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.
Happy birthday!! 😀
My experience with NGN has been short, and mainly limited to the post about one TV show because I sadly have not the time to watch everything that I’d like, least of all have knowledge enough to comment on it. But I’ve loved every second of it; the well-thought posts and comments, the sincerity you talk about, the respect for different opinions. I’ve never felt more at ease or welcome in an internet forum where passions run high and I am forever thankful to have found you.
Thank you for sharing your time and dedication with us, and here’s to many more years of amazing commentary and discussion!! *rises can of Coke because it’s all I have at hand right now… not too classy but it’ll have to do!*
Thank you so much—not just for these very kind words but for all of the amazing discussions you’ve helped create on my OUaT posts! I’m so happy you found us and that you’ve chosen to share your thoughts with us. I’ve loved every second of having you here so far, and I will take part in a celebratory toast featuring cans of Coke anytime—so, cheers! 😉
Aw yay!! Happy blog birthday! So glad I stumbled upon your post about the music of Alias. YOU’RE WONDERFUL.
Thanks, Kelly! You’re pretty wonderful yourself. 😀
Happy Birthday NGN! I think you already know how grateful I am for this site (and our Twitter discussions), but I will say it again. I love coming here to read your thoughts and discuss some of my favorite things with you and your other readers. As someone who has written for a pop culture blog in the past, I can only begin to imagine the number of hours you put into this site. Even more impressive is the tone of your writing. It’s easy to be critical. It’s much harder to admit that you love something, and you never shy away from sharing what you love. Your site is the only one I spend my valuable time commenting on, because not only does it allow me to think critically, it also makes me think positively. It’s my first instinct to criticize and complain and your site does a great job at keeping those default thoughts in check and enjoy shows for what they are instead of what they aren’t. I love the little OUAT family that’s formed here, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next year brings!
I don’t ever shy away from sharing what I love, and I love everything about this comment. 😉 I’m so happy you found us, Shauna! You’ve added so much to our little OUAT family over here, and I appreciate our Twitter discussions so much as well. I’m so happy that my writing helps you think positively; that’s all I need to hear to be a very happy girl.
I remember making my first comment on Suits, by chance, after reading a beautiful post about the show and its cast. I soon felt welcomed and i tried and try to stick around any time i can. So happy birthday NGN, you are very much appreciated and girls, thank you for your fantastic job!
Thank you so much for the kind words!
Happy birthday NGN and thanks Katie 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and the comments, even started to watch some shows/movies thanks to your tweets or articles. I completely agree with the depth of the reactions here, A LOT better than what you can read on the web.
You’ve built a perfect atmosphere to discuss about our favorites moments on tv that only passionate people can create! It always feels good to know that there are people out there as invested as I am in those tv shows and there is really no shame about that!
Keep writing as well as you’ve been doing it for the past 2 years and let’s be brave together to face all those upcoming seasons finales..and the summer hiatus!!
Thank you, Charlotte! I’m happy to hear you started watching things thanks to NGN, and I hope you’re enjoying them!
“It always feels good to know that there are people out there as invested as I am in those tv shows and there is really no shame about that!” – That’s exactly why I created NGN. It always makes me feel good to know I’m not alone in how much I care about fictional characters. 😉 And yes, we’ll need to band together to survive finale season!
I am probably getting repetitive at this point, but I’m so proud of you, Katie. I always love your writing and the love you have for what you are writing about, but you have really done an amazing job of creating a community full of kind and respectful people who love analyzing TV. It’s such a positive environment and that’s so hard to come across on the internet.
I know the next year will have great things in store for you and NGN and I can’t wait to be here for them!
I’m so lucky to have you in my life, Heather—not just as someone who has been a huge help in making NGN the best it can be but as someone who is such a great friend. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me, and they help me to be as positive as I can be, which is such an important part of what I’m trying to do here at NGN. I can’t wait for all of our adventures in the next year! 😀
I have the good souls of Castle to thank for this happy playground. It was just about a year ago that I found my way to NGN because of a post in honor of Castle’s 100th episode. I was so thrilled to see a retrospective of favorite episodes that mirrored the nuance of the show that I adored. I remember that weekend pouring over a year’s worth of your posts and loving it more and more. Not just for all the reasons you pointed out that make NGN unique and special, but because of the energy and joy that came through even your most critical posts. I knew in the sea of vitriol that the blogosphere often can be I had found a little oasis that would entertain and feed my geekdom.
I admire your tenacity for the integrity of this sight. It shows not just in your posts, but more importantly in your responses. Everyone and every opinion is not only welcomed, it’s valued. And that is the secret ingredient that makes the atmosphere of NGN special and the discussions so wonderfully rich. You inspired me in a very real way to write again simply because I love it and about what I love. A year later, I am personally better for it. So thank you!
Wishing you and NGN a wonderful birthday and this is the best thing I thought of to celebrate!
Here’s to the journey of this wonderful family you’ve built here at NGN. I am so grateful to be a part of it.
First of all, I have now watched that video five times today and will be watching it a sixth time after I finish this comment. Few things in the world make me smile like that moment.
To say I am happy you found NGN is the understatement of the year. Your insight, open-mindedness, and articulate writing inspire me to be worthy of the discussion I always know you’ll be a part of. To think that I, in any way, inspired your writing brings me so much joy because I know that NGN would not be what it is today without your comments.
Happy blogging birthday, Katie! 🙂
I love reading your reviews of New Girl because I know you’ll be positive and excited about something, if not everything, about the episode. I’m so glad you love Nick Miller as much as I do, which is how I found your blog.
Knowing your love of Once Upon a Time, and reading your amazing tumblr tags, convinced me that I should watch. I am quite in love with Charming, and I’m enjoying going even deeper into this crazy fairytale world – I’m about a third of the way through season 2 now. I can’t wait to get caught up and read your reviews of episodes I’ve actually watched!
And I love that you don’t believe that TV viewing and fangirling should be “guilty” pleasures.
All the best for the year ahead!
Thanks, Jo! I have always loved talking about New Girl with you, and our shared love of Nick Miller makes me so happy. (I still need to write about last week’s episode—hopefully tomorrow!) I’m also thrilled that you’re enjoying Once Upon a Time, and I’m excited to welcome you into the club of Charming fangirls. He’s an easy character to love. 😉
Congrats on 2 years, certainly a wonderful achievement and you have every right to be proud of what you have achieved. This oasis of positive insight is rare in a world where negativity is the easy path to follow. I look forward each week to your insights on the latest Castle episode and the many comments that follow. NGN has without doubt opened my mind to new experiences, allowed me to see and view things with a new perspective. I may not always agree with what’s written, but that’s what having an opinion is all about. If we all agreed then the fabulous dialogue and critical observations and insights would not happen. I feel blessed for been a part of this experience.
All the best for the next 365 days.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Mark! I’m thrilled that you found us and even more thrilled that you’ve stuck around and joined our little Castle community over here. Your comments are ones I always look forward to reading!