Writing is hard. It doesn’t come naturally to most of us, and for some of us, it takes extra effort to force our feelings into words. Since I started as an Odyssey content creator, I’ve experienced the ups and downs of being a writer and having that pressure. For some people, writing essays is hard because it’s difficult to eloquently analyze academia. For others, writing is difficult because it’s so personal that it feels as though you’re presenting yourself for the world to judge. Every week, I spend hours overthinking topic ideas and trying to decide what to write about for my Odyssey deadline. And the thought that crosses my head most often is, “Am I ready to share this with the world?” People’s lives are made up of stories born out of moments in time. There are stories that are easy to share – the stories that immediately come to mind when you meet someone new or want to impress others. Then, there are stories that we keep to ourselves, the stories that only our closest friends know because the content is primarily emotional. And trying to stuff those human emotions into concise text is really damn hard.
There are stories I think I might share one day, but am not ready to quite yet. So the biggest question becomes whether or not I will still be an Odyssey creator when the time is right to tell those stories. But no matter if this is my job for the next two weeks or the next two years, being an Odyssey creator is one of the most unique experiences any amateur writer could ask for.
When I tell people I write for Odyssey, they view it as a news or lifestyle platform. To them, it looks like a job or a profession that I took on as a resume builder. People ask me what Odyssey is – is it a business? A company? I mean sure, I could spend my weeks writing about politics or the latest celebrity gossip. I can pretend I know what I’m doing and write advice articles and “7 tips for getting through your freshman year.” But forcing myself to churn out some journalistic article because it looks more “professional” is exactly what Odyssey encourages me NOT to do.
It doesn’t matter if what I write about is interesting to every single person in the world because chances are there is someone out there who has experienced something similar. It’s about reaching out and finding just one individual who relates to my story and my experience, and showing that person that they’re not alone. I know, it’s super sappy and cheesy. But honestly, it’s the truth. And what kind of writer would I be if I lied to you?