Ten Years Later

Today, Nerdy Girl Notes turns 10 years old.

Ten years. A decade. Almost a third of my life.

What a wild ride.

There have been times along the way when the ride has felt easy and smooth—and other times when it’s felt rough and bumpy. There are times when I’ve sat confidently in the driver’s seat on this journey—and other times when I’ve felt like I’d lost control.

But that’s how life feels.

And NGN has always been a reflection of my life.

A reflection of me.

Looking back on 10 years of posts, that’s what stands out more than anything else—the versions of me contained within these pretty pink borders.

I’ve spent months trying to plan what to say in this post. Ten years is no small feat when it comes to content creation on the internet. And there have been plenty of times when I’ve doubted I would get to this milestone. So I knew I wanted to celebrate today.

But what should I celebrate?

That was the harder question.

And it was made even harder to answer this week when a lovely second line showed up on my COVID test, confirming that I was going to be confined to my couch on a day when I was supposed to be toasting to 10 years with a cocktail at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. (Fear not, friends: I’m working with a relatively mild—though still not fun—case, and my WDW trip has already been rescheduled for a few weeks from now.)

So what should I celebrate on a day when I’m feeling pretty far from a celebratory mood? (And when doing too much celebrating would undoubtedly trigger a coughing fit?)


When I think about all the versions of me contained within these pretty pink borders, I think about all the versions who would have been afraid to talk about something frustrating, hard, and not anywhere close to positive on a day like today. But I also think about all the versions who took baby steps to get to a place where I can stand here and say that I know today is a big day—but I’m not really in the mood to make a big deal of it.

It took a lot of baby steps to make NGN what it is today. To make me who I am today. And every single one of those baby steps is chronicled in some way on this site.

When I look back at 10 years of posts, that’s what stands out the most.

Every single post is a chapter in a story.

And it’s the story of a woman finding her voice.

NGN began as a place for me to reconnect with the kind of writing I missed doing after I graduated from college—analytical, academic, using “I” as little as humanly possible. As time went on, I eliminated some of that distance by writing more from a place of enthusiasm and less from a place of academic insight. It was closer to my authentic voice—but it was still self-conscious, still trying to present an image to the world. But instead of the image of a smart, critical media analyst, it was the image of an always positive, always happy fangirl.

But some time in the last couple of years, I stopped presenting an image and started just being myself—my messy, vulnerable, unfiltered self.

I found my voice. Not the voice I thought would make my college professors proud. Not the voice I thought would make me liked by my fellow fangirls.

My voice. Mine.

And those of you who are here have found the most honest version of me.

You’re all a part of this story too.

That’s another fascinating part of looking back on 10 years of posts. I was able to see the first comments left by people who have become some of my closest friends (Does it shock anyone that Heather left NGN’s first comment?), comment threads where lasting friendships were forged, and stories shared that have helped me hear so many of your voices as I learned how to find mine.

In so many ways, the story of NGN is a love story. It’s the story of how I met so many people I love, how I strengthened relationships with people I loved long before this site first took shape, and how I learned to love myself through speaking myself—finally letting go of my need to be perfect and accepting that the thing I really needed most was to be honest.

So this post gets to be another chapter in the story of NGN—the story of me. Some chapters are high points (going to NYCC, that time I thought I was going to write a book, all the love posts and reviews of incredible hours of television and letters to fictional characters who stole my heart). Some chapters feel lower (the rare times fandom drama bled into NGN’s comments, posts about depression and anxiety, that time I did not actually write the book I thought I was going to write). But they’re all a part of a larger story.

My story.

And that means they all have their place. They all matter.

Ten years.

What a wild ride.

And I can’t wait to see what comes next.

You Got Me, I Got You: Nine Years of NGN

Today, Nerdy Girl Notes turns nine years old.

Nine years. Almost a decade.

So much has changed in those nine years—the kind of writing I do here, the number of posts I write, and the version of me who’s writing those posts.

But today, I’m not really thinking about what’s changed.

I’m thinking about what hasn’t.

And that’s you—my friends, my fellow fangirls (and fanboys), my NGN Family.

No matter how long I go between posts, no matter what crazy new obsession I try to drag all of you into, no matter how much I overshare, you’re still here.

And this year, more than any other, that knowledge saved me.

