Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday to You, Blog!

Last year, I celebrated this blog's second birthday by writing a letter to my 2011 self. This year - today, in fact! - marks my blog's third birthday and I decided to write up a little post that takes you on a journey of where I've been for the last three years, where I am now, and where I'd like to be in three more years (when I'm 28, which is a scary thought). So if you would, join me as I celebrate the only baby that I have: Just About Write. Bust out those confetti canons and the birthday cake, because we're about to have some fun!

When I started this blog (once called A Still and Quiet Conscience) back in 2011, I thought it would be sort of like an accountability blog. I had just recently graduated from college in May of that year with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and I was ready to take on the working world... at a job that utterly bored me on the best days and stressed me out on the worst. I'm still at this job and a part of me is blessed because of it -- blessed that I work with pretty great people who I call friends and blessed that my job allows me access to the Internet and uploading blog posts whenever I like. (See: silver lining!) Upon graduating, I decided that I needed to start a blog just for the sake of being able to say that I was putting my degree to good use. I started a blog and then quickly fell away from it because of writer's block and effort and time. The next time I vowed to start a blog, it stuck.

I had decided to start a new blog fairly close to the time fall television was coming back around. And, having marathoned seasons 1 and 2 of Community before the third season aired, the timing worked out perfectly. I was going to write episodic reviews of Community, my favorite show at the time. In fact, my goal was pretty simple. These are the very first lines of my post:
Welcome to my new blog-review of NBC's hit show Community. I feel like I should preface this blog by explaining who I am and who I am not. First of all, I am not affiliated with NBC, Community, Dan Harmon, or the writers in any way. I am a 22-year old recent college graduate with a degree in English (special emphasis in Creative Writing) who is working as a writer/researcher for a company in Orlando, Florida. I am a huge fan of this show, and decided that writing weekly reviews of the episodes could potentially be beneficial to me (so that I remember little nuances that may recur throughout the season) and to you, my lovely devoted readers... of whom there are probably very few right now.
And with those words, my blogging life changed forever. I never even thought I would make it half-way through the season in these reviews. I thought I would be lucky if anyone other than Jaime and I READ those reviews. And I certainly never presumed that Dan Harmon would read the one I posted on September 30, 2011 and literally change the trajectory of this blog forever. I have a lot of problems with the way Community is at this very moment. That's no real surprise to any of you, I think. I have issues with the way the characters are written, with the lack of female writers on staff, with the lack of any real and lasting character change/progression. etc. No show is perfect and the moment you believe it to be is the moment you become blinded.

Even though I have issues with Dan Harmon and how he runs his show, I would be absurd to not thank him and credit him hugely with the success of this endeavor. Not only did he drive massive traffic to this blog through his Twitter, but that tweet became the encouragement that I needed in order to persevere and continue writing these reviews each week. Really, THAT is what Harmon gets the most credit for. Yes, the traffic was lovely (still remains #10 on my top ten most-viewed posts of all time) and yes, I really did love getting the chance to meet a lot of people via Twitter because of his response. But the reason Harmon's tweet will hold a special place in my heart forever is because it essentially said: "You're talented. Don't stop writing."

So I didn't.

I reviewed the entire season three of Community, which - as we all are well aware - was tumultuous when the show was pulled from the schedule. During that bleak hiatus, I scheduled re-watches of episodes, starting with the pilot. We live-tweeted the series each week and I wrote reviews of seasons one and two. Eventually, I finished the season and then picked up re-watch reviews where we had left off during the summer months. I found myself losing momentum around the summer of 2012 -- with no Community episodes left to review, I wondered if the blog would ever be anything OTHER than a place to discuss the television show. I wanted to expand it, but wasn't sure quite how to do that yet. So I wrote posts about my travels to Italy, the Emmys, and Doctor Who.

Eventually, I started feeling more comfortable writing non-Community specific posts. I reviewed Taylor Swift's "RED" album. I did some more personal posts. I started engaging with my audience and posting more thinkpieces than anything else. I realized that I had a following -- it was small at the time, but loyal -- and wanted to write things they wanted to read. At the end of the year, I became engrossed in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and began to write more pieces about the webseries. (December of 2012 was also when I wrote my first ever "Jenn's Pick" post whaaaaat.) I always wanted this blog to be more than Community-centric, honestly.

And in 2012, I was beginning to find my footing as a regular blogger: I wrote about The Big Bang Theory and Les Miserables and did a character appreciation post (the first one ever) in January of 2013 for the awesome Winston Bishop. 2013 was actually a pretty spectacular year for me in terms of blogging. That was the year I began to dissect Nick/Jess vs. Jeff/Annie. It was the year I said goodbye to Lizzie Bennet and her friends (and earned beautiful and lovely tweets and retweets from nearly every member of the cast). It was the year I begin to fall a little out of love with Community and a lot in love with New Girl. It was the year I wrote a post about Suits' Donna Paulsen that earned a retweet from Sarah Rafferty herself.

