dang, Megan. Your incredible authenticity is completely inspiring! Thanks for the reminder to embrace the challenge of realigning focus on what really matters.

  11. “Tell the story you want in the way you think it should be told.” I need to read this every single day. Keeping up with what everyone else is doing is such a brain drainer. Instead, I’m trying to spend more time creating, and then catching up on my favorite reads once a day. Might even change that to once a week. I always enjoy reading your perspective.

  12. Megan!! I’ve been struggling since getting home from Alt on Sunday. I’ve been struggling with the twitter chatter and reading recaps and looking at SmileBooth photos. It is just all so much; I don’t know how to even put it into words! But this little post of yours is amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing it, and for giving words to that feeling of being overwhelmed and filled with doubt. And for inspiring me to say no to all of that! I so needed to read this today! The perfect recap. :)

  13. Melissa I am so glad to hear this was good for you. I think sometimes pushing pass the prettiness and expectations we develop is good. Keep doing what you love forget the rest. It will all come together…promise!
    xo

  14. This is so, SO helpful to hear. I seriously don’t even understand the difference between Instagram and Twitter sometimes…why do we need a zillion different platforms to say the same thing and post the same picture? All of these tools were made so that we could have fun with them, not so that they could become yokes around our necks. Sing it, sister! :)

  15. love this! excellent message that i think many of us creatives can relate to! and i completely agree with your mention of “keeping up”…it is SO important for us to be us and not everyone else, that’s what makes us and our work unique!!

  16. Hi Megan, I was even feeling lost and inadequate by missing out on the Alt experience as I’m a newbie blogger, but this post was exactly what I needed. Thank you for being so honest and real. Always looking forward to what you do next!

  17. This post is just what I needed today. Feeling overwhelmed and all sorts of pressure- when I need to just relax and let the creative juices flow. So thanks for that. I only started reading your blog a few months ago, but I’m really loving it. I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

  18. This is exactlyyyy what I needed to read! After so many posts coming from Alt, all about how to strategise this to get this and that. when to post your posts to social media to get the most amount of traffice, etc etc, it just stresses me out!! haha.
    This post reminds me to carry on doing what i want to do! even if it might take a little longer to get “exposure”.
    Thanks so much Megan :) Im so excited to see your upcoming projects. I love your work so much! x

  19. I’ve followed your blog for a few months now, since about Paris. It’s funny that you felt such insecurity about this space, it seems like you’ve got it exactly right to me. Your blog is a place I seek for inspiration, not intimidation, and I love how you genuinely approach your creative endeavors!

  20. thank you for this post, as I have been debating the same things…my blog is a creative outlet and will remain so, without the pressures of “selling myself”.

  21. This is exactly what I needed to hear. :) Thanks for your wisdom!

  22. Myrna

    Thank you so much Megan! I started my blog a year ago and I never regret it but I sometimes get lost and forget that feeling of excitement I use to have. Although I love so many other blogs it sometimes is a mistake to look at other blogs. Simply because I see an idea I thought I had shown by someone else or the feeling of “what do I have to offer?” I find myself second guessing some things I post , but I think lots of bloggers have asked themselves these same questions. In reading your post it gave me the ok for these questions, doubts and feelings . Thank you for posting and being honest. Can’t wait to see who your partnering up with.

    XX-Myrna
    Mybeatboutique.blogspot.com

  23. high five on that sister

  24. I think sometimes we can make a lot of things appear one way especially with blogging, but there always inner struggles and things we know we are missing. I am so glad you find that I seem to have it together ;) and you feel so inspired. That makes me feel very good. Keep making things happen Allyson!

  25. Oh man, I completely know what you mean. Even though I didn’t go to Alt, I’ve been having a blogging existential crisis lately…and it’s definitely impacted my creativity and drive. Personally, I’m trying to figure out how to do more design-related posts on my blog but then keep personal posts in there as well, but it just doesn’t feel ::right:: yet, you know? Anyways, thanks for being so candid… I actually have a post on my confusion up in my drafts, I think you’ve inspired me to at least finish that up and publish it :)

  26. I loved reading these words– you expressed exactly what would be my own biggest fear about attending Alt ( which I haven’t done yet )– feeling pressured to sell, sell, sell myself. I think for some this comes naturally, but for others, when we remain authentic to ourselves, the opportunities come because we attract them. Thank you for the reminder to not chase after other people’s dreams, but to remain true to our own.

