why i super duper loved alt summit 2012 but i'm not going back in 2013

tammie bennett art girl in yellow hoodieif you aren't familiar with alt summit, it's a design and blogging conference. it's held in salt lake city, they added a NYC version in august 2012, and they have great online classesas well. i attended ALT in SLC in 2012 and had a great time. but after quite a bit of thought and deliberation, i'm not going back in 2013. here's why ::

money :: it costs a lot by the time you add up ALT tickets, plane fare, hotel, transportation, food, and a little shopping. not to mention the new fun outfits i'd buy if i were attending. i just bought an imac and am in the midst of getting a bright shiny new website and online shop. both of those put a pretty big hole in my pocket.

building me before i build a network :: when i attended alt last year, it was only 2 months after i had made my choice to be an artist/designer. a self-taught artist. i am a very confident person in most areas of my life, but when i am learning something new it takes a while for me to gain confidence. so here i was at this conference full of amazing people who have been doing amazing things on the internet for years. and i had just decided what i wanted to do – i was a newborn. out of my league. conferences like this are hard even when you have iron-clad confidence because they are basically who's who conventions and everyone there is impressive and maybe a little bit intimidating. so i found that i didn't take advantage of meeting as many people as i could have because i wasn't very confident in my abilities as an artist, designer or blogger.  (i've been blogging off and on since 2007, but have never managed to make it stick and really find my blogging voice).

time after time i saw people introduce themselves to a group and everyone's faces light up with recognition..."oh, my gosh, i LOVE your blog!" instead of just being proud of my newbie status and using the opportunity to meet really cool people, i was hesitant and not quite myself. i got stuck feeling like "it's such a short time at this conference and people want to use this time to network and make connections with people that could help them in some way, so why would i waste their time when i don't have much to offer". gosh, it sounds so pathetic and sad-sackish to type it out, but i'm being very real here. i'm going to use 2013 to build up my body of work, to build a blog audience, to build my confidence.

schedule :: i have a lot of plans for myself for the next 2 years and i'll have to limit the number of trips i take. i really want to go to quilt market to meet with manufacturers. i want to show at surtex. i'd love to attend (or host!) an art retreat.  there are a few workshops in the bay area i'd love to attend.  i also plan on traveling to portland each year to watch the team my husband coaches run at the national championships (they won last year!).  that's a lot of trips.  which means a lot of money and a lot of time away from my kiddos.  i have to pick and choose.

overwhelm :: ALT gave so much information and i learned so much. i also got totally overwhelmed with the things i could and should be doing. i still have a list of things to do for my business and art and blog that i haven't touched yet and i don't want to add to it right now. i want to start checking things off.

i do think ALT is totally worth the investment if you are ready to learn a ton, have a great time, meet new people and network like crazy.  if you attend, let me know all about it!