Hi friends! 👋🏻 Earlier this year I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally started writing again!
I’ve been writing creatively since I was around six or seven years old, have a BA in Creative Writing, and was able to write my own short stories for my MA dissertation, but once I finished my MA in 2017 I just stopped writing. I don’t know if I was burnt out but I just had no desire to write anything and my characters just bored me.
Thankfully, I saw a little dry spot in some online content I’ve been reading and took the plunge to start writing again by filling in that dry spot.
If you’d like to read my current writing, you can find it on my writing Tumblr, @alienguts!
I STARTED WRITING FANFICTION.
Yes, really. The funny thing is, I was never a fanfiction writer but rather a fanfiction reader for most of my life. Fanfic has this reputation of being poorly written stories featuring idealised versions of the author (who is usually a teenage girl), but I often found getting into it to be pretty intimidating.
I’m a very anxious person and that even extends into the things that I like. I’ve been talked down to for just saying that I like something that I stepped away from fandom entirely a few years ago. Being a fan of something should not be stressful, it should be fun.
The main reason that I was hesitant to dip my toes into writing fanfiction myself was that I was terrified of receiving bad reviews from people saying that I don’t understand a character properly. Thankfully, I’ve received the opposite and gotten good reviews saying that I write one particular character very well. So my anxiety over that was over nothing.
WHY FANFICTION, THOUGH?
I used to see myself as a “true” writer: one that created their own characters and worlds, rather than taking someone else’s and putting them in situations that I thought they would go in. Looking back, this is a pretty snobby view. I first started writing fanfiction because the fanbase I wrote my first fic for was completely dried up of new content. Nobody was posting, and when they did it wasn’t what I wanted to read. So I took the advice of “write the content that you want to read” and put it into action by writing a headcanons post for Tumblr. From there I started writing prose fics, and I’ve gone from zero followers to 149 since March of this year. I’m proud of what I’ve written and I’m happy that other people like my stuff too.
WHY BE EMBARRASSED ABOUT IT?
Here is the thing: I write reader-insert fanfiction. [INSERT CHARACTER] x Y/N fanfiction. The very same kind of fanfiction that the novel and movie After was adapted from.
A lot of people think that this kind of fanfiction is cringeworthy. Those people are entitled to their opinions, but I completely disagree. I’ve never been a shipper and always preferred to imagine myself being paired with my favourite characters, and that’s the fanfiction that I prefer to read and have done ever since I found out that it existed.
There will be people out there who think that I shouldn’t be into reader insert fics at my big age of 26, but I don’t really care. I don’t write my fics for teenagers or children, I write them for me first and other adults second. If adults want to write little stories about their favourite character being their significant other, we can. Nobody is going to stop us. Nobody should ever be embarrassed about what they write, even if it’s something that we wrote as children (unless you wrote something horrifically problematic that you no longer agree with, of course.)
FANFICTION IS MAKING ME A BETTER WRITER.
I often feel like there’s a lot of pressure to get it right the first time when writing something entirely original whereas fanfiction can be good writing practice because I’m exploring existing characters and how they would react to different situations, rather than creating everything myself from scratch. Also, I wouldn’t have ever even considered writing sex scenes if I didn’t write smut fics for practice.
There is that stigma that fanfiction is often poorly written, but I have seen so many fan authors become better writers over time through fanfiction because they’re constantly improving their craft. I have also seen the opposite happen, but that’s down to personal preferences and my preference is anything that is not purple prose.
I’m not much for editing or beta reading, but by reading over my writing I’m able to see what works and what doesn’t, where I think a character is acting in a way that is uncharacteristic to them, and when the plot starts to go off the rails.
I will return to my original characters when I feel like it but I’m having such a blast writing fanfiction that I have times where I forgot that I even have a novel that I want to plan out and write someday. I’m perfectly content with taking requests and fulfilling them because it helps me to be motivated to write and makes my brain work harder.
talk to me!
Are you a writer? If you stopped writing for a long time how did you pick it up again?