evethespy Presents: A Letter To My Younger Self (Translated Post)
"One, two, three, testing. Is this thing on?"
"Can you pass me the mic? I want to dramatically announce my presence!"
"You already announced it by speaking up, you turtle!"
"My mom told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."
"Can you just let me say my part in peace?"
"Hey, look, a puppy playing the piano!"
"Ladies, gentlemen, and puppies, welcome to the Wattpad Block Party!"
"Wait a minute, there is no puppy, is there? And that was my line, you trickster!"
"So, for six months, I've been sitting around with nothing to do. But now, I can finally announce that I'm back, baby!"
"Ahem. You mean, we're back, baby?"
"Oh, right, I forgot you existed."
"Meet me in the parking lot later and I'll show you how much my foot exists when it knocks the wind out of your lungs."
"Why would I go to the parking lot? I'm taking the bus home."
"Anywho, it's Yilei's second time participating in this event! She's, like, a Block Party sophomore."
"So, lots of angst and sneaking out to parties without parental permission?"
"Well, this party isn't one to miss. This time, she'll be writing a letter to her younger self. Isn't that interesting?"
"I should clarify that it's addressed to her Wattpad writer fetus self, not her straight-out-of-the-womb type self."
"Right, yes, I think they understand that."
"You know, I'm still not sure who we're speaking to."
"Just roll with it."
Dear younger self,
You had such high hopes for the future.
Wait, that sounded less morbid in my head.
Now, hear me out, before you get all sad and hide under your blankets to rewatch all eight Harry Potter movies, for, like, the hundredth time. What I mean to say is that you were so forking obsessed with being Wattpad famous, whatever that meant. Side note one, your future self just finished binge-watching The Good Place and has once again been sucked into the black hole of Netflix. Side note two, shows can be a great inspiration for writing. Wait, what was I saying?
The point is, you have expectations that are way too high. Millions of reads on your first story? Thousands of followers? Not as easy as you think. Also, instant success rarely happens to anyone. I suppose if you do want a pack of readers at your doorstep, you could just write a story with the words 'bad boy' in the title, but I know that isn't your style.
Anywho, you need to learn that good things take time, and much of success is attributed to luck. So, unless you have some Felix Felicis ready to go, the so-called Wattpad popularity is mostly based on whether you write the right thing in the right place at the right time.
Plus, before Wattpad, you never wrote a damn thing unless it was for English class, so, no offense, but your writing is trash. Don't worry, though. It's supposed to be. It's a first draft, after all. Speaking of which, it's time to drop your perfectionist mindset. A bad first draft? Everyone has one. No instant rise to fame? Also common. Remember, even the most successful writers started from nothing. You're not a special snowflake.
You may have started slow on Wattpad, with that first novel of yours, and your couple thousand views and five active readers, two of whom you bribed to read by giving them chocolate, but you need to hear this. It gets better. It may not feel like things will get better, and you'll be stuck at rock bottom for the rest of forever, but good things happen if you're patient enough to wait for them. Your story will gain readers. You will hit the success jackpot. People will like your writing. You will become a better writer if you just keep writing.
Remember when you kept refreshing the page every second, to see whether the view count of that story had gone up, even by a single read? Well, here's some quality advice. Leave it to sit. Trust me on this. Close the website, make some popcorn, and check back in an hour. If you obsess over something, it's never going to happen. Great things also tend to happen when you forget about them.
If I told you that you'd be living your dream three years after you began writing, how would you react? You'd probably be ecstatic. It's all you ever wanted, right? Thousands of followers, millions of reads. Dedicated fans and friends. You were lucky enough to get lucky. However, you also think it's all you need to achieve happiness. Well, think again, shortcake. It's not.
Wattpad popularity doesn't take away stress. It doesn't take away depression, nor anxiety, and don't even get me started on your fear of speaking to any human being. It's not a miracle worker. Fame should never be a measure of your worth. You know what that would be? Unhealthy. Like those three packs of fries you devoured at McDonald's the other day. Side note three, eat more salad.
Plus, with so-called popularity comes more exposure, and not all the exposure will be friendly. Trust me, you'll receive your fair share of death threats, hate comments, and racial slurs. You'll have to take breaks from Wattpad to clear your head. You know what? That's okay too. Take your time. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words also hurt. Some readers forget that writers are humans who actually feel things.
Just delete the comments you think should be deleted, and move on. They're not worth your time. Oh, and leave the constructive criticism. As much as you despise it, it helps you grow as a writer. But the haters? Cancel. Unstan. Unfollow. Block. Mute. Erase.
I know I'm spending half this letter talking about Wattpad popularity, but that's what you fixated on when you first began writing. To argue on your behalf, I see so many people preaching about how you should write for yourself, and not for others. While that's true, it's also in our nature to seek validation from others. There, the tea has been served. I must stress that while numbers don't define your worth, it's not a sin to care about them. When those numbers increase and you hit milestone after milestone, it makes you smile, and trust me, you need to smile more.
Right, so, let's judge your writing now. Your grammar is fine, thank the gods, but drop the dashes in every sentence. Use some semicolons, some commas, or anything else, really. Also, please, I beg of you, plan your damn stories. Just sketch out a plot, nothing super detailed. Give me a framework to tangle with, because three years later, I'm trying to rewrite your first novel, and I'm having a helluva difficult time figuring out what the fork was going on in your brain when you wrote the first draft.
Next tip, cut down on the exclamation marks. Dotting them here and there is no problem, but the words should be able to scream for themselves without a punctuative aid. Also, cut down on them adverbs. Think of them as, I don't know, wasabi or something. Tastes good in tiny amounts, burns off your taste buds in large amounts. And most important of all, love what you write. You may be a mess and your grades may be dipping lower than the public's respect for Harvey Weinstein, but you love writing. So keep doing it.
But as much as you love Wattpad, you can't just use it to avoid your problems. You need to go out and see the world. Living in fantasies may be great, but you should experience life too. That's your problem. You get too invested in the Internet. You need a balance between your online life and your real life. Make sure you eat enough, don't stay up until three in the morning to finish writing a chapter, and for goodness' sake, crack open a textbook and study. You need to think about university in a couple of years.
Another important note, you're truly going to experience the best of both worlds on Wattpad. You'll experience your ups and downs, struggle to gain readers, and be ecstatic when the numbers skyrocket. You'll make amazing friends on here, but there'll also be people who backstab you, take advantage of you, or just suck. It's just a part of the journey. A super long journey, mind you. Your account turns six years old this August, can you believe it?
Side note four, I can't believe you've stuck with this writing thing for so long. You usually don't stick to a hobby for more than two weeks. I'm proud of you, you know. You've accomplished a lot over the years.
So, that covers everything I want to say to you. It's weird, you know, how easily I can judge you, but how difficult it is for me to praise you. A writer's worst critic is him or herself, I suppose. If I could travel back in time and make you read this, you would scoff and cringe at how cheesy this is, but these are things that you need to hear. You forked up a lot, but you also succeeded too. So, if there's one thing I can say to you, it's this.
You write, therefore you're a writer. You may be writing a load of dung, but you're a writer. No need for adjectives here. No need to be an amazing writer, or a phenomenal writer, or a super mega foxy awesome hot writer. Just be a writer. Keep writing. Everything will fall into place before you know it.
Your future self
YOU ARE READING
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