  27. Thank you!! Thank you for being honest and sharing those fears that all of us a Alt had. And I agree, Stefan Sagmeister blew away a lot of those fears with his amazing talk. I too worry about all the connecting for $$ and want to just create, but it was like he gave me permission to stay true to myself. Glad to know I wasn’t alone in that! You’re blog is lovely, now I wish we would have met at Alt! Maybe next time…

  28. Megan, THANK YOU for this! You said it all so beautifully. Attending Alt for my first time this year, I had similar thoughts, should I be networking more? trying to make deals? etc. etc. and when it came right down to it, I just simply ended up enjoying the time and coming away realizing even more so that we are all people and we all have similar insecurities and decisions and passions and just need to move in the way that we best know how. That large group of creatives at Alt is both amazing and overwhelming. It can do a number on your thought process but I’m glad to know that you were able to channel it in a positive way.

  29. Oh, Megan. This was so wonderfully written. I seriously have chills!

    I don’t comment much, but I read all the time. Your blog is hands down one of my favorites– from the photography to the design, to the writing and YOU! I keep meaning to tell you that, and don’t know why I never have until now.

    I loved this post so much because it’s been what I try to keep reminding myself ALL THE TIME. Just be you, and whoever likes it AWESOME, and whoever doesn’t connect, well OH WELL.

    Thank you for writing this and thank you for being you.

    You are such an inspiration to me! (And mostly, because whenever I read your blog, I remember to be my best creative, personal, KIND version of ME.

    XO.

    Anna

  30. being a creative amongst other amazing creatives can be at one comforting, but at times also pressure-full. i think since things have moved from being a person-to-person interaction to a screen-to-person relationship, it’s easy for one to portray more of what they would ‘like’ their world to be vs what it ‘truly’ is like. not judging if one way is better than that other, just that it seems to be different now. but i think what we realize to forget is that behind all connections were are individual beings with heart, soul & originality. we all live our lives differently, view the world differently & that’s what makes things amazing. i loved this post & coming from someone who seems to be in a constant upward motion, it is refreshing to know that at the end of the day, we all are coming from the same place. :) thank you for sharing your insight.

  31. Areus

    This was really inspiring to read :)

  32. I seriously cried reading this… I’ve been really struggling with this the past few months. I’ve been so uninspired, so overwhelmed, and I’ve felt so much pressure in the blog and design worlds. I feel like I’ve been in the middle of a creative identity crisis ;) Everyone seems to be moving forward and doing a million things and succeeding at everything and they’re just so… hungry, like you said. Hungry for more. More sponsors, more money, more exposure, etc. It feels like everyone is running this crazy marathon and I just feel… lost. What if I don’t want to go in that direction? Will I be completely alone is I choose a different path? Will it be a huge failure? All I’ve wanted to do with my life is create. And right now I feel so exhausted that I can’t do that. It’s a lonely feeling, isn’t it? Thank you for writing this – your words started a healing in my heart and soul and my creative mind and I really appreciate you for sharing this with us. I don’t feel alone anymore. xoxo.

  33. megan! thank you for this.
    blogging can be such a fun thing and using social media to enhance creativity is awesome and can help so many start their journey. but not without the freedom of doing your own thing and being okay wherever you are!
    I love these honest thoughts of yours. thanks for sharing.

  34. “when were we finding time to just live the lifestyle we are exemplifying?” I love this Megan. Such a refreshing post to read.

  35. I’ve had this post open in a tab all day just waiting for a few minutes to read it and I’m so glad I did! I’ve felt the same way about keeping up with stuff and getting overwhelmed. I came away with similar thoughts after Alt and I can’t wait to get started on creating! Well put.

  36. Tan

    YES! Oh Megan you put this SO well. I too had a bit of shock adjusting, especially seeing everyone networking their arses off. Hustling was not my intention when I got to Alt at all, instead I went to learn and absorb, and if connections were made then fantastic! But seeing everyone working like mad made me feel like I was doing something wrong.
    Sagmeister also saved the day.
    I still love his comparison between work (for $), career (for advancement/promotion) and calling (intrinsically fulfilling).
    Here’s to making our calling intrinsically fulfilling.
    xo

  37. yes. to all of that. so happy that i was on that panel with you, AND that i was sitting next to you during that life-changing key note speech (and sorry for the tears… although, i’m not actually sorry i suppose!) xo

  38. Never apologize for crying I was welling all up as well. Tears are always good…other than when you need a few ibuprofen afterward…Loved getting to know you Danielle and look forward to more great times blogging and being in this community together. You are a good one. xo

