In recent years, perhaps one of the most empowering sites born in the Internet is Wattpad. Case in point: Normal people-turned-book authors were such big hits that more and more members started typing their ideas away, adding to the countless others who enjoy the same thing.
Most of them are fan fiction authors—fangirls who just can't get enough of their idols that they themselves need to do a story in accordance to their fantasy. This not only happens in the country, though—Wattpad is a big sensation all over the world. And this is where best-selling author of the After novels Anna Todd's journey began.
It blossomed from her love for One Direction. "One day, I'm listening to a radio and heard one of their songs, and I'm like, it's not really my type of music but later on, I was like, okay! I just love them. It's just pure happy music," she shares. Her passion for 1D grew, and the idea of starting a Wattpad account came. So she started the story of Tessa and Hardid—inspired by her favorite boy band, of course, and the next thing she knew, people have been talking about her and her tale (in numbers: more than one billion). Then the big shot opportunity opened: Publishers got in touch with her and eventually, the books were born.
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It might seem like an overnight success, but it still took her time and effort to reach her status now. During her recent visit in Manila for National Book Store and Raffles Makati present The Philippines Readers and Writers Festival 2016, we got to chat with her and asked her success secrets, and here's what she has to share:
1. Just start. “I was reading a lot of fan fiction, then it inspired me and I thought, ‘Maybe I should write my own story.’ So I did, the rest is kind of history, I guess.”
2. Change it! “I felt like I was reading a lot of romance but after that, I kinda thought I was reading the same story over and over. So I thought, I can write something different. I like to stay away from the typical.”
3. Enjoy telling your story. “I just write whatever I like. I never felt like I’m writing for work, it just felt fun and exciting.”
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4. Don’t feel pressured. “I just do not care about what anyone thinks. I don’t feel any pressure to myself. It took me a lot to be confident, and I continue to do so, especially in terms of my work.”
5. Ditch the I’m-not-a-real-writer idea. “Don’t take the idea of what others think writers are supposed to be. Forget about it because it’s not true. The biggest thing that I thought about myself is that I’m not a real writer because I didn’t finish college or I’m not trained. But I realized that the only thing you have to do to be a writer is to write.”
ALSO READ: The Six Fix: Steps to Shift from Book Writing to Scriptwriting, According to Jennifer Niven
Photograph from annatodd.com