I remember the first time I read an Odyssey article. It was a letter a girl wrote to her parents, thanking them for everything they did for her. It made me think of my own parents and how I could relate to what she was saying so well.
After reading that, I was hooked on Odyssey articles.
I read numerous articles about relationships and life experiences. I admired these young writers who were pouring their hearts out and letting their inner thoughts be published. I loved how each piece was so relatable and real. I felt that I could connect with these writers, even though I didn't know them.
This connection ultimately led me to become a content creator on Odyssey. I wanted to produce content that was relatable and that others could connect with.
For me, it's never been about being the best writer but rather, trying to reach people who feel they are going through life alone.
After my first article went live, it was strange to think that so many people had access to read it. It was out there for everyone to see. But once I got over the initial weirdness of it all, I became comfortable with the idea of strangers, family and friends reading my work.
I never thought people would pay attention to my work, let alone read it.
I was wrong though because people were reading my work. I watched my page views skyrocket on many pieces that I never thought would get attention. I saw people's comments about how they could relate to what I wrote about, and it was the best feeling. Knowing that people could relate to me meant that I'd achieved my goal.
It was my reason for writing.
I can't lie and say I always received positive feedback on my articles. There were a few pieces that fell prey to the internet trolls who ripped my work up and told me I didn't know anything. (Internet trolls are people who have nothing else better to do than read Odyssey articles all day and leave ugly comments.) I cringed as I read the rude, even downright nasty, comments people made just because they didn't agree with me.
I realized that their words didn't really mean anything to me because they weren't the audience I was trying to reach.
I wanted to reach the girl or guy who needed something funny to read that day. I wanted to reach the girl who was having a bad day or the guy who needed a glimpse into the mind of a girl. I wanted to help people see that everyone goes through the same things. I wanted my readers to see that you can make it out of the dark tunnel.
At first, I wrote for me and used it as my outlet. It was a way to relieve stress and take my mind off my worries.
I don't write for me anymore.
I write for everyone who doesn't want to or can't write what they are thinking. I am one of the many Odyssey voices who want to reach out and connect with others.
Writing on Odyssey has helped me to see that there is more to life than just writing for yourself. It's easy to get wrapped up in wanting page views and getting people to share your article on Facebook.
But in the end, it's about the impact your words make on someone.