Last year, I threw in the metaphorical towel as far as publishing went. But that didn’t mean I stopped writing.
In fact, I threw myself headlong into neglected manuscripts, brainstorming a new trilogy, and catching up on old fanfics (yes, twelve years later I’m still writing fanfiction). And it was through writing fandom short stories that reminded me why I love writing.
Peeling back the pressures of publishing deadlines allowed me to refocus on what I love about the craft. The process of creation and piecing the character and story puzzles together in surprising ways. Most importantly, writing fanfic reminded me I can finish a story. Not only that, but I can write something people love.
It’s hard writing into the void sometimes. With traditional and original fiction, you often write something that people may or not read. Then they may or may not leave a review. If they bother leaving a review (this is not counting book bloggers btw) that’s either because they loved your story, or they hated it. The average G.I. Jane doesn’t review unless your story moved them to a strong feeling.
This is what I’ve observed in my publishing adventures, and heard from my fellow author friends. Last year, people seemed to read more than ever. But on the flip side, the average reader was 10x crankier than usual.
This isn’t a new trend, really. I’ve seen this happen more and more over the past decade. Readers who were once happy with an almost free book and creative story, are now very picky for books they have paid for and spent hours reading. And I can’t really complain, because I’m one of those picky readers too. It’s yet another of the reasons I turned back to writing fanfic.
Not every story you read on Archive of our Own is going to be top-notch, but that’s not the point. I enjoy reading fanfic because of the story. I can’t help but notice grammar issues, or too-many-plotholes, or those sneaky red herrings. But that’s not what I’m looking for when I read fanfic. Like countless others, I’m looking for a safe space for creatives to share their creations and enjoy the community. It’s the kind of feeling I wish we could foster into the publishing world. One day, if I’m lucky, it’s the kind of community I can create with my fellow author friends, and readers.
Re-reading what I just wrote, I realize I may have rambled a bit. But that is the point of Weekly Writerly Witterings, isn’t it?
Last month, I started re-focusing on my original fiction once again. I’m doing my best to bring that love of craft into my current WIPs but it’s not easy. I don’t know if there will ever come a story I write that I’m not convinced is partly a mistake. I am constantly second-guessing myself. But I’m going to do my best this year, to write into the dark a bit, to be daring again.
I want to rebuild the kind of community I want with my fellow creatives (aka you). Because I want to encourage you to keep pursuing your dreams. I want you to feel brave enough to share what you make, to improve yourself, and not be afraid to keep growing. Maybe we can grow together 🙂