BA Creative Writing student Emily Green reflects on what online publications mean for young writers, and how Wattpad, an online community, has helped young writers to become published later on.
By Emily Green
As a writer, one of the biggest accomplishments you could ever achieve is the publication of your own written work. To be able to see your own work, the characters, voices and narratives you created, brought to life and printed on a paperback copy. To be placed on the shelves in bookstores around the world. Being able to experience your first buyer, your first good review, your first bad review. Your first fan.
This is the dream for many writers out there, even myself, who strive to have their imagination and creativity brought to life to be able to be read and enjoyed internationally. However, over the years, the internet has rose and become more and more popular with the younger generation, allowing people to do things that they were never able to do before technology took over. Such as purchase things online, stream live video, and even publish their own books onto the internet. One of the main ways young writers can read and write their own work is the introduction of online reading and creating websites; such as a website called Wattpad.
Wattpad is an internet community for readers and writers to publish their own work online, ranging from different genres such as romance, non-fiction, poetry and horror. It was launched in 2006, and has since then gained over eighty million monthly users, with a small minority having their work published from their frequent usage on the website. One of those users is a woman called Beth Reeks, author of the book and recently Netflix-streamed movie, ‘The Kissing Booth.’ She wrote the book ‘The Kissing Booth’ when she was fifteen, and now, at 18, has been published By Random House after being discovered on the website, and has even had her book adapted into a movie. She is now considered to be one of the most 16 influential teenagers in the world, alongside stars such as Lorde and Justin Bieber. All because she loved writing, and was passionate about creating another world for people to fall in love with.
Internet publishing has made it more accessible for everyone. Writers now have an outlet to create and run wild with their imagination without the fear of rejection. It’s a revolution for writers who dream about having their work published, because now, due to how far technology has come nowadays, they can just write to their hearts content and post it online. They can even receive feedback and compliments in a matter of seconds; which can allow the writers to gain critical feedback, much like published writers get from editors in regular book publication. It allows them to work on and build their creative presence on the website, with the hopes of being discovered and published professionally.
My experience with Wattpad is a positive one, as I used to write on the website when I was younger and gained over fifty thousand reads from my one popular book, ‘Rejected by An Alpha.’ Looking back now, especially after now being in my second year of an English Literature and Creative Writing degree, the writing wasn’t the best. But I enjoyed writing, and I wanted to create something people would enjoy reading. Writing creatively can have a massive impact on the people who read it, whether it be positively or negatively.
The impact internet publishing has on young writers allows it to be easier for people of the younger generation to get recognised and published, but at the same time you often wonder why and how other people are being discovered, and you aren’t. Writers are often perfectionists, so we can pick at our work and mould it into something entirely different because we feel it is not good enough. And this therefore has a negative affect on the desire to be published, as it can make you second guess not only yourself, but your creative work as well.
Overall, internet publishing and the impact it has on young writers allows writers to feel that they have a chance of being published, as well as being able to write amongst a helpful and supportive community that can give them feedback to improve and expand their work. They also have a place to express their voice, to create characters from their imagination and talk about controversial and debatable topics through their written work. The act of being published allows writers to feel more confident in their work, and be put at ease by how much easier it would be to get published online and for their work to be advertised on Amazon as an ‘upcoming writer.’
As a writer, one of the biggest accomplishments you could ever achieve is to get published; and internet publishing can finally make it a lot easier and accessible for writers to reach that goal.