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Many share the same goal: to create and manage a website that will grow to be successful and well-known, with plenty of active users keeping it afloat. At the mere age of thirteen, I can’t say that this was exactly what I was aiming for when I created my website, hungergamesrpg.com (HGRPG). I was simply looking to expand my love of reading and writing through the fantastic series crafted by Suzanne Collins, and creating a site devoted to text-based roleplay, something I’d been enamored with for months, seemed to be a wonderful place to begin. How was I to know that it would eventually blossom into something bigger than I’d ever anticipated?
I discovered my internet niche a little over a year before, on a roleplay forum for Collins’s debut series, The Underland Chronicles. My strong appetite for this form of writing seemed insatiable, and a year later I wasted no time in creating a similar website for her subsequent saga, The Hunger Games. It was an exorbitant task for an adolescent who had only recently started eighth grade, but I was more than up for the challenge; what better way to share my love of writing? Though initially lacking the auspicious start I’d hoped for, four years later my brainchild has grown exponentially and thrives with the help of its dedicated and talented community of members who share my passion.
Over time, I have watched my little website of twenty members attract thousands more. Currently the member count is just over five and a half thousand, and what truly astounds me is that despite the copious amounts of people logging on daily, it still maintains a small, tight-knit community feel. I’ve befriended writers from all over the world—Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, Dubai—and connected so well with them, discovering so many things we have in common aside from our affinity for reading and writing. I’ve watched and aided them in developing their own abilities as writers, evolving from newbies who post a single, sparse paragraph to seasoned members who can dish out over a thousand words at a time, delving deep into the thoughts and innermost feelings of characters they created. In turn, I’ve grown as a writer myself; HGRPG gives me an opportunity to write daily, practicing and perfecting my skills in a supportive, inspiring environment.
Through this website I’ve not only learned about writing and the varying cultures of my online friends, but also acquired vital leadership and management skills. I devote hours of my week to maintaining this website, whether organizing events, answering questions, welcoming new members, moderating the forums, or mediating disputes. Running a website taught me what being a leader truly means: actively setting an example and staying entirely dedicated. Without a doubt these skills have transferred into my offline life, and continue to define my character. I know that my website will continue to prosper far into the future, and I’ve long since deemed it the most meaningful experience of my lifetime.
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