Life is very interesting. There's often no way to predict how it will go, sometimes the exact opposite of what you think will happen happens, and sometimes precisely what you planned works out. Something I've learned about life, and from writing for Odyssey, is that there is truly no rhyme or reason at times to why things work out the way they do.
I've always loved writing, but I didn't realize that it is what I would like to do for the rest of my life until my sophomore year of college, when I decided to become an English Literature major. No, it's not the tract that focuses on the actual craft of writing, but it combines a study of some of the greatest writers in the history of the globe with a bit of focus on my own writing. Coupled with my creative writing minor, this has been the perfect field of study for me. It has not only strengthened my writing, but strengthened my understanding of my writing - something that is truly invaluable. For anyone in any field, actually understanding the purpose and the meaning behind what you do is crucial, and for me that understanding has come about through writing about my writing. I know - so much writing, but it has really helped me grow.
When the opportunity to write for Odyssey came about, I was ecstatic. Almost everyone I know has read an Odyssey article at some point (hopefully one of mine!) and I consistently see at least one Odyssey article shared on my news feed daily. It seemed like such an amazing opportunity to work on my writing and to expand my own network of writers and garner a following for myself.
I have been tremendously blessed by this opportunity, and I hope to be a part of Odyssey at least for the remainder of my college experience, but it has been different than I anticipated. Sometimes a last minute article idea that I throw together at the spur of the moment gets shared by a large chunk of my Facebook friends, and sometimes an article I worked really hard on (and is longer and more thought provoking) will not get shared at all. Sometimes, too, this can be a bit of a hit to my self esteem, like I am missing the mark in a huge way. I am so proud of my fellow Odyssey writers who get hundreds of shares every week, but there's no way to predict who will win the esteem of having the most shared article on my team, just like there's not necessarily any way to predict which Odyssey article will gain the most traction site-wide.
While I am definitely learning tips and tricks to getting my article out there and seen by the world, sometimes despite my best efforts they are only seen by a handful of people. I'm learning that that's okay - it doesn't mean I'm a bad writer - but that I can also improve how I personally choose to get my articles out there. Writing for Odyssey has been one huge learning curve, and sometimes it can be a little tricky, but I'm getting there. I'm not sure I know where "there" is (100 shares? 500? 5,000?) but I'm trying. I'm writing about what interests me and what concerns those around me, so I'm pleased. Although it can feel like a high school popularity contest sometimes, that doesn't mean I'm always losing. I've learned that sometimes life can feel like a popularity contest, but that's not always a bad thing. In the case of my writing, hopefully it will help me write better, develop better strategies for getting my work out into the world, and ultimately have a bit more fun in the process.
I might not be winning the popularity contest today, but who can predict tomorrow?