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. Favorite nostalgic memory? Oh so many! And I love how your posts always inspire them! I think I’ll have to choose waking up in the middle of the night and running into my parents room crying because my Tamagotchi was making noise and I thought it was dying! Turns out, it was just growing up!! (My parents weren’t too happy haha) Congrats on a year!!!

  2. Wow, what a year for you!! I am so inspired by all your hard work, and accomplishments. I’m so glad that after all your hustle and hard work, you are able to catch a breath. Well done!!

  3. Wow, so inspiring. Congratulations on all the things you have achieved! Wish I could participate in the contest, but I live on the other side of the Atlantic ocean 😉

  4. You’re a very talented writer, and I’m so happy to hear that the blog is here to stay! Also, super happy to hear Steve is here permanently. When I started my blog, I did not realize how much time and effort went into it – and sometimes I still forget. I often have to hit pause, and take a deep breathe before diving back in. It’s a slow process, but one I’m enjoying!

    As for my favorite nostalgic memory? I would have to say when I was younger and my brother, sister, and I would play all sorts of games, battling to be the winner. Whether it was Mario Kart, a game of cards, or a board game like Trouble or Scrabble, we were always pitting against each other in friendly competition and it was always a good time, no matter if I won or lost!

  5. Happy blog anniversary! I don’t know what my favorite nostalgic memory is, but I spent this morning snuggling with my little guy and eating cookies while sipping my coffee and I think that will become a favorite memory of mine.

  6. 1 year – wowza! What an achievement! Whenever I feel blue, in need or inspiration, or just want a nice stroll down memory lane, I always think back to playing in the fort and wooded area near the house I grew up in. It seemed to span for miles and time just stood still.

  7. I am so excited for you and I can’t wait to see what you guys have planned in the coming year! Congratulations on making it a whole year and all the growth that you’ve experienced!

  8. Congrats on 1 year! I don’t know if I can pick a favorite nostalgic memory, but I love thinking about all of the games and stories that we made up and played as kids. Pretending to be different characters playing dress up and make believe game at recess. I was definitely more creative and had a better imagination back then.

  9. My favorite is swinging on my tummy on the old metal swingset in my gramma’s garden. Her house is in the oak woods on a hill top in North Arkansas, and as I swung I would watch the flickers of sunlight trickling through the oak leaves on the ground in front of me. <3

  10. Congratulations! I am honored you asked me to become a permanent part of this great blog! I hope your awesome readers will enjoy my continuing contributions to The Nostalgia Diaries in the next year!

    Cheers to a great first year!

    Steve

  11. great post! congrats on year one! I would say scale back to posting less per week. My notstalgic moment hmmm…. I guess its the excitement of being a kid around this time of year. I do remember Halloweens of past being cold and dark (yay global warming) and running around the neighborhood! love reliving these moments with my own kids

  12. Congrats on one year. <3 I don't even know what my favorite nostalgic memory is but I do miss the joy and magic that Christmas used to hold. Don't get me wrong, I still love Christmas but nothing beats how Christmas used to feel during childhood! Also, old Nickelodeon shows and all the fun toys like Sit n Spin and Polly Pocket, haha! Too much to be nostalgic about! 🙂

  13. I’m welling up. Congratulations on your Blogaversary. You’re right, it can get overwhelming. I’ve started blogging and I am leaning lots and lots every day. Thank you for sharing xo

  14. Congrats on making it to a year and the future collaboration! Sounds like some exciting new things are in your future. Oh, and fellow RENT-head here!

  15. So happy for you! I’m only 3 months in but I can totally relate to being torn about continuing or not. It is SO. MUCH. WORK. And yes, no one tells you this until after you start 🙂

  16. Happy blogaversary! I am so glad you found a way to continue this blog by just shifting things and letting some help 🙂 That is huge!

    My favorite nostalgic memory… my niece (who is now 9 – WHAT?) at age 2, when she kept saying the funniest things! I miss that time.

  17. Hello,
    I just found out about your blog today. Congrats on the 1 year anniversary! As one new to blogging I found your post quite encouraging.

    Nostalgic Memory: I have a number of them, but the one that came right to mind was a Thanksgiving way back when. I was about 8 years old I guess. My grandmother served us cornish hens, which to my siblings and me was a “whole family sized chicken.” When we were told we could not have dessert until we cleaned our plate we thought it would be the worse Thanksgiving in history. Thankfully mama came to our rescue, and we did not have to finish the “whole chicken” on our plate :D.

