Write/Speak/Code Wrap Up

2017-08-26 | Conference Event Review

Going into this conference I wasn’t really sure what to expect, despite the name. I was not expecting it to be so much workshop. I was expecting it to be more similar to other conferences I have gone to where I move around a lot and get a bunch of lectures about all the cool things I can almost kind of follow along with and try not to forget about before I get a chance to try them.

Day 1 - Write Day

First day was a great introduction to what this conference was going to be. I very quickly had my expectations turn completely on their head. I am not used to conferences that leave me with a tangible thing I can walk away with (besides too much swag). By the end of day 1, I had a shinny new bio written, and had actually written a blog post again! So many conferences inspire me to want to learn a new thing and try it out, but I end up so burnt out by the end of the conference that the inspiration fades away before I actually get to try the thing. Day 1 not only inspired me to start writing again and start working on my blog again, but actually gave me the time to work on my writing!

Day one not only gave me inspiration and two new written pieces, but it also gave me a whole bunch of tools to keep me writing. There were so many little exercises and things to help you write even when you think you don’t have anything to say.

Day 2 - Speak Day

This was definitely the day I was dreading most. I am terrified of public speaking and spent a good portion of the day stuck in my head trying to convince myself to stay with my group and not go hide in the bathroom. I definitely had to be forced to actually sit at the table with my group, and it took someone else telling me to sit at the table with everyone about six times before I finally moved my chair all the way to the table. I skipped introducing myself and sat hoping that everyone would just forget about me.

Fortunately, this conference provided an extremely supportive environment where everyone here wants to help everyone else. Everyone here is rooting for everyone else to do awesome things. It isn’t a competition.

As the day progressed, I slowly was able to break out of my head and get more involved in the activities because of the amazing supportive environment at this conference. Because of time constraints, I was able to shy away from sharing some of my earlier drills. By the end of the day, I put my name in the box to possibly get picked to give my lightning talk in front of the entire conference. I didn’t end up getting picked, but a new friend did and she did AWESOME giving her first conference talk on something she had just written that day.

Mostly, I am just crazy proud of myself for the fact that I gave a lightning talk to my small group. I am also feeling inspired and a little more comfortable with hopefully finding another venue to try giving my talk in front of a larger group.

Socialization is something that has always been hard for me, and a major focus of my personal growth since I moved to Portland in 2015. Now that I have been able to get myself to the point where I don’t avoid all social situations at all costs, I think I am ready to start trying to destroy my public speaking fears. Write/Speak/Code definitely gave me the push I need.

I cannot stress enough how amazingly supportive everyone here has been! It has been great to watch.

Day 3 - Code Day

Before this conference, I was expecting this day to be the most boring. As a coder, I wasn’t worried about what I would do for the day, but I was curious about what other people would do. This conference is not just for programmers, so what would the non programmers do on the code day? As was a pattern with the rest of the conference, this day was also incredibly inclusive.

I was pretty excited when I found out that code day was about open source. I keep trying to get into an open source project, but haven’t quite found my way there yet. There was so much good advice about working in open source that was shared today, I think I might have gotten to the part where I might actually be ready to jump in. I ended up spending most of the day working on getting my blog stuff working (continued inspiration from day 1), but hopefully I will have an upcoming post soon about what I will have done in the open source world.

I also found it really helpful to think about my own motivation for wanting to get into open source. I started making a short list of goals for open source work that I will have to reflect on more after this conference.

Day 4 - Self Care Day

Though that it was pretty great that this conference ended with a day of talking about some of the things that are often ignored in tech. It was nice to have a day of interesting talks to listen to and learn from after three crazy days of intense learning and growing.

Final Thoughts

I had a great time at this event so thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to put on this conference, and especially the facilitators for the first three days of workshops.

I am leaving this conference with so many things: tools, new friends, inspiration, motivation, a few interviews scheduled for next week, a blog post, a new bio, an actually working blog, swag, and a huge list of things I want to do moving forward.

Hope I am able to come back next year! Maybe as a speaker?