New Year, New NGN

The beginning of the year has always been a time of new beginnings at NGN. This site started as a New Year’s resolution, and January has always been a time for reflecting on this little corner of the internet and how I can make it the best it can possibly be.

For a few years, I wasn’t sure how to do that. My career changed in a major way in 2016, and with that, the time I could devote to this site—especially in the form of weekly reviews of shows—drastically decreased. But it was more than just my job that changed around that time. I changed. My relationship with fandom changed. My relationship with writing about and for fandom changed.

I felt like I couldn’t be what fandom needed me to be.

For years, I’d built a reputation as being a force of unstoppable positivity in fandom. And I relished that reputation. I encouraged it and took it very seriously.

But sometimes it’s hard to be positive.

Sometimes you can’t be what other people need you to be.

So I all but disappeared because I felt like I couldn’t be what fandom needed me to be—what fandom expected me to be. I couldn’t keep up with The Fan Mail Project (remember when I tried to write a book?) thanks to my grueling workload and packed schedule. I couldn’t post as often because I was burned out from writing all day at work. I couldn’t be as endlessly enthusiastic as I used to be because I was struggling with a prolonged period of anxiety and self-doubt.

I felt like I was letting people down, and I didn’t know how to deal with that.

I wrote when I could, but after my posts about The Americans ended, it was hard for me to find my groove—to find my voice.

But I think I’m starting to find it again.

And I have you—my NGN Family—to thank for that.

The encouragement you gave me when I wrote about what Schitt’s Creek taught me about coming home. The kindness you all showed when my year-end posts took a different—and more honest—tone this year. The sense of community that’s filled this place again in the last week.

It’s all reminded me that the people who matter—the people who’ve made the NGN community what it’s been for almost a decade—don’t need me to be anything but myself. My messy, vulnerable self. It’s reminded me that NGN can be a safe space not just for the people who visit it, but for me too. And it’s reminded me that nothing makes me feel less alone than connecting with people through the kind of writing that I’ve always loved bringing to NGN—writing about the things we love and what those things say about who we are.

So with that in mind—and in the spirit of new beginnings—I’m excited to announce that I’m bringing back a couple of old features from NGN’s past that I think will focus on that kind of writing and allow all of us to share enthusiasm and love the way we did this past week—and the way we’ve been sharing for more than eight years.

The first of these is The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week, which will return to its Sunday slot starting tomorrow! The second is an updated version of NGN’s old Daily Dose of Feelings feature that discussed some of my favorite emotional moments from TV. However, my life doesn’t really allow for “Daily” posts anymore, so instead, Right in the Feels is going to pop up at least a few times a month to focus on moments from movies, TV shows, and other aspects of pop culture that have brought me to tears throughout my many years as a fangirl. (I have a working list of moments to write about, but if you have suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments!)

It’s my hope that these features—along with more essays throughout the year—will allow us all to continue to connect with the joy, enthusiasm, and community that’s been buzzing around NGN for the last week and that has always made this little corner of the internet so special.

It may be a new year, but I’m ready to rekindle a little bit of that old NGN magic.

8 thoughts on “New Year, New NGN

  1. I’m so happy for and proud of you, Katie! I’m so glad you feel inspired to write again, and I’m really looking forward to the new posts & more NGN community discussion in 2021.

  2. Sweetie! Lovely job on this.

    Your positivity resonated with so many people because we could tell it was real. While it’s a part of your identity, it doesn’t mean you have to be relentlessly happy and positive. I’m glad you didn’t let that become a straight jacket. (As we see in Inside Out we need sadness just as much as joy. Talking about the difficulties and messiness just highlights the joy. Light looks brighter in contrast to darkness.) I love your willingness to explore different aspects of joy and community and to let your writing and sense of self evolve. What we love about you and this site is the realness.

    • Thank you so much, Tempest. That really means a lot and reinforces a lot of what I hope draws people to my writing—and what I’ve always liked best about my writing. I think for a while (especially at my peak of writing about OUAT), I kind of felt defined as “the positive one,” and while that was great, what I wanted to be known as was “the open one.” And I’m working on a way to balance both of those things—to be positive because that’s what I like to focus on in the media I choose to write about, but also to be open because that’s what I want people to see in me, even when that openness is about things that aren’t always bright and shiny. So I appreciate your support more than I can ever say. (And your Inside Out reference! It’s one of my favorite movies, and the scene where Joy and Sadness realize some moments can hold both of them—and the scene with Bing Bong where we learn that sadness is where empathy comes from—make me cry every time because it’s all so beautifully true.)

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