Nostalgia

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating One Year of Blogging

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It feels like just yesterday that my fingers started furiously tapping on a keyboard, writing the very first stories that would become the very first posts here at The Nostalgia Diaries.

But it wasn’t yesterday. It was a year ago.

One year.

How do you measure a year in the life of a blog?

12 months.
52 weeks.
365 days.
8,760 hours.
525,600 minutes.
In daylights.
In sunsets.
In midnights (and early mornings).
In hundreds of cups of cinnamon tea.
In 190 posts.
In over 23,000 visitors to the site.
In over 2,000 Facebook fans.
In over 2,500 Instagram followers.
In over 1,000 Pinterest followers.
In inches, in miles, and in lots and lots of laughter.

(What can I say? I’ve always been a sucker for Rent.)

When my fingers first touched those keys, I had no real idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I just wanted to write. I wanted a place to heal. I wanted to know what it was like to feel alive again.

I had no idea it would turn into what it has—a well-loved, bona fide blog. I had no idea that my lifelong dream of becoming a writer would start to come to fruition. I had no idea that creating this blog would mean my writing would be eventually be featured on She Knows, Red Tricycle, Chief Gratitude Officer, MamaPedia, Perfection Pending, and Parent.co.

Holy cow. How did all that happen?

I could lie and say that Lady Luck smiled down on me and that everything just fell into place and that I barely had to lift a finger. Yeah, nope. That’s definitely not how it happened.

The truth is, it took lots…
and lots…
and lots…
and lots…
of hard, hard work.

Here’s the thing that no one tells you about starting a blog: Not only does it take an insane amount of work, the learning curve can be huge and it takes so much time.

Okay, okay. Actually a LOT of people tell you this, but only after you’ve launched your blog and then start to feel overwhelmed and finally throw your hands up in exasperation, practically ready to give up before you do that desperate Google search: “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me how much work running a blog would be?”

When I started this blogging journey, I have to admit I wasn’t starting from scratch. After being a Marketing Manager and Marketing Director for many years, I’ve been a part of building websites from scratch. I’m familiar with content management systems, know how to write a fair amount of HTML code, and understand online marketing and social media best practices. I’m a trained graphic designer, so I already knew design and branding principles, and I knew how to create graphics and how best to save and optimize them for websites and social media.

But just because I knew all these things didn’t mean I was immune to all of the work the comes with running a blog.  

A day in the life of a blogger. (That’s me…)

My typical day went a little something like this:

Hear phone alarm go off at 4:45 AM, sit up in bed, spend 2 hours on social media promoting one or more of the 4+ blog posts I had written that week. Get up, get my daughter, Zoey, and I ready for the day, drop her off at school. Sit in traffic, work, sit in traffic, pick my daughter up at school. Make dinner, do dishes, do laundry, put Zoey to bed, prep lunches for the next day. Sit down at my desk at 9 PM and finish up promo and write until 12 AM…or 1 AM…or 3 AM. (Yes, there actually was a night in there I slept only an hour and 45 minutes.)

After a while, it all started wearing on me. The joy and excitement the blog brought me started to wane, and I started to feel like all of this was indeed work, not something that I was passionate about.

But then one day back in August, I sat at work, tired and on the verge of tears, telling my writer friend Steve (the one who wrote posts about the music of Up With People, nostalgic Disneyland, remembering to take a vacation, and the nostalgic music of television) how torn I was about The Nostalgia Diaries.

I told him how much I loved doing it but that I didn’t feel like I could keep up with it anymore. I told him how I was going on vacation and felt so overwhelmed by trying to get everything written in advance and how I felt this pressure was going to suck the joy out of my much-needed vacation I finally was getting around to taking.

And then Steve, being the cool, calm, collected, logical, rational, level-headed person he is, said—quite matter-of-factly—“So take a break. I’ll help. I’ll write the posts while you’re on vacation.”

In that moment, his words were just what I needed to hear. I mean, I wouldn’t hand this blog over to anyone. But Steve? I trusted him.

Because here’s the thing about Steve: Not only does he have a way with words, he is an amazing storyteller (Get this: he won 2nd place in a national fiction writing contest for lawyers. Watch out John Grisham…). His ability to communicate clearly and concisely is masterful and beautiful and everything in between. Not only that, he’s humble and kind and witty and smart and—of course—he loves nostalgia.