By the summer of 2013, I was finding my stride with my "Jenn's Pick" posts. I was writing more and more about characterization, about fandom, and about an array of television shows. I was starting to think about television critically, to be honest. When I began the blog in 2011, I wrote it from the perspective of a fan, recapping the plot of that week's Community, and fangirling. And there wasn't anything inherently WRONG with that, necessarily, but... I wanted more. I wanted to REALLY write -- to draw parallels and think about plot and characterization rather than simply flail at a shipper moment. And I found that when I began to think like this, I wasn't blinded anymore to the flaws of a television show. I knew Community was imperfect. I had idolized it for so many years, blind to the character and writing flaws because I just WANTED to be and because everyone else seemingly was.

When I decided to start reviewing New Girl regularly, I found that I began acquiring new friends from a new fandom. It was great to be able to apply my in-depth analyses of characters and plot with another show. And, in turn, I gained some new friends and fans because of my character-focused writing. And then 2014 happened. Let's see if I can note all that I have done since January:

- weekly Community reviews
- weekly New Girl reviews
- weekly Suits reviews
- Jeff/Annie and their complexities
- Enlisted
- weekly The Crazy Ones reviews
- the series finale of How I Met Your Mother
- character and writing-related studies on tropes/females in comedy/etc.
- Pretty Little Liars
- If I Stay, The Fault in Our Stars, YA novels
- LeakyCon 2014
- character study on Felicity Smoak of Arrow
- a swanky new HTML layout & Twitter account

And truly, LeakyCon was one of the biggest highlights of this past year, if not the biggest. It was amazing to be able to experience a local convention, meet great people and bloggers (as well as Twitter friends in person!) and also spend time discussing/listening to discussions about television, culture, and characters. I would have never presumed that I would have the opportunity to attend a convention as press. And though I didn't get approved for San Diego Comic-Con, I think it was for the best (this year at least). I could have never imagined that three years ago, I would have the opportunity to sit around a table with the Emma Approved cast and interview them about their series or that I would be in the same room as John Green.

Now, Just About Write is home to Community, New Girl, Arrow, Suits, The Crazy Ones, and Once Upon A Time reviews. But my third year of blogging existence has brought another change -- a new face around the blog! Much like Oliver Queen's speech to Felicity about how he was going to be a vigilante alone before she and Dig came along, I've always done blogging by myself on this site. Nearly all of the 250 blog posts you read are written and edited by me and me alone. Until recently, that is. That's where Ann comes in. I met Ann via Tumblr and her comments on this website. I read her meta and was fascinated with how much she cared about and understood The Mindy Project. She wrote about that show and understood the characters so much that it reminded me of my own blog posts.

So, just recently, I brought Ann aboard to write weekly reviews of The Mindy Project. I could not have anticipated this three years ago. I didn't think that this website would exist for three months, let alone YEARS and that I would have others "on staff," as it were, to help write. And I am so extremely grateful for the people I've met through this blog, the relationships that have already formed, and those that will form because of it, not just with celebrities, but with readers and fellow bloggers. I am blessed, dear friends, to have been able to do this for three years already. What am I looking forward to in my third year of blogging life (and beyond)? What are my goals for this blog and my writing career?

I would love to accomplish the following:

- Attend GeekyCon 2015 as press and, eventually, either SDCC or NYCC
- Have the opportunity to interview at least three more television casts/writers
- Have the ability to expand and "hire" writers for the site -- intelligent meta critic fans on Tumblr, Twitter, etc. Be able to somehow reward or pay them beyond a byline.
- Expand the blog to include even more television shows, movies, and books
- Gain at least 300 followers on Twitter and hit 500,000 page views
- Become a member of the BTJA
- Print out and distribute my own business cards
- Continue to watch television critically and extend my reach/scope of TV viewing

Guys, I cannot adequately express to you all how MUCH your love, support, comments, tweets, and well-wishes have meant to me over the years. Many of you have gone from becoming just readers to friends and some of my biggest cheerleaders. Thank you, especially, to the following people:

- Jaime Joan Poland: You are my biggest fan forever and always, and I love you dearly. Thank you for being my first fan and for always being there for me. I LOVE YOU, HIMAY.
- Stephanie, Carly, Clinton, Maggie, Mark, Shawn, Charles, Mindy, Sage, Kim, Kelly, Laura, Shannon(s), Mary, Taylah, Ann, Brittles, Delmy, Sarah, Audrey, Bethany, Claudia, Chelsea, John, Emmy, Julieta, Beth, Leah, Michelle, Deena, Masarath, Emily Cat, etc. etc. etc. for ALL your support over the years. You guys are truly some of the finest people I know. (And I apologize if I left you off this list! Know that you are appreciated as well.)
- The Community, Suits, New Girl, and Arrow fandoms for welcoming me and my posts with open arms. You all are the best.
- Yvette Nicole Brown, Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Wolk, Megan Ganz, Dan Harmon, the cast of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Alan Sepinwall, Aaron Korsh, Sarah Rafferty, Mike Royce, Kevin Biegel, the Enlisted writers, Amber Carrington, etc. for reading and promoting my posts. Thank you all SO much for sharing and for changing my writing life for the better.

Today I celebrate three years of growth, of learning, of struggling and succeeding. I celebrate three years of writing about what I love and learning to watch television in a whole new way. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me, and I cannot wait to venture into the unknown with you all by my side.

Until then, folks. :)

1 comment:

  1. It provides information and large data about some new critical component of style and trends. i'm very interested in your article thank you for sharing us. Topcelebsjackets