I have made no secret of the fact that this year has been one of the hardest—if not the hardest—years of my life. And for a long part of it, I actively stayed away from NGN, despite the extra time I had and the fandoms I could have written about. I stayed away because I was afraid that I would come back to this place and it wouldn’t feel the same. I was afraid that this would become just another online space where I was screaming into the void. I was afraid that this little corner of the internet that had been my most fulfilling source of connection for so many years wouldn’t be that anymore at a time when I needed connection more than I’d ever needed it before.

I was so afraid.

But then I did something that’s really hard for me to do when I’m scared—I stopped running away. I wrote one thing and then another (and another…). I opened my eyes after keeping them shut for so long because I was afraid that I’d see that even this—my safe space for the last nine years—had changed in a year that felt like it had changed everything else.

But when I opened my eyes, there you were.

And I knew—even though things still felt bad and I was still scared and every post was an exercise in trusting that I wasn’t going to chase all of you away with my vulnerability and obvious clinginess—I knew things were going to be OK.

Because I have you.

Because I came home.

Home means different things to different people, but to me, home has always meant safety.

That’s what NGN has become for me over the last nine years. It’s the place where I feel safe enough to be myself, to share hard things, and to trust that I’m not alone in whatever I’m feeling.

And that’s what I hope it is for you too.

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Finding a Reason to Celebrate

Today, NGN turns 8 years old, and in the spirit of honesty (because when have I ever been less than honest with all of you?), I have to admit that it feels weird to be celebrating this year.

First of all, I haven’t been around much lately. I’ve written some stuff in the last year that I’m really proud of, and focusing on quality over quantity (and writing about things I really care about instead of things I feel I have to write about) has made me a much better writer overall. But thanks to more shuffling around at work, I was left with less time than ever before for nerdy fun. I’m glad to still be in the blogging game eight years after I decided that I needed an outlet for all my impassioned ramblings, but it’s different than it used to be. I’m different than I used to be. And sometimes I really miss this site—and the version of me who ran it—when it was at its peak. It all feels a bit bittersweet.

And then of course there’s the fact that celebrating anything at all while a pandemic is raging feels strange. I’m writing this from my dining room table, which is where I’ve been working from home for the past three weeks, and I haven’t left the house at all (except for walks) for more than two weeks now. I feel so blessed and lucky to say that I’m surrounded by my immediate family, we have our health, and I have my job—and my heart breaks for those who cannot say those things anymore. It’s a hard time for literally everyone. I haven’t had a day pass this week that hasn’t either started or ended in tears (or sometimes I opted for both). So patting myself on the back for something in the middle of all this feels a little more hollow than it might have a month ago.

However, we have to look for the joy where we can, right? Whether that’s reality TV, Star Wars marathons, Zoom happy hours, yoga, board games, baking, online shopping, or the rare burst of springtime sunshine, we have to still find reasons to smile and get out of bed in the morning (or afternoon…). And we have to embrace the things that give us comfort when times are hard. That’s not going to be the same for any two people, but whatever it is, I hope you find it and get to hold onto it with both hands during this hard time.

For me, NGN has always been a place of joy and comfort. It’s the place where I found myself and the place I return to when I need to feel like that version of myself still exists under all the stress and anxiety and obligations that come as life changes. But the real reason why NGN gives me joy and comfort is because of all of you who—over the past 8 years—have become my NGN Family. You’ve been my confidants, my teachers, my defenders, and my friends for almost a decade now, and I’ve watched so many of you become that for each other too.

I hope that this time provides an opening for me to get back to some of the writing that brought vibrancy to this place for so long and that still fills my heart with hope and healing every time I get to do it. And until then, consider this post me reaching out to say that I’m thinking of all of you and that I know things are hard right now, but I also know that this community has always had a bit of a magical way of helping us through hard times. So if you’re struggling, I’m here for a shoulder to lean on, and if you’re feeling strong today, I’m here to champion your strength.

NGN has only made it this long because of the family we created, and that family is what I’m choosing to celebrate today.

Lucky Number Seven

Nerdy Girl Notes turns seven years old today!

