After years spent on the site, I just deleted all but one of my accounts on Wattpad. I hadn't posted anything in three months and, even then, there was little I felt willing to share. So I did not think this would be a big deal for me. I did not think I would feel the need to post on my blog about it.
I began on that website in my early teens - I think I was either thirteen or fourteen, which means I joined either five or six years ago. At first I only read stories, the very popular ones on the site that were usually cliche. Then I got back into writing again on my own. Admittedly, most of my work at that time mimicked the popular fiction I saw on the site - back then, those cliches seemed genius.
Some time passed, and I began posting my work for others to see and comment on. I learned, slowly, how to interact with others on the site in a way that advertised my work and brought me reads and comments. It was the coolest thing in the world when one of my stories gained 100 views.
Fast-forward and I find the message boards, and I learn about critiques. Fast forward a long time - probably a year or two - after that, and I have learned how to accept critiques, how to take the parts I need from them, how not to be hurt every time someone criticized my work.
Now, I've known for awhile that the site was not helping my writing anymore. I have quit a few times, but the old accounts were always there to come back to. I also made new accounts - during my deletion, I got rid of four of them, and kept one simply for the name, even though I'll likely never return to it.
Since this last time I left, knowing it was final, I knew I should delete the accounts. I don't want people reading my old work anymore. I don't want to post new work anymore, not online for free. My writing can go further than that. It's worth more than that.
It was a surprise to me that, as I signed in and deleted each account, I felt emotional about it. But as I type this post - that hopefully makes sense, and doesn't just read like I'm rambling - I guess I realize why. Even though myself and my writing are far past that stage, even though I want to go new places, that site helped me so much. I always knew that, but looking back ... It gave me the strength and confidence to share my work and accept feedback. That isn't a small thing. And sharing my work with others became such a large part of my writing process, for such a long time.
It's over, for now. I won't be sharing another completed work until I am a published author. I've never liked change much, and this is a large one, although I'm definitely headed in the right direction.
I think that's all I have to say, but you guys should let me know if you've had any similar experiences to this one, or maybe just about a challenge or a change you've faced when writing. Have you ever shared your work online, and has it helped you grow as a writer?