When I Questioned My Abilities As A Writer

When I Questioned My Abilities As A Writer

I could not find the words, but then the words found me.
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When people used to ask me about my favorite subject in school, english was always at the top of my list. I sat through years and years of english classes, listening attentively to my teachers and classmates, reading endless stacks of books, and then taking everything that I heard, saw, and learned, and pouring it into my writing. My writing. It was how I expressed myself. It was how I showed my teachers that I listened, even when I sat there and refused to speak. And ultimately, they heard me loud and clear.

Although my writing matured as I attempted to analyze and question some of the greatest works of literature, such as Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" or F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," where I found the most joy was in creative writing. I loved to tell stories and write poetry. I loved possessing the freedom to choose whether my work would be true or imaginary, whether or not I based the story on real feelings and circumstances or something completely made up.

My passion continued throughout high school, but when I went off to college, I yearned to express myself through creative writing like I once did in english class. Then I found out that my school had an Odyssey community for which I could write, so I decided to apply. I soon realized, however, that while obtaining the position of 'Content Creator' was easy, actually creating the content proved much more difficult than I had originally expected.

I started out writing about all sorts of general things: my hometown, my high school, my college experience. Topics that I thought would be relatable to people, that I thought were interesting and captivating. But as time went on, I began stumbling upon some other extremely well-written, engrossing, and interesting Odyssey articles. From sharing personal stories about losing yourself in college to articulating why the younger generation needs to start dating again, just to name a few, these other content creators wrote articles far more interesting and captivating than anything I could ever dream of writing. And while I wished so desperately for them to spark my own creative thinking, instead, it completely derailed.

I racked my brain searching for something, anything to write about. But the pressure to live up to the standards of these other articles, of these other people, was too great. My mind went numb. I stared at the blank white screen with it's blinking cursor, feeling hopeless. I did not possess any strong passion for a specific cause and I did not experience anything in life that seemed worth writing about.

I simply could not find the words. So I just stopped writing.

I gave up on ideas before I even got past the first few lines. I created and deleted numerous drafts of articles. I didn't even try to make my deadlines because I knew that they would inevitably be missed. The only semi-productive thing I could come up with to do was to go back through my old high school assignments and see if anything was worth publishing. So I dug out my old Macbook Pro and began to sift through various documents until I found the folder labeled 'English'. And as I read the words of those seemingly ancient stories and poems, I remembered why I fell in love with writing in the first place.

It wasn't to compare my work to others, and it wasn't to fit a certain mold. I fell in love with writing because through writing, I can create anything that I want to create. I can express myself in more ways than my spoken word knows how, and I can find the courage to articulate my innermost thoughts and beliefs in such ways that they can be understood. I can portray parts of my life that relate to other people to remind them that they're not alone, and in doing so, I hope that I am making even the smallest of differences.



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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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