Wattpad Creator Vee Lozada (@veelozada) has been writing on Wattpad since 2017. Her most popular books on the platform include Watty Winner Human Code and Coffee Shop series. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Wattpad corp. or affiliated companies.
I wrote my first story before I could write. It was just squiggles on paper, with little doodles of a cat and dog and circles that were supposed to be food. My Puerto Rican mother took those squiggly lines and tiny pictures, stapled them together, and proceeded to read a book I wrote for her. She made me believe I wrote the best story in the universe and in her eyes, I sure did! My tiny child's heart exploded with ambition. Over the years, that desire grew.
I grew up in an art-loving family. My uncle and grandfather were in a band, so the sound of them playing congas echoed at gatherings. There were statues and artwork all over the house. I tried the music path and had my father buy me a light-up keyboard. Long story short, I can only play the beginning of the Moonlight Sonata on one hand and I guess Chopsticks, but that’s a story for another day.
My heart instead fell in love with stories and everyone in my family said, if that’s what I like, just let me do it. My mother did! She took me to stores and bought me books. I lived in libraries. Whenever I read something new, I told myself, “I can do this.”
Once I discovered the internet and found myself lost in fanfiction written about my favorite video games and anime, I knew I could do this. I spent years browsing the internet as I wrote in regular school notebooks, buying pretty journals for writing motivation but never using them—if you know, you know—and reading each book I could get my hands on.
But I couldn’t get over one thing: Where was I in these stories? Where were the big families glued together by an abuela, or the tití who had all of the gossip? Where were the different foods, the communities, the people, no matter how big? Where were the Latines in science fiction or fantasy? I struggled to find them in the books I wanted to read and Wattpad became the place where I felt I could create those stories for others.
I joined a massive community in August of 2017. I admit, it was scary to share myself, my voice, and any of my stories. It was like venturing into the unknown! With just a blanket and a cup of coffee, and a small idea, I didn’t know where to start. How would people find me? Where would I post about my work? The wheels in my mind were forever turning but I told myself I had a goal to work toward—myself and my future books. So, I took the dive!
My first Wattpad story was about a Puerto Rican girl, having inherited a house from her deceased wela, who finds out she’s connected to the universe and is destined to save the world—a sort of sci-fi/fantasy blend. A little while later, I deleted it because I thought no one would like it. I always tell myself I’ll rewrite it one day.
My next stories had characters anyone could relate to; I wanted to be open to everyone. Inside, I was still too shy to share myself. My mother told me not to be scared because all I ever did growing up was write stories and read books. And she was right. As a kid, I’d sit at my great-grandmother’s table, watch telenovelas, and just… write, read, and draw. She’d warm my heart with constant encouragement, followed by café con pan.
One of my cousins thought what I wanted to do was awesome and said if my books were made into a movie, he wanted to act in it. My other cousin wanted to turn me into a brand and fully supported my dream. My Hubs added the final touch and asked me “What’s stopping you?” Nothing was. So the combination of him, my daughter, and my big hug-loving family, I pushed on.
And the journey continues
Since joining Wattpad, I’ve written a lot of stories, but my first Latinx lead appeared in 2019, when I wrote Human Code, a story about Javier Morales, an android replica based on a man with the same name. I wrote about a blended family dealing with pain, growth, and love. I sprinkled in some Spanish and was so excited to do it! This was the first story where I told myself I wouldn’t hold back; it was the gateway to my voice.
My characters became some Spanglish-speaking, family-loving, sci-fi leaders in my eyes. My cousins were my best friends growing up and I had to write cuzzo love in all of its forms, too, especially in Terms and Conditions, and The Sky Has Fallen.
My goal is that if someone in the Latine/Hispanic community reads one of my stories, they’d see themselves somehow, even if it's a little bit, and I hope to continue to grow and show more than just a little. For me, growing up Puerto Rican meant everything was big—big hearts, big families, lots of love—and I want to put that in my work, one story at a time.
Now when I write, it’s either take me as I am or pass on, no offense taken but I won’t change. That’s a motto I learned within the Wattpad community and any Wattpad writer can use it. Be yourself and it doesn’t matter how. If you’re with me, say Wepa!