I started writing because I was sad.
I had moved to a new city. My boss didn’t like me. My student loans were strangling me. I was tired all the time. Life was bleh. So I started writing. It helped. It got me thinking about something other than myself. I began making friends. I found a new job. I still have the student loans, but here’s hoping for public service loan forgiveness.
Soon I had a rough draft of a book. I didn’t know what to do with it. I knew it sucked – all first drafts suck – but at the same time, the few people I forced to read it said it had merit. That gave me the courage to query…. and I got shot down. Totally shot down.
I knew what had to be done. I needed to re-write it. I tried looking for a writer’s group, but they were intimidating. I wasn’t certain about going online. And so the story sat, like many do, until I forgot about it altogether.
Then one day when I was cleaning I found it. Re-read it. Found some merit in it. And started asking around. Eventually I stumbled on Wattpad. I know, it’s got a reputation for teenage vampire and fan fiction love stories, which is well deserved, but it also encourages commentary and feedback. I went back and forth on it. Did I want to post my work for free? What if someone steals it?
Whatever. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I held my breath and jumped.
Wattpad has its pros and cons. The cons? It’s a social media website, not a bookstore, and it’s run like a social media website. Most people don’t have editors, so you get what you get, bad spelling, grammar and all. It’s also ridiculously competitive. People will cut you for a Watty.
That being said, there are a lot of pros. I have met some wonderful people at Wattpad. I’ve gotten good advice. I’ve also read some awesome books. (Yes, Wattpad books are real books. For every 14-year-old girl’s Harry Styles fanfic, you’ll find a thoughtfully plotted and well-written book.)
Time for a shout out.
There’s also Sally Mason, known as @SallyMason1, who is a force to be reckoned with. She took me under her wing, showed me the ropes, and helped me get started. I’m grateful to her. Her Trapped series has over three million reads.
Check out @Tamoja. She’s a consistently kind voice in a cut throat community, and a skilled writer to boot. She was one of Target’s Once Upon Now winners with her short story The Friendzone Promposal, now published by Gallery Books.
Nota Bene: Wattpad does make you sign up to their platform before you can read any content. They now offer a premium version without the ads for a subscription fee, and a new app called Tapp which uses a story messaging format.