To all my fellow artists: Keep creating!

Hannah Monson Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Hannah Monson
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

As a teenager, the future is fast approaching. Career options are open almost anywhere; depending on what you want to do, there are tons of opportunities and resources to help you to your dream goal. I’ll use myself as an example.

I want to be a writer, spending my days typing about the world around me while I sit in one of the giant buildings of New York. I also hope to someday become an author of my own book, or maybe even a series.

These dreams of mine may be big, but they aren’t impossible, especially with today’s technologies.

Just like right now, I’m a columnist for my town’s newspaper before I’ve even turned 15. However, this wasn’t my first writing gig.

Let me take you back to fall of 2014. I was 12 years old and completely enthralled in reading what is widely known as “fan-fiction.” I would read about different universes and scenarios surrounding some of my favorite YouTube stars.

After reading a few that I, at the time, deemed to be perfection, I decided that writing was a hidden passion that I wanted to delve myself into. You see, my dear readers, I had decided that I would write my own story.

After planning a plot, writing out the first chapter, and making a book cover, I published my first story on a website called Wattpad.

As more of my chapters went up, I began to get more traction; by the time I ended the story, I had hundreds of readers and over 60,000 views!

Let’s backtrack a little bit; Wattpad is a free website-turned-app that allows you to read and write stories, whether they’re fiction or nonfiction, short stories or full blown series, tutorials or art portfolios.

You can also vote on chapters that you enjoyed, comment on the story or directly contact and follow the author, and even make personal lists of your favorite stories.

The interface of the app and website are both smooth and easy to navigate. Finding new stories to read is simple, and making an account is even simpler; create a username, input your email, and create a password.

Afterward, you can search through the millions of titles, follow your favorite writers, and expand your mind and knowledge to places you’ve never imagined.

Parents: this is probably a good time to say that not all stories are rated PG or PG-13. However, there are settings you can access in your account to set what your children can and can’t read. Stories are rated based on the content they possess, so sheltering kids from certain subjects is made simple.

To the future novelists out there, listen up! Publishing stories may seem scary, but I’m here to rid you of your anxieties. It’s very easy to create stories on this platform; the only thing holding you back is your imagination – and your parents’ permission, of course.

Telling a story, whether it’s one you made up or one you lived through yourself, is a big part of life. It not only gives you an opportunity to practice your grammar and punctuation rules, but also allows you to potentially make new friends and learn new things.

Wattpad’s type box is your canvas and your mind is the paint; make something beautiful. I know you can!

Wattpad isn’t the only place you can publish your writing; another website I’ve used before is Archive of Our Own, or AO3. AO3 is an organization created for artists to post fan-fiction, fan art, and fan-made videos for different fandoms. It is also fairly easy to use and, just like Wattpad, has a rating system and tags, making it simple to stay away from certain subjects and find others with ease.

AO3 does not have an app. The website, however, is compatible with mobile devices.

I don’t have a lot of experience with this website, but the small amount of time I did spend on it was satisfying. The layout, although very minimalistic, was pleasing and easy to navigate.

Websites like these gave me the courage to create my own stories and read others’ stories. Before Wattpad, I would never read. I dreaded my English classes, and would avoid books at all costs.

Now that I’ve found my voice, reading and writing are my favorite ways to pass the time. I’ve met so many cool people and artists with the same goals as mine, and I’ve grown confident when it comes to my ideas and stories.

To all of my fellow artists, keep creating. The world is waiting for us to explain it to others. Stay safe online, and stay creative. I hope to see your stories online soon!

From printings on paper to musings in your mind, my name’s Hannah. Thanks for reading.