  39. Amen sister! You got it. xoxo keep killing it!

  40. Melanie! Thank you!!! It means a lot coming from another blogger admire. Thank you for the support!

  41. Thank you!!!

  42. Agree!!! Thank you Becca!

  43. Thanks Aaron! I owe you a good old email. You are a rockstar!

  44. Kelly. Wow now you have me all welling up with tears. I am so glad this was what you needed to hear because it was something I needed to work through myself. I had to be honest and not hide something I felt needed to be shared. Nothing you do when following your heart creatively will fail you. Creativity is a journey and even the failures are part of the journey. We learn, we grow, and we start all over again. Don’t ever feel like someone else’s path is your own. I promise you will never be satisfied. Find what makes you happy and go for it. That is all that matters. ;) xoxo my dear you are wonderful!

  45. Thank you Satsuki!!! This awesome!!!!

  46. finish and get it out. I promise it will help you process it all better. Posts like this always feel therapeutic in some way.

  47. though Alt did bring to light these thoughts. I also was completely inspired and began so many new collaborations. Face to face time with peers is never a bad idea. You always learn something. Go for it! Maybe attend a smaller more local conference then sign up for Alt there are now 3 locations as well San Fran, SLC, and NYC :) I think you would love it!

  48. Come come come!!! I highly suggest it!

  49. Thank you Michelle for letting me know I was not alone in this. It was amazing meeting you and I hope it happens again soon! You are such an inspiration :)

  50. Anna! I am so glad you wrote and it means the world how inspired you are. I love hearing that because I always hope at least one person connects in some way so thank you thank you!!! Keep reading :) This was my favorite comment ever. xoxo!

  51. Friend! I think we have similar views. Phew, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. Love how you mention it’s about creativity more so than sponsorships. So glad I got to see ur face again!

  52. Megan! Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you! This was my first year at Alt, and while I loved the experience, I felt a little pressure to find new jobs. I decided to just make friends instead. I’d rather have 3 happy and awesome friends than 5 busy and time-consuming jobs. I definitely feel like I value myself and want to be compensated for what I do, but I really miss just LIVING! Thank you for reminding me that this is just a part of my life, not ALL of it. :)

    You’re wonderful. So glad to have met.

    xo,

    Lexy

  53. WOW. What a post, Megan! I adore this! Can I just say that reading this and all of the comments gave me the biggest sense of relief?! You summed up so much of what I’ve been feeling this past year…the pressure, just all of it. I am so encouraged to hear I am not alone in this. Thank you for writing from the heart! I hope we all find the courage to create without fear! That’s all that matters! xoxo

  54. This post is incredible. I didn’t get the chance to meet you at ALT, but I am so inspired by your thoughts. Thanks for being such a true, creative voice.

  55. Amy

    Megan, this post was so, so refreshing to read. I have noticed all the things you mentioned going on in the blog world (and have been guilty of some of them at times) but in the last year just realized that none of the keeping up matters. It should be more personal, and more about individuality. The collective blogging mold is disappointing, confining and so far away from the reason I started a blog in the first place (which, same as you, was to create without constrictions). Fortunately, my blog has stayed pretty under the radar, and though that used to discourage me, now I’ve realized that it’s because I have refused to give into following the “formula” and hav

  56. Right at this moment, I needed this. So thank you. I struggle daily to figure out my voice, what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. So often I find myself comparing myself to others in this space, and sometimes that I forget it’s not about them. It’s about me, my journey and hopefully helping other people along the way. Thank you!

  57. I wish we had met as well!! You are so welcome. Thank you for the encouragement ;)

  58. Keep it real lady! Thanks for the encouragement!!! I am so glad we met. I heard so much buzz about The Proper Pinwheel and you truly are your brand and I love it. Stay true to you. xoxo my dear.

  59. SUCH an amazing post, Megan, you never fail to amaze. Thank you for putting into words what I, and perhaps others, have been feeling. Glad to hear that being focused on the genuine aspects of blogging and what that means to YOU as a person is still important, and that Alt revitalized you in a great way. Sad I wasn’t able to join but hope all is well and you get that downtime you’ve been waiting for next month. x

  60. Aww Colleen thank you!!! So glad you loved this. It was hard to push publish but it has been encouraging to know sometimes the truth is what we all need. I wanted to recap differently but this is what came out after traveling home. I felt I had to work through what had been so frustrating for so long. xoxo lady. Miss ya and sad you could not be there!

