When I first started this blog I was obsessed with reading articles on Thought Catalog. I followed all the writers and would constantly retweet and mention articles I liked on social media. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a writer but I still idolized these people who so openly and honestly explored themes of love, loss, relationships, and other things I could relate to.
To say it was an inspiration is an understatement. Though I had always been a quality writer I wanted the chance to write more, explore more, and find an audience that I felt would respond to my writing. I submitted dozens of articles hoping that one day I would have the honor and privilege of being published on a site I frequented on the daily.
One day at the end of April 2014 I received an email from on TC writer named Lance Pauker who dug my article that was a humorous look at depression. I had written it during the end of a particularly hard episode of depression and the writing… well the writing took me out of my head and onto a page in the most cathartic way. He published my first article and my second and my third and continued to do as I wrote an average of three articles per week and sometimes more. I would stay up till 3 am typing furiously on my computer spilling out feelings and thoughts and listicles until I would tire myself out and sleep. Everything was an inspiration to me. I was moving to a new state having just broken up with my long time boyfriend and trying my best to date again. It was endless the amount of things I had to say and Lance helped me develop my voice every step of the way in a manner that I, to this day will always be grateful for.
The more I wrote the more I felt as if I was apart of a community of people just like me. I started connecting with staffers and other freelance writers from the site in a way that I had only dreamed about months prior. A featured writer on the site, Raul Felix, a satire writer and all around badass at the time and I connected right away. He lived in LA and I was spending the summer in Sacramento and we instantly clicked. Through texts and Facebook messages we would talk about everything from our writing to life in general and set up a plan to meet when I would be driving through LA later that summer. We did eventually meet up in a day/night that I couldn’t even put into words and seemed strangely out of a movie, but though we didn’t seem to have the same spark in person it was nice to meet someone who’s work I had admired from a far.
At the same time an opening at Thought Catalog opened up for a staff writer. Despite my open hatred of all things New York I applied wanting even more to focus on my writing, though at the time it was just a sidelined hobby. I hadn’t received a degree in creative writing, or english, or even journalism but I believed, and somewhat still do, that my talent for articulating complex feeling onto a page gave me a unique advantage over people who simply learned how to write. I was further convinced that it was meant to be when my Aunt and Uncle coincidentally met and ran into long time staffer Brianna Wiest at a coffee shop in Maryland. They overheard her talking about the site and struck up a conversation about her writing and mine randomly, out of nowhere.
But as the weeks turned into months and I started my job in Denver with a national non-profit I never heard back about the job. I assumed the position had been filled by someone with more experience, or more importantly to the online community, more followers. I had a mere 200 or so followers, most of which were friends, and though I was highly social media savvy I could never parle that into mass following.
I began to write less and less, lesser still once my long time editor Lance departed from TC for a job at a SUNY. I would submit stuff shyly here and there but life and work took over in 2015 and I jut wasn’t as excited about writing or reading much of anything.
My depression once again roared its ugly head and I was left with no real outlet and was embarrassed to write about it in a public space. I felt lost, I felt as if I could no longer relate to anyone and my life grew quiet.
And then two months ago, around the same time as when my first article had appeared two years earlier, I began to write. Some of it was stuff I thought other people wanted to read and some came purely from the heart, spilling once again onto the page in ways it hadn’t in over two years. Everything I had experienced in the year I hadn’t really written transformed itself and I felt again the relief that comes from relating to people through words.
Except is was a little different. I found instead of getting my article shared and spotlighted on the TC website most my articles couldn’t even be found. There was a decrease in support of getting my stuff out there and I sadly tried to understand why my articles were getting subpar views.
“You just need to write more clickable stuff, but I love your writing” my new editor Nicole wrote to me after I had become somewhat frustrated and perplexed about the lack of interest in what I had to say. Was I not as good of a writer as I once was? Perhaps my dramatic turn from listicle to more intimate writing was unpalatable and depressing. I tried not to let it get to me, still enjoying the writing part of it all and not so much the platform to get my name out there. I chalked it up to just too many other louder voices and made peace with the fact that I was not a mainstream writer.
But then, I remembered why I read and wanted so much to write for the site in the first place. “.. all thinking is relevant..”, was the motto and mission of TC. Though I wrote some pieces for the competing site, Elite Daily, it was that slogan that rang into my head. Thought Catalog has been a safe space for unknown writers to give voice to their problems and their ideas. But it wasn’t that anymore…. it wasn’t that at all.
Instead of finding my articles easily on the site I only had the link to direct people too. Unless you were a featured writer very few articles made it to social media or even on the site at all. New and refreshing articles were cast aside by similar articles published by newer staffers. I looked around and nothing about TC seemed familiar….
This is about so much more than my writing. This is about hearing from an array of people and supporting people who write not for money, but because it is their passion. This site inspired me to write, it taught me how to write, it made my ideas and struggles and experiences available to people who need/needed something to relate to. That place that I admired is gone and, though I hate to say it, if it continues this way, my time with TC will also come to an end as well.