  18. The contest for readers was a great idea, as well as accepting help from your friend. I have gone through many of the ups and downs you’ve described. As some encouragement – your stats are better than mine, and I’ve been doing it a year and a half! Try not to get discouraged, although I know it can be hard sometimes. You’re doing great!

  19. First of all, congratulations on your one-year anniversary!! So, when you asked what our favorite nostalgic memory is, the first thing that came to mind was quite odd. I thought of the time I stayed home from school because I was sick and my dad stayed home with me. I remember we had a couch that would pull-out into a bed, so we had the couch pulled out and were sitting on it watching TV. I had chicken noodle soup, my dad by my side, and we were watching our favorite show Family Feud. So now whenever I see Family Feud on the TV, I automatically think of that memory!

  20. oh wow this is well written and the boost I needed as a new blogger, am just finishing my first month and I love learning from the pros, thanks for sharing and many blessings to you.

  21. Congratulations on year 1! I’ve certainly enjoyed your blog journey and being apart of this blogger’s world with you! Your posts are inspiring and thought provoking. I have had the same doubts and tears and exhaustion this year but am looking forward to my year anniversary just around the corner.

    Christmas traditions set forth by my mom are my most nostalgic memories! I can almost hear the sounds and smell the food from childhood on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning…

  22. Congrats on one year of blogging! I’m so glad that you’re going to stick around and that’s fantastic that Steve is coming on to help you out! Blogging is SO much work, but many of us do it because it’s worth it.

    Favorite nostalgic memory? Hmm…I’d probably have to say going to the drive-in. My mom’s friend had a van and they’d lower the back seats so us kids could sit back there and just watch the movies on the huge screen. One of my most favorite books is The Outsiders so drive-in movies always makes me think of that.

    -Lauren

  23. One year is big in blogger land! Congrats! Hm, one of my favorite memories was heading out after Thanksgiving when my son was three months old and getting a christmas tree with him and my husband. It was snowy and we had full tummies and felt so very blessed. It was perfect.

  24. I love the little nod to Rent. That’s one of my favorite Broadway plays and that was a very clever way to make it about your little space here. Blogging is hard work but you seem to have really grown this little space into something spectactular. Keep up the amazing work!!! Cheers to another year and a really good tribe that helps you through. 🙂

  25. HUGE congrats on one year and all you have accomplished! And I’m a huge Rent head so I loved that little shout out to Rent! Anyway, I’ve loved reading your words so much and I’m so happy you have help and will be here to stay!

    My favorite nostalgic memory? Oh man so many – playing at the park as a kid, the first time I saw Cinderella castle at Disney World, dancing with my husband on my wedding day, the minute our son was born and our hearts burst with joy, so many good memories!

  26. 1 year! YAY! Congrats! How exciting is that! I have been only following for a few months through the peaceful posse and I’m glad that I have found you. I love your writing very much – thought provoking and all the feels. It’s great. Keep going!
    As for nostalgia…mmmm…well I’ve been in Mama bear mode taking care of my son who has severe OCD. When my mom used to take care of me, she would take me to McDonald’s to cheer me up. She would park our old red boat of a car in the parking lot and we would toss our french fries out the window and onto the hood of the car. We would watch the seagulls swoop down and snatch them. I’d laugh so hard. My son however, he loves Tim Horton’s donuts. So that’s our jam. I hope he has wonderful memories of us together.
    Again, congrats xoxo

  27. Congratulations on blogging for a year! I always appreciate reading about someone’s real struggles with blogging and the different ideas for how they have gotten some spark back. 🙂

  28. Congratulations on your first year sweetie!!! I have so enjoyed reading your posts throughout the year and feel blessed to call you friend…

  29. Blogging is so much fun! I am glad you stepped back to rethink (I’ve done that) but decided to keep at it <3 Nothing like a break to help us see what is truly important and what it is we really want.

  30. Well, Happy Blogiversary! And look at all you have learned and how much you have taught others, whether purposely or merely by “happy accident.” I have way too many nostalgic memories to share, and they grow in number as I approach my 60th birthday! Most of them center around memories of family gatherings, when my parents were still alive…

  31. Blogging is really a lot of work. Reading this right now I can’t help but wish I had a Steve in my life to help out..Lol

  32. You should be SO proud – what an achievement. Congratulations on your beautiful blog and all the exciting things to come 🙂

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