I’ve always loved birthdays. They’re a chance to take stock of things in your life; to look back on the ways you’ve grown and to look ahead at all the possibilities the next year (and more) can offer.
Today is NGN’s second birthday. For a blog, a first birthday is great, but a second birthday is something to really celebrate. The first year is all about running on adrenaline, building something from nothing, and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. But the second year—that’s when the fun really begins, but it’s also when the work really begins. The second year is about keeping your readers interested in what you have to say after the initial novelty has worn off. The fact that so many of you have stuck around means the world to me.
At NGN, this year has also been about discovering a real purpose. When I started this blog, I had no idea what it would become. For one of the first times in my life, I didn’t have a plan or lofty goals; I just wanted to write about what mattered to me. Since then, I’ve watched people gravitate towards NGN for its generally positive tone and the passionate but respectful discussion it inspires. At the risk of sounding cliché, I can’t find the words to describe how happy it makes me to think that this is what NGN is known for. The Internet can be a nasty place, so it fills me with a deep sense of joy and also a very motivating sense of purpose to know that people come here to talk about their favorite TV shows (as well as movies, books, and other passions) in an environment that makes people feel welcome and encourages sincere discussion.
Every year is another year to learn, and this year at NGN has taught me even more than my first year running this blog. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that sincerity matters. I’ve always believed that we reveal so much about ourselves when we talk about the things we love, so there’s a very specific kind of vulnerability that running a blog like NGN (and commenting on a blog like NGN) requires. No matter what, I always try to be sincere in my writing, and I am so thankful to all of you who respond to that with sincerity of your own. You make me a braver writer, and that, in turn, makes me a better writer—and a braver person.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I think about all of you who have helped NGN grow into a blog I am incredibly proud to call my own. I want to thank all of my contributors, especially the dynamic duo of Heather and Leah. These two lovely ladies are kind enough to not only contribute incredible content to NGN and help me out whenever I need them to step in for me; they are my favorite sounding boards and two people I am happy to call friends.
I am also honored to have the best commenters on the Internet. (Judging by other comment sections that I read, I don’t even think this is hyperbole.) Thank you for your insight, your passion, and your honesty. And thank you for being so open to other opinions and so respectful of each other. The thing I am most proud of when I look back at this year at NGN is the quality of the discussions that happen in the comments sections of my posts. I often like to just scroll through them and smile because I still don’t know how I got so lucky to have commenters like the ones I have.
I appreciate every single thing that’s been said about NGN this year. The criticisms make me push myself to be better, and the praise does the same. I hope to continue to produce content that’s worthy of your kind words. Every one of your enthusiastic Tweets, Tumblr posts, and message board mentions are a gift that I cherish.
These last 365 days have been filled with pleasant surprises, new friendships, unexpected sources of encouragement, and a sense of accomplishment that I haven’t felt in a long time. More than ever, I feel justified in my belief that if you work hard and feel passionate about the work you’re doing, good things will happen. With that mindset driving me, I think this next year at NGN can be even better than these last two years. I’m ready to see where the next 365 days will take NGN, and I hope those of you who enjoy what we’re doing stick around. I don’t know where the next year will lead us, but I have a feeling the journey is going to be fun.