  61. Amy

    whoops, I exceeded the word limit, haha. Anyways, I was rambling (hello, glass of wine!) All I wanted to do was thank you for your honesty. I hope the blogging community gets back to individuality and breaks away from this formulated train. :) You rock!

  62. Thank you for sharing this. I wish I was big blog status like you so that I could go to Alt Summit, but it sounds like you learned a lot–about yourself and your blog. Thanks for the reminders!

  63. THANK YOU. Reading your words had me literally glued to my computer. I missed two calls and the ending to my favorite tv show. That’s a clue that you hit a nerve, a nerve that all of us creative & blogger types, HECK, everyday people, feel. I have so much buzzing in my head after ALT and my sentiments are very similar to yours. I came away with so much I was not expecting, but your words pushed this inspiration to the next level. Thank you! xoxo

  64. A wonderfully inspiring post Megan, thank you! I just came across your blog + this post via the power of Twitter yay :) I have the same sentiments, it can all get too much sometimes, so I often try to remember to take a step back and breathe. There’s no point fretting or getting stressed out – just enjoy the moments! Looking forward to reading more of your blog! x Helen

  65. JB

    THANK GOD. I thought I was the only one who felt like this after ALT. I had similar feelings after last year (overwhelmed, like I wasn’t keeping up with that endless drive to me MORE MORE MORE) and I left this year feeling a bit of the same. Totally exhausted and drained, but also inspired too with the desire to fulfill some of those personal projects that have been on my mind. I too found Sagmeister bringing all these creative perspectives full circle and reminding me of what’s most important. I pretty much sobbed during parts of his presentation. I’ve had the hardest time sitting down to actually “share” what I learned at ALT because honestly I’m not quite sure where to start or what to say. Thank you for being the honest perspective on the other side of the coin. I really appreciate it and it makes me feel less alone in this quest for the life I want. Glad to know you dear friend.

  66. Oh man Megan. Everything you wrote is just what I needed to hear. Thanks for this post and for your honesty. I love your heart. I have been having so many similar feelings lately. Feeling like I really need to get back to the place when I created things when no one was looking. I can’t wait to hear more about what you shared at ALT. You’re a gem.

  67. you’re the best.

  68. I’ve just re-read this post for the third time. While I haven’t attended Alt, I do have plans to sign up for the SF version this summer. I currently have no need for sponsors and don’t feel particularly “hungry” to sell, sell, sell. My hope is to learn as much as possible and meet wonderful people. I just hope that culture still exists at Alt. Thank you for writing such an honest post. Seeing the recaps of the parties and how to “hustle” are fine, but they definitely haven’t spoken to me in any way. Your post did. So, thank you.

  69. ‘Tell the story you want in the way you think it should be told.’ Your words couldn’t have come at a better time… I put them right above my computer to remind me that it’s not all about keeping up with everyone else, but remembering what you love – and why you love it.

    Thank you for this :)

  70. Megan – this is hands down one of the best posts I’ve ever read re: Alt Summit… you have no idea how much I needed this reminder today so THANK YOU for your honesty, candor, and the necessary reminder that we should all be ourselves in order to get the most joy. Thanks!

  71. Lo

    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m always so thankful for shared wisdom and encouragement from those who got to experience Alt.

  72. Oh this means a lot Kelli! Thank you!!! xoxo my dear you are the gem ;) Let’s create more, k?

  73. Jenn you are never the only one ;) You know we are most likely thinking the same things. You are awesome and I feel so lucky to have someone so inspiring in my life like you. Anyone would be lucky to have a friend like you. xoxo. Miss you so much already!

  74. Love that twitter universe ;) So glad you found the post!!!

  75. Shaunna thank you!!! Sorry you missed phone calls, but glad this meant that much to you. That means a lot. Thank you!!

  76. thank you thank you thank you for such an honest and perfect description of alt. i attended last year but not this year. what a fantastic realization you talk about in this post. i felt so much of that, but you put it into words better than i did in my head.

  77. You. Are. Awesome. thank you so much for this post. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.

    Especially the part about ‘All I have to do in this space is to use it the way I always intended to use it; as a creative outlet’.

    Think I just found a new favourite blog

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  78. Megan – you inspire me daily. I read in one person’s Alt recap that people choose a blog not for just the blog, but for the blogger. I always appreciate your candidness and willingness to discuss the not-so-glamorous side of owning your own business, creative slumps, and it just makes celebrating the victories you have that much more personal and exciting for your readers. Keep on keeping on – you rock.