If you would have asked me back on April 2, 2012, what I thought my life would be like seven years later, that young woman’s predictions would have been very different from how things turned out. But all those years ago, I knew I wanted NGN and the incredible people who make up the little family surrounding it to be a part of my life for as long as humanly possible. And I feel so blessed to know that seven years later, even after so much of my life has changed, NGN is still here for me to share my hopes and fears and thoughts and FEELINGS with all of you—and even more blessed to know that so many of you are still here for me to share all of those things with.

NGN itself is so different from what it was seven years ago. It’s gone through different stages (How did I ever review five shows a week?!) and chronicled different obsessions, but one thing remains the same: It’s a place that is driven by enthusiasm and love. I still love being able to write whenever inspiration strikes and the timing is right. And that’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to fill you in on what’s coming to NGN in the next few months!

After what has felt like the longest hiatus ever, NGN is returning to weekly content starting the week of April 15th! I’ll be back with my final round of Game of Thrones Moment of the Week posts (and maybe more about the show as we lead up to its finale), as well as weekly posts about FX’s new limited series Fosse/Verdon. As a dancer, a musical theater fangirl, a choreographer, and a reader who devoured the Sam Wasson biography this is based on, I have been eagerly awaiting the show since its announcement last year and knew right away I had to write about it. I’m not sure what form my posts will take yet and they’ll be starting after Episode 2 (because I’ll be soaking in the magic in Walt Disney World during the premiere), but I can’t wait to share all of my Gwen Verdon feelings and Cabaret love with all of you.

The fun will then continue into the summer with coverage of Big Little Lies and maybe some fun posts about movies, which I don’t write about enough around these parts.

Needless to say, I’m feeling very inspired lately and ready to share that inspiration with you. And I can’t think of a better mood to be in on NGN’s “blogiversary.” This little corner of the internet was founded on the belief that everyone needs a place where they can unashamedly love things, and I’m so thankful that so many of you continue to embrace that mindset along with me.

If you’ve been here for seven years or seven seconds, if you comment regularly or would rather remain an anonymous reader, if you visited for a specific show or have followed me through more fandoms than we can count—thank you. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your humor, and your heart. Thank you for your insight, your honesty, your recommendations, and your inspiration. Most of all, thank you for your friendship. I never would have made it to Year Seven without my NGN Family behind me, and knowing I have you in my corner makes me excited every time I open a blank document and get ready to write.

It’s been an unpredictable journey and a winding road so far, and I can’t wait to see where this year’s twists and turns and fangirl flights of fancy take us!

Six Years and Counting: Let’s Share Some Love!

Today, NGN turns six years old, and I’m struck by how much things can change in six years—but also by how the really important stuff stays the same.

Six years ago, when I sat down to write my first post, I had no idea what was in store for this little hot pink blog. All I knew was that I had things I wanted to say; I had a part of myself—a nerdy, passionate, emotional, enthusiastic part of myself—that I needed to share with the world after hiding her away for a long time.

There are a lot of things I never could have imagined about the highs and lows of the last six years—the friends I’d meet, the shows and movies I’d write about, the sleepless nights spent trying to plan the perfect post, the conventions I’d go to, the tears I’d shed when the words wouldn’t come, the actors and creators I’d be so blessed to interact with, the things I’d share about myself—but the most surprising thing of all is that people actually wanted to read what that nerdy, passionate, emotional, enthusiastic person had to say. And people still want to after six years. There is nothing more humbling to me than that.

This has been a year of balancing in my life. It’s been a year of trying to find a happy medium between my developing professional life, my own personal wants and needs, and my passion for running this website. And sometimes, that’s meant setting NGN aside and focusing on things like staying on schedule at work and getting a healthy amount of sleep. It’s meant fewer posts, but I truly believe the posts I’ve written this year have gotten back to the true reason I started this website. I wrote them not out of a sense of obligation, fear of letting people down, or desire to please others (all of which naturally happen sometimes in the course of six years as a writer). Instead, I wrote them because I had things I wanted to say, and I wanted to share those things with my fangirl family.

