Three years ago today, this baby blog was born. Ready for an uber-cliche stroll down memory lane? Excellent, take my digi-hand... It was the summer of 2010 and I was living my childhood dream. I was in New York - interning with MTV and living with my best bear Hillary. We were 20/21 years young, and the city was our neon-lit oyster.
On the first day of my internship, I used my lunch break to write my first ever blog post. I had created Little Bear in the Big Apple on Blogspot (anybody remember that website?) to chronicle all the adventures I was sure to have that summer with my best friend in the best city. Had someone told me back then that three years later I'd have so many loving fans and followers, I would've probably laughed in their face and asked if they took their crazy pills for the day. I really had no idea that this blog would become a means for tracking my professional and personal progress in life.
Of course, I was no stranger to online writing. I had plenty of experience sharing the trails and tribulations of teenage life on my LiveJournal and Xanga, but somehow this felt different. Something about taking that first step into what I hoped would be the rest of my life felt more important, more real. Anyways, that summer was filled with posts about all the fun and exciting things I was doing in Manhattan. Most of it was silly and frivolous, almost all of it was poorly written, but it's been a blast to be able to go back and relive all those wonderful memories. As the summer came to an end and I prepared to leave the city and head back to Miami for my senior year of undergrad, I wrote a tear-inducing ode to New York City, promising that Summer 2010 was just the trailer to the feature film - that I would be back for this glorious city and all that it has to offer. I think deep down I knew that not only did I have unfinished business in terms of exploring the city, but I had unfinished business in writing about it.
So I packed up my bags and moved out of my little dorm in the Lower East Side. Changed my blog name to Little Bear Big World and decided to at least try to keep up with the writing.
But of course, the madness of first semester senior year ate me alive (I was taking 6 graduate level classes and working an internship for PADI) and the fall of 2010 saw a few really awful posts. We rang in the new year, and I made it my resolution to be better with my blog. And in 2011 I finally hit my stride.
In March I finally bought my own doman (yes, this domain) and squeed with joy about finally owning my own dot com. It was a really big step for me. I was making a serious commitment to my blog, deciding that this shit is for life and finally recognizing that maybe I wasn't as bad at blogging as I had originally thought.
I started experimenting with categories, themes, weekly series, and so much more. For those of you who have been here from the very start, remember Friday Favorites? I do. Those were silly. Thanks for tolerating that. BUT my Friday Favorites posts did lay the groundwork for what I now call my Bear Picks (and the seasonal Summer of Noms) - a series I absolutely love writing!
You see, I began to realize that for my writing to evolve, I needed to put in the work and the time to play around. I needed to take those baby steps with a post or two about my favorite things, or the tips and tricks that keep me sane (mental health posts), or all the great things I was learning as I moved forward with my career (industry hump posts). In order for me to grow as a blogger, I needed to write those not-so-great posts and learn from those mistakes. And I'm still making mistakes! And I'm definitely still growing!
But I'm incredibly proud of how far I've come in these last three years and I am so grateful for all of you. You guys, my readers, are the fucking best. I cannot thank you enough for all your love and support over the years. I only hope that I have given back even 10% of all that you have given me.
As a mini celebration for my blog's birthday, I want to leave you with a list of some MY favorite posts and why I loved them so gosh darn much.... And also this excellent photo of me wearing an Elmo party hat.... You're welcome.
I was going back through my archives, and I came across this post: An Early Morning Epiphany. And it brought literal tears to my eyes. I think it was one of the first times that I had allowed myself to be completely raw and naked on my blog. It's a post filled with so much emotion and so much of my voice, and it was a HUGE step for me in terms of my writing. Up until that point, I had always tried to steer clear of journal-type entries. I tried to keep it professional and unbiased, the way my journalism training had taught me. But in this post, I finally felt like my voice was coming out. And you guys LOVED it and encouraged me to write more stuff like this. So I did. I wrote posts like Someone Always Has It Worse (inspired by a dear friend and her tragic dating history), Have a Good Day Today (an ode to the man at the 175th St subway terminal), and my entire 31 Days to a Happy Place series (which was hard, but SO MUCH FUN).
Then, last October, after I attended the first ever Blogcademy event, I started a new series called Industry Hump. It was an attempt to share with you all the little things I was learning as I started to realize that I wanted to pursue a career as a solopreneur. I wrote posts about my Mighty Editorial Calendar, Common Blogging Mistakes, and SEO Secrets. And suddenly, my little baby blog was blowing up. I was so flattered and overwhelmed by the number of people commenting, sharing, and linking to these posts. I can't thank you guys enough for the support you showed me in the early stages of Industry Hump. Those kind words and that encouragement is what propelled me to launch my own business in digital strategy and copywriting and even contribute a chapter on Marketing Foreplay to an eBook! You guys showed me that maybe I do know a thing or two about a thing or two. And for that, I am ETERNALLY grateful.
I closed out 2012 feeling really fantastic about my life and career choices. In January, I went on a weekend trip with all my girlfriends as a pre-celebration for my birthday and made it my mission to take some really stellar photos. That trip and the subsequent blog post brought me back to my blogger roots. I remembered why I started writing - because of my love for traveling and experiencing new places and things. So I decided to introduce an all new series (Wanderlust) chronicling my adventures both inside and outside New York. One of my favorite posts in that category so far has been A Tourist in My Own City (showcasing some of my favorite spots downtown).
I'm excited to continue writing in these categories and I'm THRILLED that you're all here with me on this exciting journey. As always, if you have any comments or suggestions, please drop them below!
Thanks so much for being a part of Little Bear Big World. Seriously. You guys are the best.
Sending you all the love in my heart, xx Nikbear