  79. Thank you for this. This is so encouraging. Thank you! I wish I could hug you right now. xoxo

  80. Rachel

    I loved this. A friend told me about this blog post and I’ve become a fan.
    Im starting a craft blog after a year of thinking it might be to much to step in to this world. I had come to the realization that I can start slow and not make it take over my life. This post came at the perfect time.
    Thank you!

  81. This quote resonated with me the most – “I forgot there is no mold in the creative life.” Thank you for your continual honesty in this space.

  82. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I began my blog only 8 months ago, and have “mostly” enjoyed it… but for some reason, the advent of a new app (Vine) almost sent me into a tailspin. I too… have been caught up… with keeping up… and I don’t feel like keeping up anymore. I am a wife and a mom and I don’t want to be frantically attached to my phone trying to capture the precious moments of my life while actually missing them. I too have been that “hungry” blogger searching for some kind of acknowledgement, respect, audience… a comment or two. I need to remember why I began and to take a deep breath (like I tell my 2yr old). This began as a creative outlet… an OUTLET and a source of inspiration … not a remake of The Hunger Games ;)

  83. Oh… and ;) on the polka dots.

  84. Megan.

    This post was by far the most inspiring post I’ve ever read about Alt (and that’s saying something!). It rang true to me. It gave me chills.

    I wish I had gone to Alt myself to hear you and Sagmeister and all of the other amazing speakers present, but I’m so glad you decided to write about your experience. I imagine I would’ve been in a similar situation. I feel like I’m constantly battling a “why do I do this? what is my purpose?” question of faith.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience. I’m excited to see how you decide to move forward with TFE :)

    xo sarah

  85. It can be so easy to get off track on the “why” and what is the “win” on what we do as creatives – thank you for this refreshing perspective that it’s about creating with love behind it – not any other motivation.

  86. hi Megan!

    first, I was the super enthusiastic girl that was so happy to meet you on saturday at the mini parties! I was lucky enough to sit in on your session which was so helpful – thank you for that!

    Second, this post is everything I was feeling at alt. especially the part about fitting the mold. you are such an inspiration lady! I hope that sometime in the future we’ll be able to share a cup of coffee! Until then – keep up the good work. You are making the design world a much more pleasant place!

    xxxo

  87. wow, this is such a good post. I came away from Alt feeling a little overwhelmed…thanks for opening my eyes…I blog because I love to share ideas and inspire others to get a little creative…I was an alt first timer this year just trying to take it all in. Sagmeister was a big inspiration to me as well!

  88. I didn’t attend Alt, but I really, really needed to read something like this today. As a creative — a photographer by trade and a blogger out of love — it is SO easy to get down on ourselves when we see others who have themselves together and all scheduled out and looking pretty and wonderful. That’s not saying that they aren’t… but it’s challenging to see that, especially when we don’t feel the same way.

    Thank you for writing this post. I’m cherishing your words this morn.

  89. I am so happy you said something that I’ve been struggling to put into words. When my husband asked me how Alt was, my answer was hard to verbalize.
    I was feeling exactly what you’ve described. A need to be inspired, create, live in the moment, and be real without each action being a pitch or a business move.
    I made a deal with myself to just do the things that make me smile and the (maybe not so smiley) things that support that goal. The End :)

  90. Oh Erin! So glad you commented. I wish we all had just talked about this more openly when we were together. Make things that make you smile you are so talented and have so much to offer. I am glad I am not alone in this. Next year when you go back…let’s go back with more of this attitude in mind, k? ;) xoxo lady you are awesome.

  91. You are so welcome!!!

  92. Oh my gosh you are so sweet! It means a lot to meet my readers. I love knowing that people are reading and connect so well. Your comment means a lot. Thank you for being real and honest and so so so glad we met ;)

    M

  93. This is what I don’t get: Everyone spends so much time blogging + working, and worrying, or trying to be internet famous, or trying to make ends meet, or trying to find color in an uninspired day, or _____, and yet, we’ve lost the whole point of why these social mediums began: to connect. And I’m not talking about the lets-meet-up-and-judge-each-others-successes-and-then-go-home-feeling-still-alone connections. I’m talking about the real life, real friendship, we’ll-still-have-each-other-when-we’re-too-old-for-this connection.