I still find myself in awe of the family I’ve created here, and I am so thankful to all of you who have visited NGN during the last six years—from the ones who just stopped by to read one post to the ones who form the backbone of my support system and have been there for me through it all. So many things can change in six years, and so many things have both with NGN and with my life in general. But one thing that has stayed the same is the overwhelming gratitude I feel that so many incredible people have taken the time to read the ramblings of a nerdy girl and have reached out to let that nerdy girl know she’s not alone. I’m grateful for every comment, tweet, Tumblr reblog, and like, and I’m honored to have so many brilliant, funny, and kind people as part of the NGN Family. I don’t know what I did to deserve not only your readership for the past six years, but also your support and friendship, but I hope all of you know that this thing couldn’t work at all—and certainly couldn’t keep working for six years and counting—without you.

With all that being said, I want to bring back a little something that we used to do around Christmas here at NGN. That’s right—it’s time for a LOVE POST!

Here are the basic instructions as I remember them from my old LiveJournal days: Make a comment on this post with your username (and things like your Twitter or your Tumblr URL if you feel like people might know you better by those identifiers). Then, sit back and let others reply, telling you how much and why they love you. Finally, share the love! Reply to your friends’ comments on this post and tell them how awesome you think they are, or finally tell that one commenter you really respect how insightful you think their thoughts are.

The greatest thing about NGN’s development over the last six years has been seeing all the friendships that have formed among all you who’ve stuck around, and I thought there was no better way to honor that and to thank all of you than a post meant to shower you all with love and to encourage you to do that for each other.

I’ll kick off the comments to show you how to get things started, and I hope all of you join in so I can personally thank you for being such bright lights in my life. Let’s put some more love into the world today; I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!

I love you Winston

A Fabulous Five Years

On April 2, 2012, a 23-year-old editorial assistant sat down at her brand-new MacBook and wrote her first post on a hot pink blog about why she was proud to be a nerd. She had no idea who that post would reach, what post would come after it, or how long she would keep that blog running. All she knew was that she needed to write analytically and enthusiastically about things she loved, and this seemed like the best plan.

Five years later, a 28-year-old associate editorial director sat down at her slowly dying MacBook and started writing her 733 post on a hot pink blog about why she’s still proud to be a nerd.

So much has changed in the last five years—both at NGN and in my life—but some things will never change. I will always believe that there’s no more fulfilling life than the life of a nerdy girl. I will always be thankful for every comment, like, and view this website gets. And I will always find joy in writing analytically and enthusiastically about the things I love.

Every year since NGN was created has been a new adventure, filled with challenges, changes, and lessons to learn—and this year held more challenges, changes, and lessons than any other. A new position at work pushed me professionally in ways I never imagined I would be pushed so early in my career, and that’s led to some changes here at NGN in terms of how much and how often I post. Such a major life change called for me to reevaluate my relationship with what I do here at NGN, and recently, I’ve been reminded that this website and the kind of writing I do here bring me more happiness and fulfillment than almost anything else in my life.

It’s good to work hard, but it’s also good to make time for what makes you happy. And even after five years, running this website still makes me happy. Writing posts, interacting with the NGN Family, and reading all of your comments (I may not always reply, but know that I still read and appreciate every single one.) has been a way for me to connect with the best version of myself at a time when it could have been easy for me to lose the voice I started to find on April 2, 2012.

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Four Years of Fun and Feelings

Today, Nerdy Girl Notes turns four years old. In my first post on this site, I wrote a sentence that I still believe with every fiber of my being:

I can’t imagine a better, more fulfilling life than the life of a nerdy girl.

A lot of things can change in four years. And a lot of things have changed over the last four years—not just for NGN as a site but for me as a person. But my goal from the start has always been to keep NGN moving forward, and I’d like to think I’ve done that—moving forward in the process of becoming not just a better writer but a better version of myself through running this site.

When I look back on some of my oldest NGN posts, I’m struck by how much distance I kept between myself and what I was writing about. I was afraid to get too personal—and the secret is, sometimes I still am. It’s scary to be vulnerable, it’s scary to talk about how much something means to you, and it’s scary to talk about yourself through a medium that makes that writing available to anyone who wants to read it and comment on it. In my quest to be as open as I can be in my writing, I’ve discovered that emotional honesty is a double-edged sword. It allows you to form genuine connections with people through your writing, but it also allows people who don’t like a particular thing you’ve written or an opinion you’ve shared to believe they can judge you as a person because of it. There have been plenty of occasions—this year perhaps more than any other—where it’s felt easier to just hide behind a more impersonal approach to writing or to just stop writing altogether. Because writing with honesty and vulnerability is hard.

