So many of you have been here since the birth of Tribe. Some of you have even been around in the days were I was hosting monthly slams on my individual page. If you were present for either let me first start off by saying thank you. It’s been ten months that I’ve been hosting slams and eight months since the birth of Tribe, and I cannot thank you enough for the love and loyalty you continue to show. I receive messages often thanking me for creating such a wonderful community for writers to feel safe and welcome in but in all reality, it’s only as beautiful as YOU make it. Tribe would be nothing without each and every one of you contributing your art into it. I may have bought the car but you all are the gasoline.
When I first thought of creating a blog and having a Tribe of Poets section on it, I knew I wanted to write an in-depth and honest post about the creation of Tribe. What started it, what were its original intentions, and how did we get here today. I know there are some questions about what happened with the other host and I knew i would have to be as open about the not so good parts as well as the amazing parts and I just now have gotten to that place where I felt able to do so. Transparency is still something I struggle with personally but I understand the importance and value of it so I am slowing figuring out be comfortable with being see through.
I created my personal instagram in October of 2016. I had been writing poetry for almost a year prior to that but I had finally gotten the strength to create an account and start sharing my words with others. When I first started posting I was just trying to get used to showing my vulnerabilities. I am a highly guarded person so just getting comfortable with sharing such personal experiences and thoughts took some time. In January of 2017, I stumbled across a poetry challenge hosted by @deepsouldiver and that really got me into the habit of writing new content consistently and pushing myself to write on things I had never written about before. I would advise anyone who has just started their poetry account and is interested in growing their following to participate in one of the many challenges on instagram. Not only do you get a feel for what could eventually become your posting schedule but you also get to meet some great people within the community.
In both January and February (of 2017) I participated in @deepsouldiver’s challenges and in the middle of February I connected with another writer. We exchanged life stories and discovered some similarities and we were both a fan of each other’s work. As March was approaching, we both wanted a new challenge to participate in so we figured why not just host one of our own. We worked out the logistics and decided to host a challenge from our individual accounts, linking them together with the use of hashtags.
I don’t think either of us expected such a response to that first challenge we did. I seriously thought her and I would be the only two participating, but to a welcomed surprise, we had a pretty decent amount of participants. When April rolled around it was no question that we would host another challenge. We were each connecting with some amazing people and even those people were form relationships with one another. It was so surreal and I loved the feeling of bonding with people all over the world simply for our passion of words.
At some point in April, she introduced me to another writer within the community that she had become friendly with and the three of us instantly clicked. Our vibes were similar and the relationships were effortless. Towards the end of April, our new found associate was actually the one to suggest that we create one page to host our challenges to make it easier on us as we now had an even larger amount of challenge participants. We brainstormed for a little awhile (a day or two - honestly, I really think we talked about it and created the page all within the same day) about what else we could do on the page and how we could shine a light on us “little writers” with small followings or on those just starting out on instagram. We talked about where we wanted things to go, would the page be just for hosting slams (challenges), would we do features, interviews, etc.
Fun fact: originally it was supposed to be all three of us that would run the page however right before Tribe launched, it ended up changing, and just being my original challenge co-host. I often think about what Tribe would be like today if all three of us did go into it together and what the differences and similarities would be. Would Tribe even still be going if we stuck to our original plan?
Tribe launched in May of 2017 and boy did it LAUNCH! We had over 1K followers in the first month. That may not seem like a lot of people to gain in a month but individually, she had around 250 followers and I had maybe five hundred so combined we still weren’t at 1K LOL. To watch Tribe grow that first month was a feeling I’ll never forget. I had stopped writing for over 10 years and as I watched Tribe take off and as I immersed myself deeper and deeper into what I love to do, I knew that I had truly found my purpose.