    I don’t want to share pins or trade likes day in and day out. I want to share food (actually use those food pins) and time, maybe spent listening to music…in person! And I’d like to take the opportunity of finding like-minded people in the blogosphere as a chance to meet them and as a chance to foster a community to which I can then say, all of those hours spent in front of the screen were worth it. Sure, I have met wonderful people blogging, but it isn’t part of our culture to actually reach out and be real. We’re too busy with our eyes on the screen wondering, are they going to like my post? Are they going to follow me?

    So to that I say, if we’re going to talk about a change a’ comin, let’s talk about how we can measure and care about one another beyond our blogs.

    Megan, nice to meet you.

    My name is Eva. I live in LA with my husband. I have family in Michigan (beautiful place!). And anytime you’re out west, you’re welcome over for dinner.

  94. I love this post! I totally know the pressure you are talking about and it’s sometimes so hard to see past it and remember why we started.

  95. Amy

    It must be great to know you inspire so many people! No wonder with posts like that. (Thanks for the intro to Stefan Sagmeister too, I hadn’t come across him before!) Will be checking back for sure : )

  96. I could not have explained my feelings about ALT this year more accurately…. Thank you for sharing your honest sentiments, fears and inspiration with us and know that many of us feel the exact same way. xo Krista

  97. This is such a great, heartfelt post Megan. It totally resonated with me. When people were posting their summaries the day after Alt, I kept thinking, why haven’t I figured out what direction I want my recap to go in yet? Your post helped reinforce that it’s OK to go at your pace. So great to meet you in-person after your Alt panel. The importance of capturing your offline event online in visuals was one of the key takeaways from the conference for me.

  98. Eva. We need to be friends. I am sending you an email and we are become real friends. This comment was legit and I dig that. Your site is killer and we are kindred. I feel it. Let’s make this real. Thank you for your honest and real thoughts I greatly appreciate that kind of grit.

    We are not planning to come west soon, but life is never planned. If you come to the mitten let us know as well. I have a feeling we would be fast real friends. Let’s find a reason to meet offline.

    Cheers new friend.

  99. aww thanks! I wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up and I realized the reason was I wanted to inspire. I felt it was my calling. Now this space fills that and I feel complete because of it. So thank you!

  100. I just was showing off your little pouch last night to a couple friends. I am carrying my ID card and stuff in it. So cute!!! Thank you and thank you for your comment!! It means a lot :)

  101. Thanks for this awesome post – I didn’t attend Alt so reading this was fantastic and so SO useful. It’s also good to know that I’m not the only one that often feels overwhelmed by “ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD DO” and all the ideas IN MY HEAD! :)

  102. I had to sell my ticket, but now I’m kicking myself. Loved this read. Thanks for sharing!

  103. amen, amen, amen.

  104. […] one last great read before I go… I can so relate to this blog post. Reading real and honest posts by other bloggers makes me […]

  105. This is a great post!! Looking at blogs always inspired me and I finally started my own. I have so many ideas that I’m bursting and can’t figure out or do these things fast enough. I have three children at home so I’m very excited to have this creative outlet again. (I was a designer for 15 years) I am very excited for the Alt summit this summer. I’m hoping to learn a lot and meet a lot of inspiring people like you!!

  106. I really loved this post, I’ve been catching up on lots of Alt recaps since I couldn’t make it out there and I think you on some really important questions about what we put out on our blogs and why. Thanks for sharing this perspective!

  107. I popped over here from Kristen / Dine & Dish, so glad I did! I can so relate to everything you wrote here. The feelings of “keeping up” make me mental and totally insecure. I find myself having to check myself every now and then. I appreciate your honesty, & look forward to checking out the rest of your blog! :)

  108. […] I wasn’t at Alt Summit, though I wished I had been! So I especially cherished Megan’s review of it all. […]

  109. […] Victoria says enough is enough. I could sit here and quote about half of Megan’s what ALT Summit Taught Me post for all of it’s amazing statements, but I’ll just let you read it. And I’m […]

  110. Best Alt Recap I’ve read. Loving your new direction and your fearlessness. Resonates in a big way with me.

  111. Wow so glad i clicked on this link !! this post is amazing

  112. […] to try : once again, megan gilger keeps it refreshingly real in her recap of alt summit. while i’m not big enough of a blogger to relate to some of her sentiments, the constant need to create and dealing with comparison/competition really resonated. must keep reminding myself to keep doing (and designing!) what i love. […]

  113. Thank you so much, for writing this.

  114. […] more honest about what she was feeling and doing as a creative, I still remember her musings about creating without fear in the craziness that can be the blogging world. Then she announced that she and Mike were beginning […]

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