How do you explain writing? Someone once wrote, "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." It's more than that, though. Writing is like taking a bath after a long day on your feet. It's like taking a breath of fresh air after sitting in a dark room, or coming up for air after being underwater for too long.

It's much like flying, but without the metal walls around you. It's freedom.

You have the power to create and destroy. The Law of Conservation means nothing in the world of words and imagination.

It's also terrifying.

What you love most in the world can leave you doubting yourself, pining for a reality that exists only in your head. You can sit staring at a blank screen for hours, eventually priding yourself on writing a sentence, or even just a word.

You can have this tendency to hoard your work. They're your prized possessions, but you can't help but be shy about them.

This is why I love writing for the Odyssey.

Sure, it can be messy sometimes. HQ can leave something to be desired on occasion, but there's no denying they've built something impressive. It's grown exponentially in just a matter of a few years and has given millions of young writers across the country a platform to find and share their voice.

It's created thousands of communities –– big and small –– that can connect and grow together. Not all are healthy, and there are many that receive undue attention, but there are the diamonds in the rough. They deserve to shine.

My community at SHSU has an executive board consisting of an Editor-in-Chief, two contributing editors, a community health manager, a social outreach specialist, and a social media director. As one of the contributing editors, I have had the privilege of witnessing writers grow in their writing as well as a community.

This incredible group of individuals are diverse in background, walks of life and mindset. We have different views on politics, religion and other areas, but we agree on one thing: We respect each other. We love that we're different, and yet the same. We've bared our souls to each other, and the world, in writing. There's a unique bond that's been created.

I love Odyssey because it gives me the courage to share my writing with the world. It gives me the freedom to spread my wings and try new things. My team lifts each other up, challenges each other to break walls and step outside our comfort zones. We listen to each other when we disagree, and see new perspectives even when we do.

Whatever happens with the online criticism surrounding Odyssey, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.

Between the opportunity to share my writing and this incredible group of human beings, I'm blessed beyond measure to be a part of this family.