I jumped at his offer, and he took over the blog for a week (and rocked it based on the great reader response and engagement to his posts) while Zoey and I went on vacation.

And when I came back, I reassessed everything.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you probably noticed I pulled back tremendously on the amount of posts I put up every week: Throwback Thursdays and the Remember Reminder series are now on hiatus. The Music Monday posts have slowed to a trickle. I’ve focused my time and energy on the Everyday Nostalgia series and writing for other outlets in an effort to let more people know about my writing.

But here was the problem: My Everyday Nostalgia series was just a year long project—a project that is now only 10 weeks away from being over. Without Everyday Nostalgia leading the charge, what was going to become of The Nostalgia Diaries?

The more I thought about it, the more I toyed with the idea of shutting it down the blog. Come December 31, that would be the end of The Nostalgia Diaries.

But because I’m not one to make rash decisions, I remembered Steve’s level-headedness from earlier in the year, so I asked him for his advice.

And guess what, guys? Steve wants to help again. But not just for a week.

Permanently.

How did I ever get so lucky? I’m over the moon about this, because it’s like I hit the Nostalgia Diaries jackpot that someone as talented as him wants to come on board and be a part of this passion project of mine.

So what does all of this mean?
  • It feels like my heart might burst with gratitude.
  • It means I can sleep in a little bit (oh, sleep, how I’ve missed you…).
  • It means I can spend more time outside in the sun (don’t worry, I’ll remember to wear sunscreen).
  • It means I have more time to channel my inner child (with Zoey leading the way, of course).
  • It means I have time to do all the things my heart feels like it MUST do, like finally writing that book I keep saying I want to write and finding new ways reincarnate my old dream of owning my own company.
  • It means I feel inspired and joyful and hopeful.
  • It means more time for all the new beginnings my future surely holds.

Oh, and the most important thing?

It means the Nostalgia Diaries is here to stay.
(Cue the confetti!)

Steve and I have some fun plans for the blog: more stories, more music, and all the awesome, nostalgic road trips the blog has become known for. We’re so excited to be doing this together, and I’m pleased as punch that his arrival means The Nostalgia Diaries is going to be better than ever.

* * *

The truth of the matter…

But friends, here’s the thing. Do you know what really has made The Nostalgia Dairies so successful? It’s not the writing or my sacrifice of sleep or even this Music Monday post that keeps raking in all sorts of views.

It’s all of you. It’s all of your love and support and your likes and your amazing comments. It’s because week after week and post after post, you keep coming back here to read what I’ve been sharing. And maybe you have shared The Nostalgia Diaries with your friends and families, too.

How can I ever thank you?

I decided the best way to celebrate the one year anniversary of The Nostalgia Diaries would be to award a prize to one of our readers! (*See the Official Contest Rules below.*)

As I began my search for the best prize, I had three conditions.

  1. It needed to be nostalgic.
  2. It needed to be fun.
  3. It needed to be something that could help make memories.

And lo and behold, I found the perfect thing.

instamini

This FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 Camera is nostalgic, fun, and can help you make all sorts of memories. We’re throwing in 3 rolls of film to help get your vintage instant photo-taking started, and we will package and ship it to you. (*See the Official Contest Rules below.*)

* * *

To enter this contest, all you need to do is comment on this post with your answer to this question:
What is your favorite nostalgic memory and why?
This contest will close at 11:59:59 PM on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. We will select our favorite answer and announce the winner on Friday, November 3 (along with a another exciting announcement!) (*See the Official Contest Rules below.*)

* * *

Thank you again, dear friends, for everything. I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this if it weren’t for you. And get excited: we’re sure our second year here at The Nostalgia Diaries will be our best one yet!

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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

{*OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES: We are sorry we have to limit the geographic scope of this contest, because we love our many readers from all over the world, but this contest is only open to residents of the United States who have a United States mailing address and who are 18 years or older. No purchase of any kind is necessary to win. The winner will be selected in the sole discretion of The Nostalgia Diaries. All decisions of The Nostalgia Diaries are final. This contest is void where prohibited. This contest is not sponsored or endorsed by FujiFilm.*}

 

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54 thoughts on “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Celebrating One Year of Blogging

  1. Congrats! It is so much harder to run a blog than people realize. I’m so glad you found someone to share in your passion. It makes a world of difference. I’m glad you’re here to stay.

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