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!