A lot has happened in 2016, and yet the year seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye.
2015 was a huge year for me writing-wise—getting accepted into the Wattpad Stars, winning a Watty, working with huge brands—but 2016 brought its own set of firsts, celebrations and special moments.
As a Wattpad Star, I was offered the opportunity to test out the new Video Advertising scheme. This was the first time I’d be paid for, effectively, people reading my stories. It was incredibly exciting, although I did have my reservations about it to begin with. Having adverts between chapters is undeniably disruptive, but my readers were so supportive and very keen for me to earn money for my efforts.
In the summer, I met up with some fellow users for the first time. After keeping my Wattpad account a secret for so long, it was great to spend time with people who also use the site—all of whom were lovely and very welcoming.
Later on in the year, I attended my first Wattpad Convention in London. I’d seen how massive the New York convention was, but I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The strangest thing was having people address me as Tessa all day; even though that’s been my pen-name for five years, I’d never actually heard anyone say it to me out loud. What also surprised me, though, was the age of members who came to the convention. Wattpad has a reputation for attracting very young writers, but I could probably count on one hand the amount of writers there under 18. Most attendees were in their twenties or older, a mixture of male and female, and that was so amazing to see. It was a very inspiring day, with panels discussing success stories; several users had secured six-figure book deals through posting on Wattpad, with one girl having her story turned into a feature-length film adaptation for Netflix.
One of my biggest milestones this year, though, was opening up to my family about Wattpad. They knew I used to write when I was a child, but had no idea that I’d continued to create stories and now post them on Wattpad. Needless to say, they were shocked at how I’d managed to keep my success a secret, but very proud.
Even outside Wattpad, 2016 has been a memorable year. In March I got engaged, in September I bought a house (having rented for the last few years) and in December I earned a promotion at work.
My first blog post was about living two separate lives—one on Wattpad and one off it—and I hope to bring these two versions of me even closer together in 2017 until, hopefully, they become the same person.
Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you all the best for 2017.