Ah, Neopets. Many people my age (aka millennials) know about the kid’s website where you made a Neopet to take care of. You named it, fed it, and even could give it a pet of its own. Not to mention the hundreds of cool games you could play on there. Just the name brings back memories for many of us, but most of us have pets that are dying on accounts we haven’t been on in ten years.
Why did I decide to write about this? Because Neopets.com is where my writing adventure began, more than 15 years ago.
A bright-eyed Anna, 10 years old and just then deciding she wanted to be a writer, wrote a story for The Neopian Times. Seeing my username there with that byline was the first time my work had ever been published anywhere. And boy did I love seeing that. So I wrote more. And more. Before I knew it, I had been published over thirty times. And each time, my writing got better.
And now? Writing is how I make a living.
But that’s not all I learned. On Neopets, they allowed you to create homepages for your pets. You could write a little about them, give them a story, maybe draw some art, things of that nature. I remember looking at some of these advanced pages and thinking, Wow, I wish I knew how to do that.
So I learned. With the help of Neopets.com, I learned HTML, one of my more valuable skills I have today.
Soon, I was making my own beautiful web pages. It was just for fun, and I never thought anything would really come out of it. But then I remember one day in college, during a class we took called “Computers And Your World.” We had an HTML lesson. Everybody was struggling to get through the assignment and complaining about how weird HTML was and how they didn’t get it.
Not me, though. I was happily breezing through the assignment, completely in my element. Soon, a crowd gathered around my computer, with people asking me how I did what I was doing. It was then I realized: Maybe what I know could be important. Maybe the hours I spent on a children’s website wasn’t just for fun.
After that, I started learning more advanced HTML, learned how to pick through code and find issues, and developed graphic design skills. Today, I still use Neopets to practice and grow my HTML skills.
Some people may laugh at me for still going on Neopets, seeing as I’m an almost 26-year-old woman, but I’m the one who’s laughing in the end, since I developed two extremely valuable skills from it. The things we do in our childhood help shape who we are, and for some of us, it shapes us in ways we’d never expect.
Did you ever play Neopets? What did you do when you played? Did you learn any HTML? Let me know in the comments!