Sometimes change is good. Back in December, I decided to step away from the keyboard and go on a blogging hiatus. The pressures of creating content, growing a following, and serving a community that I believed wasn’t always supportive of my project left me completely and utterly drained, clouded, and uninspired. After blogging for nearly four years, I was at my wits end and even the encouragement of my family and close friends to keep going could not deter me from my decision to throw in the towel. I was over writing and I wanted to give up. The stresses associated with blogging started negatively impacting other areas of my life. But sometimes when we feel like calling it quits, we have to remember why we started in the first place. I had the opportunity to do some reflecting during my hiatus.
In 2012, while I was working as a freelance editorial assistant and writer, I decided to launch Meet Me Uptown as a way to simply keep my writing fresh and have complete control over my voice. I didn’t want my voice and my thoughts to be concealed at the discretion of another editor. Creating an online platform from scratch was something completely foreign to me, but I taught myself several things through trial and error. When I first started I knew that I had to zero in on what it was that I wanted to write about. At first, I thought that it would be a good idea to have a blog that featured reviews of dope Harlem restaurants since the neighborhood was in the midst of a culinary renaissance. But my freelance finances told me to have several seats. Then I decided that I would write about bunch of different topics but it would be through the lens of a “Harlem girl” (that’s why my first batch of blog posts from 2012 were random AF) but that idea proved to be too broad.
After ditching those two ideas, I saw the need for an online platform that catered specifically to the Harlem community. Harlem had been hit by the wrath of gentrification and the community that I grew up in and that my great grandparents migrated to from the South back in the 1940s was changing rapidly. There were a few other Harlem blogs out there, but none of them were through the eyes of a millennial that was born and bred in the neighborhood. I decided to utilize my platform as an ode to the community that has shaped me into the woman that I am today. A project that I started to keep my writing fresh quickly evolved into something bigger than me. Although at first the road was super exciting and fulfilling, the downsides of blogging took its toll. Failed collaborations with other Harlem platforms, denied interview requests from up and coming Harlem artists, being inundated with “can you cover this for free?” requests from businesses and individuals even if they had nothing to do with Harlem *sighs*, and people who doubted my vision had me thinking that this blogging life was wack AF. However, I realized that I didn’t create my blog for those people. I created it to capture the essence of a community that I hold so near and dear to my heart.
Harlem is in my DNA and I will forever be indebted to my community. Returning to the neighborhood, seeing familiar faces, and walking through nostalgic streets makes me feel filled. This platform has for the most part been a one-woman show and though I’ve hit so many roadblocks, I could never turn my back on Harlem. Instead of giving up on this blog, I’ve decided to revive it; giving birth to The Uptown Scoop. Join me on this new journey as I delve deeper into the stories that make up the fabric of such a historic and cultured community!
The Uptown Scoop