Student author receives awards and acclaim in online writing community

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Originally published on May 26, 2016

Upon stumbling across an online writing community four years ago, one student decided to post her poems on the website, an endeavor that has led to hundreds of thousands of views and dedicated fans from across the world.

Junior Julietta Ghukasyan has been a writer on Wattpad, a website with over 40 million users that has allowed users to post their works, win awards and communicate with other avid writers since 2012. In 2014, her most popular work, Shades of Blue, won the Watty Award for Best Tragedy and has recently placed number one in poetry on the Wattpad community. The book, which centers around a boy named Charlie with selective mutism, a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, has racked up over 900,000 views and landed spots at the top ten works on Wattpad over 30 times, so far. As a result of winning a Watty Award, Ghukasyan received a hard copy of her book and a permanent spot in the poetry category of Wattpad. Currently, Ghukasyan has over 10,000 followers on the website.

{From the book:

I painted these for you,

each with a different shade of blue

because everyone has different

shades of blue,

your shades are just a little darker.}

A publishing company that reached out to Ghukasyan intended to publish Shades of Blue under a certain contract, but after ratings increased significantly, the company decided to tweak it, something that Ghukasyan was not comfortable with. She pulled out of the contract and although she is not profiting from the book, she maintains that her goals center around doing what she loves and helping others. “Mental illnesses are not discussed by the general public; we live in our own little bubbles, not realizing that every single person in this enormous yet tiny world has insecurities, no matter how happy they might seem on the outside,” Ghukasyan said. “We all handle it differently and if I can play the slightest role in helping someone understand that it will be okay, then that’s enough for me.”

“We all handle it [insecurities] differently and if I can play the slightest role in helping someone understand that it will be okay, then that’s enough for me.”

Ghukasyan is currently working on Therapy, a book for those dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, which is projected to be completed this year. The finished chapters of Therapy have approximately 315,000 views and although incomplete, Therapy is already her third most-viewed work, behind Zero [approximately 410,000 views], which deals with self-love and how humans struggle to appreciate their physical qualities in the midst of society’s judgment. Ghukasyan has taken a workshop to educate herself on some of the medical concepts that her works deal with, but she stated that she is not a medical expert by any means; she is only sharing her own thoughts and experiences.

On May 9, 2014, Ghukasyan won the Lowell English Department Book Award for Therapy and read a chapter of the book to the English department. Each English teacher gives a Book Award to one student per year.

Lowell’s English program and many of its students have been helpful and supportive of Ghukasyan. “English classes, especially the Honors and AP system, have definitely improved my writing and helped me understand how to write concisely and avoid silly errors that disrupt the flow of the story,” Ghukasyan said. “Also, my friends get surprised when I have Lowell students randomly come up to me and tell me that they read my works. It makes me happy because I never thought that anyone would really like my works.”

Ghukasyan enjoys talking to readers across the world, as well. “I seriously think nothing is better than when I get fan mail from people across the world,” Ghukasyan said. “Readers tell me how their families can’t afford therapy because it’s so expensive but that my words are their own tiny, secretive therapy.”

Fans of Ghukasyan’s works have written messages to her, telling her that she has helped them deal with the difficulties of everyday life. “Your words actually comfort me when I’m feeling a little anxious,” one fan wrote in a message to Ghukasyan, “I pick out a couple of chapters and just absorb the free verse of lyrical genius, and am momentarily plunged in the thoughts of someone else more troubled, and it comforts me. Comforts me to know that people like Quinn [a character] can write about issues, and that people like you can create such beautiful characters.”

“I pick out a couple of chapters and just absorb the free verse of lyrical genius, and am momentarily plunged in the thoughts of someone else more troubled, and it comforts me. Comforts me to know that people like Quinn [a character] can write about issues, and that people like you can create such beautiful characters.”

Ghukasyan has always known that writing was her calling in life. “As an Armenian tradition, once a child loses their first tooth, they sit around materialistic objects that represent their careers and paths in life, and I picked up money and a pen,” Ghukasyan said. “As I grew up, all I ever did was write. As long as I was writing, I was a happy kid. You didn’t need to get me toys, just get me a new set of pencils and a journal.”

Ghukasyan plans to major in medicine and minor in creative writing in college, as she has already combined these two disciplines in her influential works. “Society has given writers an unknown hope of whether you are going to make it in the industry or not,” Ghukasyan said. “However, I know I’ll always have writing with me, and I’ll never lose touch with it.”