"It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style." — P.D. James
I'm no longer writing for Odyssey, and so, I wanted to reflect and write about the things I've learned during my time on this platform. This was also my first year writing public articles and having them published for people to actually search for and see on the internet. I feel like I've grown a lot over the past year, and I honestly owe it to my wonderful writing team at my University as well as Odyssey for guiding me through this experience and giving my writing a chance to grow. For any new writers looking for what writing has to offer, here are five things I've learned as a writer through Odyssey:
1. Write every article idea down.
I know this one is kind of a no-brainer, but it's something that I've learned in my time being on Odyssey. A lot of the time, I wrote my articles last minute because I never really knew what to write about. I would have so many ideas throughout the week and forget to write them down; by the time I needed to start writing, all of my ideas left me scrambling for one. If anyone who's reading this is new to writing for Odyssey, or new to writing articles in general, please for the love of everything that is good and green in this world, make a list of ideas (even if you think they're bad) because you never know what could inspire your writing.
2. Writing takes practice.
I've only been writing articles for about a year and I am still trying to get my bearings on the formatting and knowing what audience I want to attract. However, I can definitely say that my writing has grown at least a little bit in the span of a year on this platform. As frustrating as it was (and still is) to figure out this new method of writing, I'm grateful to have this exposure and experience in something I've always wanted to try. Just like any activity, practicing writing takes more and more practice; failure is what helps us grow in what we want to achieve. "The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying." ― Roy T. Bennett
3. It’s okay to get ideas from other peoples’ writing.
I used to get so bummed out and put myself down because I felt like everyone else around me had these amazing articles and I didn't. I had this notion in my head that I had to come up with exclusively original content and I couldn't leech off of anyone else. While this is true to a degree, brainstorming and getting a feel for what's out there is totally okay; what isn't okay is copying exactly what someone wrote in their article and not giving credit or acknowledging it in some way. Brainstorming is essential for coming up with ideas and content, especially if you have writer's block, which is something I get quite frequently. Don't be afraid to just scroll through and read some articles about things that seem fun and interesting to you, even if you think you won't do a good job writing about it (you'll never know unless you try).
4. Don’t be intimidated by other peoples’ writing.
This is something I struggled with almost the whole year I've been on Odyssey; along with thinking I had to come up with exclusively original content, I had this other notion in my head that my writing needed to be just as good as, and even better than, those around me. I felt like I was writing to get a large number of views and at some point I started to lose my interest in writing. I found ways to remind myself that I am still growing in my writing, especially in this format of writing content. I found inspiration through reading short stories, quotes, and articles and eventually just let my thoughts spill out onto paper. Remember that your writing has purpose and potential to grow, and don't compare your abilities to that of another person who has probably had more experience. You grow by gaining experience, so keep doing your best and you will always write your best!
5. I’ll always be thankful for the opportunities Odyssey has given me.
I will no longer be writing on Odyssey, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the opportunities this platform has given me. I know that without Odyssey, as well as my wonderful and amazing writing team at my University, I would not be practicing or publishing my writing like I am now. I am very thankful for the ways my writing has been stretched and exercised in different aspects such as writing for an actual public audience, and writing different topics and genres.