But to quote one of my favorite movies, A League of Their Own: “It’s supposed to be hard…The hard is what makes it great.” And it is great. And part of the reason it’s so great is because it’s scary. Running this site and sharing my writing with all of you has made me feel braver than I could ever have hoped to feel. And this year I’ve felt braver than ever before.

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Fangirl Thursday: Three Years of Nerdy Fun

Today is a special day at Nerdy Girl Notes, and it seems very fitting that it should fall on a Fangirl Thursday. It’s NGN’s third birthday/blogiversary/whatever the kids are calling it nowadays. The point is, three years ago today, I picked out my hot pink color scheme, wrote a post about the joys of being a nerdy girl, and NGN was born.

NGN has evolved and grown so much since its earliest days, and in the process, I’ve grown so much, too. I started this blog as a way to reconnect with the kind of writing I wanted to do, and somewhere along the way, I also discovered the kind of person I want to be. That’s not something you think about when you write your first blog post, but it’s something I feel thankful for every day—that what started out as a writing exercise turned into a place where I was able to grow as a person not just through my writing, but through interacting with some of the smartest and kindest people I could have ever hoped to meet.

This year has been a year of new challenges at NGN. New TV shows were reviewed, new features were started, new lists were made, and new essays were written. I pushed myself as a writer this year not just in the sheer volume of posts I wrote, but in the vulnerability many of them required. And I am forever grateful for all of you who’ve responded with vulnerability and openness of your own. We share something special with one another when we talk about the media we love, and this year was filled with reminders of that belief, which has always been at the heart of everything I write here.

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Two Years Later

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.

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One Year Later

Tomorrow I’ll return to my regularly-scheduled Castle recapping (How amazing was that 100th episode, by the way?), but, for today, NGN has a milestone of its own to celebrate.

My name is Katie, and I’m a nerdy girl.

With that confession, Nerdy Girl Notes was born. It’s been exactly one year since I first shared my nerdy side with all of you, and what a year it’s been. I can honestly say that this year has been one of the most creatively and intellectually rewarding of my life, and I feel honored to have shared this year of writing with some truly incredible people. To quote my personal hero Leslie Knope, “No one achieves anything alone,” and this year has taught me that more than any other.

I’m forever indebted to the smart, funny, and slightly insane (they have to be to be friends with me) writers and artists who’ve shared their talents with NGN, making this blog (and its Facebook and Twitter) look pretty and creating content that is as insightful as it is entertaining. I especially have to thank Heather and Leah, two women who have not only covered for me with excellent posts when I needed a pinch-hitter; they’ve been two of my most wonderful sources of support throughout this first year of NGN. For anyone who thinks the only friends you can make on the Internet are future axe-murderers, I present these two lovely ladies as a counterargument.

In addition, I just want to thank all of you who’ve taken the time to comment on here; reblog things I’ve written on Tumblr; or share a link to NGN on Twitter, Facebook, or any other form of social media I’m too technologically-illiterate to understand. You have no idea how thrilled it makes me to think that people who aren’t obligated to tell me they like this website (aka my mom) actually enjoy what I write.

I’ve learned so much from these past 365 days as I’ve tried to make NGN the best website it can be. I’ve learned that I could spend days writing essays about female characters in the modern media and never get sick of it. I’ve learned that sometimes the right GIF can express all of the thoughts and feelings you can’t put into words. I’ve learned that there are wonderful people out there who will read a 2,000-word recap of a relatively uneventful, midseason Castle episode. And I’ve learned that—no matter how busy you are—when you fall in love with a TV show, you have to make time to share your feelings with the world. (I’m looking at you, New Girl.)

The best lesson I’ve learned this year, though, is a simple one: If you work hard and feel passionate about the work you’re doing, good things will happen. NGN has been a labor of love from Day One, and I’m so excited about where the next 365 days and beyond will take it.

A year ago, I said something that I think feels more truthful today than ever:

I can’t imagine a better, more fulfilling life than the life of a nerdy girl.

Thanks to all of you who’ve proven to me by your readership, your comments, and your friendship that the life of a nerdy girl is the most fulfilling life imaginable. This year has been one heck of a journey. Thanks for going along on the ride with me.

Here’s hoping the next year will be as fun, fruitful, and fabulous as the first!