I thought I was finding inspiration for my Odyssey articles from real life. After all, isn't that the point? Most of the time, we write about what we are passionate about and what ignites a fire of enthusiasm in us rather than subjects linked to our own experiences. However, I have received feedback from someone close to me that these articles are becoming "too personal".
I personally think that I have social media to thank for this. Before joining the Odyssey, I had no interest in it. Since joining last year, I have used it to self-promote. However, a certain follower I know in real life got angry at me for writing a few articles. As a result, I omitted the sharing step. I used my Twitter for more than self-promotion during the stagnation and used it to make some opinion statements, which went, for the most part, ignored (I am nobody, who are you?) because of my small following. (Facebook is out of the question because this certain follower is more active there.) Again, I was accused of using social media as a "personal diary"...even though I do not really post my whole life story, but instead, just share what has inspired me in my life. I was told I was being "two-faced", though it normal to have a "social media persona". Upon further self-reflection, I realized that if anything has been treated like a "personal diary", it has been this platform. Today I break the fourth wall.
1. I Know Someone Is Watching
I know these articles are public, though, I do not care what the public thinks. As long as I have no bad intention, I am not harming anyone by writing my opinions, and it does not end up with someone trying to ruin my life and career before it really has begun over a disagreement, it is okay if readers do not agree with my opinions or do not like my writing. Most of the time, I will not know how people are feeling about my articles and if they do not like them, they can find something else by someone else to read. However, I do care what my best friend thinks. If he is upset by something I write and post, it is a cause for concern considering this has resulted in fights and threats of damaging our relationship. I had emotional ups and downs when it came to accepting the transformation of our friendship into something else and that prompted a few articles which he disliked. One made him question if I even loved him, even one with a more positive outlook on relationships and marriage got him thinking that his every effort to change my outlook was failing.
So to the man of my life who hates my posts: No, I am not using Twitter as my "personal diary", I am making up original quotes inspired by my reflection of real-life events. You just so happened to be there too! You just so happened to have heard my opinion first! Just how does that make me "two-faced" or "hypocritical"? How does that mean that your "efforts to give me a better outlook are failing", or that I "don't care at all" for you, or that I "need professional help"? This could be a rant article of its own, but I have decided to turn a new leaf, first of all, and second of all, you would not be happy if you laid your eyes on it.
Forget the "Twitter thought police", boyfriends can be just as bad.
2. Odds Are, No One Cares
I once read a quote that said, "Never tell anyone about your problems because 95% of people will not care and 5% of people are happy you have them." It is often the case that people are generally more excited to tell their own life story than to read another's. Whether interesting, inspiring, adventurous or not, even biographies are typically judged by their cover as "boring".
When reading others' Odyssey articles about personal experiences, there are some that interest me and others that do not. As a matter of fact, that is where I got the idea of drawing inspiration from real life. Everybody else seems to be doing it. When I need inspiration for a mandatory weekly article, and I need it quickly, is there an easier way to find material than from real life?
I hope this can provide an interesting story to read, a moment of catharsis, or a lesson learned, but then again, maybe nobody cares. Perhaps I just need better content than what is most easily available.
3. I Want To Go Against The Flow
According to the "wise guys", I assume everyone else is doing it wrong. If everyone else is doing it, it is possibly a bad idea. (Emphasis on "possibly". I do not mean to say that whenever everyone else doing something that necessarily means it is wrong. That is a logical fallacy.) Ergo, just because everyone else writes about personal experience does not mean it should be the way for me. Besides, if all the articles look too similar, it will not grab the attention of readers. Why do something "overdone"?
4. What I Write Could Be In The Wrong
Ideas have consequences so the responsibility that I have as a writer and potential influencer weighs down on me sometimes. I think, what is the quality of my content? How is it going to affect someone? Is it for the better? Have I been too cynical, sounded too angry in such-and-such article, or condescending? Was the event resulting in inspiration too fresh in mind that it was not properly reflected on? What is my reader gaining from reading about a life event of mine? Insight? Advice? Or was it just a last-minute idea with no real substance or benefit to another's mind passing as content? Who needs to know about my life? Nobody.
5. The Embarrassment Factor
Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time. I felt so inspired but, looking back, it was not my best article. Did I really need to write this story for the world to read? Who knows, maybe I will regret writing an article based on an absolutely true story that I think is hilarious but my friends and family will not think so. I am aware that family is brought up a lot in these articles and not always in a positive light. Though we are all strangers to you readers, if they lay their eyes on my articles, they will care. I know my guy did. Whether or not I used his name or spelled it differently (It is a common name anyway!), he knew the story was also about him. After all, he was there too!
I must consider the "Golden Rule". Would I like it if one of my own friends or family members was writing articles involving me, posting them for the world to read? Like...dun dun dun, that "family newspaper" where my sister wrote about that silly old compulsion of mine and read it to the camera for posterity to know that whenever I got stressed I -- okay, I get it! Lesson learned.
I know, it is ironic that in an article about why I plan on quitting the habit of writing personal stories on here, I involved a personal story. It is by these experiences where lessons are learned, reflections are made on life, and when you think you have something wise or funny to say, it is human to want to share it. It is also human to make an error in judgment or to misunderstand someone else's point. Is this really the end of personal content for me? Resolutions are meant to be broken, but after last Saturday's fiasco, I am looking for another muse.