Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Attending the Asian Festival of Children's Content 2013

Greetings from Singapore! My, what a fast and furious time these past two days have been for me. I have been here participating in the fourth annual Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC) as a speaker, panelist, moderator, participant, learner, and appreciator. CRAZY, RIGHT??? Thanks to the efforts of super bloggers Tarie (Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind) and Liyana (LiyanaLand), I came to Singapore to give a keynote speech on "Getting the Most Out of Blogging" (moderated by Liyana) and be part of a panel called "Blogging Today and Tomorrow" with coolcat author-blogger Candy Gourlay (moderated by Tarie).

Me (far left) with Liyana (second from left), Tarie (far right), and two sweet blogger-writers from Malaysia WHOSE NAMES AND BLOGS I WILL PUT HERE IF SOMEONE TELLS ME. Please. Help. Photo taken by: Paolo Chikiamco.

For my speech "Getting the Most Out of Blogging", I talked about how blogging should be more personal rather than professional, and, as such, should be able to grow as you grow, change as you and your interests or passions change. Blogging is a reflection of yourself rather than a blatant self-marketing tool. Thus, blogging should be low-pressure and fun; the minute that it stops being fun is the minute you should take a blogging break, step back and remember why you started blogging in the first place: because you felt passionate for something, and wanted to share that passion of yours with others.

Yes yes, that's me speaking. Photo credit: Liyana.

I've got to be honest with you: I was in a bad place, blogging-wise, in the weeks and months leading up to this conference. I felt overwhelmed by and fed up with blogging and other related forms of social media. Others were racing ahead on Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr... and the more I fell behind, the less I wanted to be part of that race.

Finally putting words to those feelings I had long bottled up inside me, and then hearing from people who still love blogging yet also understand its pressures, reinvigorated me in ways I could not have imagined. In particular, Candy Gourlay and Vivian Kirkfield's panel "Blogging and Tweeting for Authors", of which I was moderator, snapped me out of my social media funk and made me realize that I cannot and will not let social media dictate me and my happiness. Fueled by the energy of the like-minded souls I met at AFCC, I am now ready to come back to my blogging and other social media branches with a better understanding of how to best use them to maximize my voice and, most importantly, my happiness.

I need to edit this photo, but this is Candy Gourlay and me right before our panel on "Blogging Today and Tomorrow." I think it is very revealing of Candy's personality...

AFCC is not perfect, but I believe it is on the right track to being the best thing to come to children's literature, media, publishing, and blogging in Southeast Asia. I am so grateful to AFCC for giving me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to speak about my blogging experience, and I also would not hesitate to attend again if I am in the vicinity in the following years. With hard work and only a bit of luck, hopefully AFCC can continue to grow and attract more and more people to this worthy event. They've got a supporter in me.

More about Singapore and the bloggers I met coming up soon!


  1. Wow. What a fabulous experience! And I completely agree about blogging -- I do love it but I always feel like I'm running to catch up. I'm not the biggest, fastest, most book-y, most authoritative...any of that. But I really enjoy chatting with others and seeing what people have to say about fantastic books, which is good enough. It has to be or I'd make my self insane (more than I am right now, anyway!).

  2. Good for you, Steph! This is something you can continue to do and help inspire readers and literacy thru your amazing reviews. I've felt similar towards blogging/social media lately, but I always come back to it cuz it's filled with like-minded peeps I don't find in real life. I live for fiction, and the web is teeming with others like me. :)
    BTW in answer to your question on my blog, yes I knew Carol would be Kirk's love interest cuz she fit the bill from the original Kirk's wife from Search for Spock.

  3. What a wonderful event! It sounds like you were able to share some of your valuable insight with other bloggers and authors and also come to some realizations on your own; all in all a conference well spent. :-) I totally know what you mean about feeling like you're always running to catch up. It can take a lot of the joy out of reading and sharing your passion for reading with others when blogging becomes a race on an ever changing and multiplying set of tracks.
    "I cannot and will not let social media dictate me and my happiness." <--- I love this, and kind of want to make it my motto, because at times I burn out completely on social media. When I remember why I started blogging in the first place, and only do things that are personally fulfilling, I get so much more enjoyment out of it. Amazing post, thanks for sharing!

  4. It sounds like the gathering was amazing! I'm so glad that you've left it feeling rejuvenated and ready to approach all the social media in the world again with a fresh perspective. I do love that you decided to focus on how blogging should be a personal thing, and that it can grow and change with you - I TOTALLY agree!

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  6. What an honor to be the keynote speaker! It's sounds like a fabulous event. I hadn't realized you'd gone back to Asia in the midst of moving home. What a busy month for you! It is important to find a balance that works for you. I hope you'll find time for your own creative writing too.

    I hear you on feeling overwhelmed by social media at times. During this intense month of MS revisions I've been offline for 3 weeks, which must be my longest break in 6 1/2 years of blogging. It didn't seem right to post if I didn't have time to read and to comment on other blogs. The break allowed me to focus my creative energy. I missed blogging and am eager to get back to it in June. Twitter takes less energy so is easier but is also less satisfying. FB is more for keeping track of old friends. I should do more with Goodreads. And now there are vines! It is endless.

  7. Your session was the first one that I attended. Your honest take on blogging is simple yet thougthful and challenged my current view on blogging. Thank, keep writing and hope to see you in future AFCC. I myself will mark my date for 2014!

  8. Hey Steph! It was fun listening to your talk (definitely made me re-think again why I started blogging) and hanging out with you guys for a bit during lunch ;) I'm Hamizah/Meems (the girl with the striped headscarf). Our blog is linked in this profile~

    Anyway, will definitely be dropping by your blog! :>

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  11. Congrats Steph! I totally agree the blogging is a personal and should reflect the blogger as a person. I know that my own blog has changed as I changed, and I feel all the happier that it changed with me, since it's more genuine that way. I'm glad you had fun and that you're out of your social media funk! :D

  12. Hey Steph,

    Thank you for agreeing to be the keynote speaker for the blogging sessions. Such an honour to have you there. Your speech was totally informative and fabulous; I know I've gotten a bunch of great advice. ;)

    Have fun on your trip!

  13. i love all the things you have relayed here about blogging. i know your blog is one of the first blogs i ever came across and i am glad you are still going and i love how it has ben changing with you.

  14. Hey Steph,

    It was fun attending your session with Candy and your discussion was really thought-provoking. Thanks for the wonderful session! :)

  15. How cool is that! I've never heard of the AFCC. I'll have to check it out. Lovely to get to know you!

  16. First, I love your dress. Second, I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that blogging should be FUN. Unless it's your full time job, I don't understand the rat race mentality. Whenever I see people apologizing for not having a post everyday, I'm like, Why?! I don't think there's a blog I visit every single day, not even my own. This is a such a great post. Can't wait to see what else you share from Singapore! :)


  17. Lovely blog. Please follow mine, it's new: readandlovebooks.blogspot.com

  18. THANK YOU for agreeing to speak and moderate at the AFCC. I was really moved by your keynote speech and it gave me a lot of strength. Strength I need to stand up against the people trying to pressure me about when and what to blog!


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