Something that I will never understand is why people have to be so negative when they're online. As a writer on Odyssey, it's hard to see some of the comments that people leave on articles or on Odyssey's Facebook page. From people tearing down writers who are vulnerable enough to openly share their opinions to people downright attacking Odyssey's brand, I'm here to say that I am a writer for the Odyssey and I am proud of it.
When I first joined Odyssey, I had no idea what was in store for me. I didn't know much about the company besides the fact that I see their articles circulate on my Facebook feed. But I can say that my experience writing on Odyssey has only been positive. I have grown as a writer and have learned how to communicate, work and collaborate in a professional manner. It has taught me discipline and has encouraged me to support and value others' viewpoints.
One of the most rewarding things about Odyssey is my position. I serve as the current editor-in-chief for my community (James Madison University) and get to help each and every one of my creators establish identities and learn all the things that I did as a content creator. I learned the importance of packaging articles and get to work one-on-one with professionals who help me whenever I need or want to.
I've found writing on Odyssey a very rewarding experience, so it puzzles me why people have to be so cruel and quick to bash my fellow Odyssey creators. One criticism I see a lot online is that Odyssey doesn't pay its users, but this isn't entirely true. We don't receive a payment for every article we post online, but if an article goes viral, the author is eligible for that article's ad revenue. After all, rewards should be earned, shouldn't they? Like most student writers, I don't write for money. I write because it is something that I love to do and I want to share my passion with the rest of the world.
(But for the record, I have gotten paid for some of my work, which helps motivate me to keep making my work better.)
Sharing your values and opinions openly isn't always the easiest thing to do. It's people like you who make us scared to do what we love. But you know what? It's also people like you who inspire us to keep doing it. Our goal is to spark conversation. There will never be a day where everyone on this planet agrees with one another and that is OK.
We are here to share our thoughts despite that.
We write so that others out there to know that they're not alone.
We write so that even if people don't agree with us, they can still see our work and form an opinion.
We write so that we can decompress.
We write so that we can prepare for a professional career and learn the skills that it takes to grow as a writer.
We are all human and we all have our own opinions. As a writer, I have learned to take things I don't agree with and write a professional response to it. Now, I don't know if that's just me, but it sounds much more intellectual than leaving a comment on Facebook stereotyping those of us who choose to write and shaming a company for sharing our work.
Odyssey is a great way to sharpen your writing skills and grow. My community has deadlines, meetings, rules, and expectations. We don't just scribble words into a text box and click post. I edit articles and the members of my community have to make revisions. It's not easy but it is so rewarding. It's an opportunity for our writing to be seen and for many of us, it's the start of making a name for ourselves. To be an Odyssey creator, you have to be open-minded and accepting of criticism. You have to be disciplined and committed to putting yourself out there, which is why it's so amazing to me that people try to put us down for what we do.
But hey, at the end of it all, one of our biggest goals is to gain as many people talking as possible. Whether you love our articles or hate them, your snarky comments make it clear that you've at least viewed our article, so thank you for adding to the conversation.
If you're still feeling so negative toward Odyssey and the people who create the content you see, I hope you're able to grow and find something that you are passionate about, just as I am about writing. I challenge you to expand your mind and become a more accepting individual and understand that people will never agree — instead of bashing people who choose to be vulnerable, congratulate them for putting themselves out there. Odyssey has taught me to support my community and everyone who writes chooses to write, whether I agree with their words or not. I hope you can learn to do the same.