How I Started Writing Again (and why i’m not embarrassed by it)

How I Started Writing Again (and why i’m not embarrassed by it)

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!

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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.

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talk to me! 

Are you a writer? If you stopped writing for a long time how did you pick it up again?

5 Comments

  1. September 9, 2021 / 10:42 am

    I love this post!!

    I’m so happy to hear that you have got back into writing after taking such a long break – and that you’ve gained that many followers too, what a good bonus!!

    That is definitely the scariest thing about writing fanfiction for me too (not that I’ve really written much of it) – the potential for negative feedback, not on the writing itself but the understanding and interpretation of the characters.

    I feel a bit like an impostor calling myself a writer, because I’ve never finished anything more than a short story – even as a kid. But, I wrote almost an entire short story last month after not writing fiction for about two years. I was under the impression that I’d be confident enough to enter a specific competition, so there was a deadline and that’s how I made myself do it! Almost!

    • Louise
      Author
      September 9, 2021 / 6:47 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed!! 🥰

      I totally understand what you mean about feeling like an impostor. I used to think that I could never call myself a writer because I’ve never finished writing a novel, but there’s so much more to write than just novels or short stories. As long as you’re writing, you are a writer! And deadlines are always a good form of motivation!

  2. September 9, 2021 / 8:07 pm

    I love this so much! Congrats on getting back into writing! 🙂
    I’ve never written or read fan fiction, but it’s definitely something that interests me. Because it’s never something I’ve been a part of I find it a bit intimidating though. Plus I really relate to what you said about being an anxious person, and so I sometimes don’t want to talk too much to people about the things I’m a fan of because I feel like I’ll be judged, or talked down to.
    I’m so glad you’re enjoying what you’re writing though, as I sometimes think writers can get so caught up in their writing that they aren’t having fun anymore, and then what’s the point? I’ve definitely fallen into that trap myself, so maybe sometime I’ll try writing fan fiction, or just work on something completely different to what I usually write, just for fun!
    Great post, and happy writing!

    • Louise
      Author
      September 16, 2021 / 7:08 pm

      It really is intimidating when you first dip your toes into writing fics but once you get into the swing of it it becomes a lot easier! I hope getting back into writing goes well for you when you decide to pick it up again 😀

  3. September 16, 2021 / 11:06 pm

    I do like to write my own stories, however collages has burn me out with having to write papers. Having a blog has kept me going with writing books review. I certainly got back into writing my own stories.

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