When I applied to write for Odyssey I wrote on my request to join the team, "I want to write for the Odyssey because I like to read the things the Odyssey puts out and I want a part of that." Simply put, I wanted to write the things that I liked to read. I was interested in what I was writing. Then something happened. I got over a thousand views on an article. And from that moment on I had been trying to do it again. Since about March, I've been discouraged. I haven't wanted to write and I've been trying too hard. I've been searching for the reasons I started this in the first place.
Trying too hard, of course, left me unsuccessful because I was writing to please others. I had no real interest in what I was writing. I was writing it because my topics were what I thought other people wanted to read. Turns out it wasn't. In addition, I had no desire to promote them. That lead me to discouragement and I stopped caring.
Way back at the end of June was the peak of my discouragement. I was desperate. I remember telling someone "Why do I even write anymore? All I want is a viral article." Then I saw the tweet, and it changed everything. It was a tweet by someone I am incredibly inspired by, Jon Cozart, a 24-year-old, professional YouTuber, best known for his acapella covers and parodies. It said, "My goal is to be more interested in what I create rather than what that creation will get me." The reality is I want the exact same thing.
Reading that tweet hit me hard, and it occurred to me that I wasn't writing for the right reasons. My original goal of writing things that I wanted to read was gone and my goals had shifted from "I love this" to "well, let's get it out of the way then."
I had been obsessing over reading how to write the perfect headline. I had spent hours analyzing people's cover photos. Deep down though, I knew that none of that would ever matter if my content didn't support it. So when I read that tweet, it changed the way I wrote. I realized I needed to stop writing for the page views because the one article that I had that got over a thousand views (1,200, to be exact) was about ballet, something that I am extremely passionate about. It was something that I would click on, something I would read, and probably something I would share.
I think the biggest realization that I've had in this whole process is that the creative process cannot and will not work if you're not interested or invested in what you're putting out there. This whole experience has lead me to believe that I'm successful if I'm putting out content that I'm passionate about, that I get excited about. Anything else simply will not do.