It's been a little over a year since I joined the Odyssey, and I’ve enjoyed my time here. I put out the strongest content I can, or the best topic I can think of for that week because, let’s be honest, writer’s block exists. Sometimes I’ll think of a topic only to realize that six different writers from six different colleges have written the same thing. Publishing an article once a week makes me admire writers whose job it is to publish news and/or think pieces daily. Sometimes the weekly deadlines intimidate potential Odyssey writers and steer them away from the platform, which makes me wonder...
Why even write for the Odyssey?
Even before hopping on the Odyssey train, I was aware of the kind of reputation it garnered. A website with young writers who proudly showcased headlines starting with “An Open Letter To” or “X Things” listicles that you’ll probably click on if you relate to them. When a person online asked what Odyssey was, I saw someone reply with “it’s like Buzzfeed except with college writers, so you can imagine the kind of stuff they write.”
I can imagine, I guess our main competition for putting out the best and most relatable listicles is Buzzfeed. At least, that’s what I believe most people think about Odyssey. Perhaps being associated with such content turns potential writers away.
But if I told you that Odyssey was so much more than the barely-there similarities people make with Buzzfeed, you wouldn’t believe me. After all, look where I’m writing this.
How do I tell you how opportunistic the Odyssey’s approach to online journalism is when the main articles you see circulating on social media sites are what you may call generic and mindless content? That’s just the nature of such online media. From YouTube videos to tweets, to Odyssey listicles, material people can relate to catching their eye.
However, the goal and ultimate perk of writing for the Odyssey is enjoying the freedom of writing about whatever you want, every week. Whatever you want (to an extent, at least). Instead of posting a “read more” blurb on Facebook, your thoughts can be wonderfully condensed to a photo and link. You are not forced to write a listicle or an open letter. You certainly can, and there are many heartfelt letters and well written, relatable listicles out there, but if that isn’t your style, then don’t write them!
The central point of writing for the Odyssey is your voice. Write only movie reviews. Write only about music. Write only open letters. Write only listicles. Write as though your Odyssey platform is a travel log. Write all of your political opinions. Make a video!
If this one 500-odd word piece does not convince you of the Odyssey’s approach to online writing and publishing, fine. Who am I to tell you how to live your life? Who am I to bash you for holding a different opinion than I?