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Initial Alt Summit reactions

alt summit // a thousand threads
I’ve been mulling over my thoughts on Alt for a few days now — trying to decide where to begin.

It’s hard to write about insecurities. And for some reason, post-Alt, I seem to be full of them.

The thing is you guys… Alt was so good. It was amazing. I connected with folks I haven’t seen in months, and folks I’ve only ever seen online… not to mention a boatload of incredible, sweet, generous new friends. And all are the kind of people you’d be lucky to meet just a handful of in a lifetime.

I feel incredibly grateful for a week spent with such amazing people, and incredibly inspired by the smart, creative, straight badass speakers I had the honor to listen to and learn from.

I also feel grateful for my sponsor, Lenovo, who made it all happen and even made it possible for me to give a tablet away to the sweetest, most appreciative Instagrammer who made my heart burst with excitement for her when she wrote. I was lucky to have a sponsor, and securing sponsorship for Alt was one of my goals for the year I can now say I’ve achieved.

But if I’m really honest… the truth is that I left Alt feeling a little overwhelmed.

Incredibly inspired, but overwhelmed.

It’s taken me a long time to get the hang of this blogging thing… and I’m still not nearly to where I’d like to be.

Ambition might be getting the best of me here, I know… but I wonder if, with a full time job, I’ll ever be able to compete with the crafty, creative ladies that I met at every turn in Salt Lake.

**And “compete with” isn’t really the right phrase here. One of my favorite lessons at Alt was that there’s enough internet for us all… and I really do believe that to be true. More often than not, we improve each others’ work through collaboration, or each others’ audience through support. We build each other up instead of breaking each other down. And for that, among so many other things, this community is truly incredible.

But while New York left me feeling like I was on the right track to creating the things I can still only see in my head… Salt Lake left me worried that I’d never catch up.

So I’ve been sulking for days (okay I’ve also been sick… so maybe it was a little of that too…).

alt summit // a thousand threads
But maybe it does that to all of us a little bit — right?

Maybe we all look at The Girls With Glasses and think, “I will never be that brilliant.” (They’re pretty brilliant.) And maybe that’s good. Because it motivates us to set new goals… and to work just that much harder.

I came across this quote yesterday, from a creative to their younger self…

I wish the earlier me understood work and practice more. Just the repeated concerted effort to get better at things. I wish I didn’t have the notions of talent and genius I had back then. I thought, “Oh, these other people, they just have something that I don’t have.” When really, they are just people who work more.

I wish I understood work. Work is the key to anything you want to do. If you want to play the guitar—anybody can learn to play the fucking guitar—you can be good at it. Maybe you won’t get to be a genius but you could be good.

You can be good enough to write good songs or make a good film or whatever. There’s no such thing as not having enough talent to get to that level. I mean, persistence is talent, really. Just sticking with it. Talent is not stopping.

And okay I’ll poke holes in that all day because hey I have a full time job and hey I’ll never have the time to work any harder than I am now – but that’s just not true.

The truth is that I might not be able to work harder, but there are a million ways to maximize the time I do spend on my work. And there’s no reason I can’t continue to improve in the same way I have been for over two years now. The important thing is not to stop.

So this year I have a new set of goals that I’ll share with you next week, along with a roundup of actual usable takeaways that aren’t wholly wrapped up in my insecurities.

But today I thought I’d share this, just in case any of you were feeling the same.

Parties, after all, are more fun with friends – even when they’re the pity kind. Especially when you all decide to stop moping around the house and go out dancing.

Today I thought I’d invite you to go dancing.

Images by Brooke Dennis and Justin Hackworth


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