May and June went pretty smooth. There were some hiccups but that was to be expected for two people with no experience of running what was now a full blown community. And let me not forget to say - we were running Tribe on two different continents, with a five hour time difference between us. Talk about difficult! About mid-June, she (and I hate to keep using pronouns but I’m not in the business of putting people’s names on blast. It’s not necessary and it’s tacky so I do apologize) decided she would come to Philly to visit over the 4th of July (America’s Independence Day). Overall the visit went well and it was nice to be finally be able to put a face to a mind I had been working so close with.
This is the part where things kind of go a little left but I will preface it by saying that it is EXTREMELY hard to work closely with another creative mind. While yes, we did have a lot of similarities personality wise, we were still two very different people with two very different styles of writing, different lifestyles, different places in our lives, different work ethics, just different. And that doesn’t make either one of us right or wrong, it just makes our work relationship a little more difficult to manage.
When I look back now, with a clearer mind and understanding, I think we both went into it with the same vision and intention but when Tribe got too big for two different people to manage, added in to real life responsibilities, that’s when I believe things shifted and our visions split. I was ready and willing to invest all of my time and energy into growing Tribe and expanding and building on the community we had created. I had already fallen so deep in love with it and when I’m passionate and care about something, I become very protective of it. I think because she didn’t have that same passion as me anymore, I started to feel like I was being held back. And she had a lot going on in her life at the time that deserved her full time and attention and rightfully so. Real life should always come before social media but that also left me in a very tough position.
Ultimately we decided to part ways and because I was the one that was ready to invest in Tribe, I “kept” it. For those who have asked, no we do not speak to one another. I don’t know what the future holds and if we will ever connect again, but I will say it’s very difficult when you mix a friendship with a work relationship. And while yes, Tribe is supposed to be fun for you guys, it’s work for us on the other side. It’s constantly engaging, commenting, picking features, answering DM’s, posting in the story - it’s work and while it’s something that’s done on my own accord, it still demands what an actual job does. The main difference though is that it’s what I want to do. It’s what I live to do. So while it takes effort, it doesn’t feel like an OBLIGATION. I wake up each day and choose to do this, I choose Tribe, and that’s what fuels every move that I make.
Since July, I’ve been running Tribe by myself. It’s been hectic at times, especially when real life gets complicated, but I’m determined to see Tribe’s reach its maximum potential. During the whole month of December I have been “testing” someone as a possible curator. I know eventually there may come a time where I cannot do it all on my own so I feel as though making connections and trying different things out sooner than later could only help me in the long run.
So what does 2018 look like for Tribe?
Well I know I definitely want to make some changes. When Tribe first started it was a collective creative idea and even through all the transitions, I just stuck to the original plan because it was what I was used to doing. I think I have gotten to a point now where I need a change. I am not a fan of redundancy and I feel like if I remain in this same cycle, nothing will ever grow. If I’m being 100% honest, I don’t feel inspired anymore because I feel like it’s the same thing week after week, month after month, and I fear that if I am feeling that, others are too.
That said, I will share with you that I will be putting monthly slams to rest for right now. I know this will upset some of you and I do apologize for that however I ask that you hear me out. I want to focus more on doing random daily challenges, activities, blog posts, writer/author features, contests, and invite others to use the platform to showcase their art as well. I still have every intention to keep inspiring and motivating you all however I personally feel like I cannot do that when I'm constantly doing the same things. Again, I cannot predict the future and I don’t know if I will bring them back at some point, but for right now I want to start 2018 off with new content and a new vibe.
I hope to see you all participating in the new and improved Tribe page come the new year and I wish you all nothing but love and positivity in 2018.
I have had the opportunity to watch so many of you grow these past eight months, not only as writers but as human beings. Some of the bonds I have formed within the community will last a lifetime and some will not but I’ll be grateful for them all.
In the past, I haven’t always looked forward to a new year and there were times where I didn't even look forward to a new day, but this year is different and I truly believe that it’s because of you Tribers. I can’t thank you enough for what you have taught me and pushed me to do within myself and within our family. And that's exactly how I look you each and every one of - as family.
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love & light,
e l e v e n