Wattpad Creator MB Dalto (@druidrose) has been writing on Wattpad since 2016. She is known for her Watty winner Two Thousand Years and Cut To The Bone. 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.
Back in 2016, Stranger Things premiered on Netflix, Hamilton took Broadway by storm, and a new writer decided it was time to start posting her very first completed story on Wattpad to share with anyone who wanted to read it. Little did she know that by hitting that Publish button on a story titled Two Thousand Years, she would send her writing career into motion in more ways than she ever could have anticipated.
My first year on Wattpad was a whirlwind of information into a writer’s world that I could only have imagined. All I ever wanted to do was share my stories—publishing and everything that came with it thereafter were never at the forefront of my mind. I just wanted to write and interact with readers, share feedback and participate in the community as best as possible. I was an amateur writer and wanted to begin making a name for myself, so I involved myself in as many user-run book clubs, contests, and competitions I could find. I shared and read, offered feedback and positive criticism, and made so many friends along the way—everything anyone could ever ask for when joining a community new to them.
And then I learned about the Wattys.
And as a new writer does when she wants to see how much further she can push herself, of course, she throws her name into the platform’s largest contest of the year. Why? Because the worst that could happen is that she doesn’t win.
I did want to win. We all want to win. But I was content in knowing that I had not only finished a story, but also had the confidence in it to place it before a panel of judges to be scrutinized. That is a win in and of itself, and I still feel this way with every Watty season after that.
So when I received the private message that informed me of Two Thousand Years winning, initially I had to make sure I wasn’t reading something wrong. I was in shock— absolutely ecstatic, yes, but also in disbelief. How could a newbie writer who had never posted anything on Wattpad before now win one of the most prominent awards for the platform?!
Because I tried.
I didn’t count myself out before starting. I put myself out there and allowed myself the vulnerability to be judged. Let me tell you, that’s no easy task, especially when it’s only the first step forward.
Winning a Watty provided me with the unexpected confidence that maybe— just maybe— there was something more I could do with my story. And that introduced me to the wide world of querying, publishing, and all the options available to an author with ambition and a story to share.
And I didn’t stop there.
Though I had eventually published Two Thousand Years off-platform, I continued to utilize Wattpad and its amazing community for my new and future projects, never once wanting to lose that valuable feedback I had received so often before. And with each new project came the new desire to enter into the Wattys once again. All for the same reasons as before: I had completed something new, I wanted to share it, and I wanted to strive for the recognition I had received before.
At the time of writing this blog post, I have not yet won a second Watty, but I’ve come close.
In 2018, Lady Mutiny showed up on the Wattys Longlist, and is now a Paid Story.
In 2021, Cut To The Bone was on the Wattys Shortlist, and can now be read as a Paid Story and found on YONDER.
And with every new project, the Wattys are almost like a silent goal and motivation. Will I have this project finished in time for the next submission date? Will it meet the word count requirements? Can I make it captivating in its genre category?
Sometimes it works and I have a story ready to enter. Sometimes I realize there’s no way I’m going to have anything close to prepared in time for the submission cutoff. And that’s okay because I also know there’s always next year. And the year after that. And even after that.
We all have our own motivations and reasons for entering the Wattys, of course. Do we want the recognition? The reward? The attention? The marketing push? There is no wrong answer, so long as we are respectful to each other whether we’ve won or lost. Whether it’s a third win or a fifth loss.
We as writers just have to remember to never stop trying.
At the end of the day, we are all writers, regardless of badges, followers, or read counts. The worst thing you can do is count yourself out before you even begin. Have faith in your words and confidence in your abilities. It’s important to remember that awards are not the end-all, and we each have our own path, but simultaneously important to never stop reaching for the recognition because you will never know the outcome if you never try in the first place.