fanfic manifesto

I write, uhhh, a lot of fanfic. I am a fanfic old, if you will. An elder internet millennial. I’ve been here a long time and have had the same one hobby since I dialed up that modem and realized other people felt the same about Mulder and Scully as I did.

I was already an adult when ao3 hit the scene. So while that’s not an all encompassing view of my fandom history, the statistics page there is illuminating. For instance, I have 126 works posted, which seems like a lot until you consider I’ve been scribbling down pretend stories about other people’s characters for nearly 25 years. And yeah, typing that did hurt. My word count is… over two million. Easily.

ANYWAY, I write a lot of fanfic.

It means for the last twenty years or so, I’ve always been working on something. Some story, some idea, some fandom. Always something in the hopper. I realized driving to work this morning that I’ve been writing my current WIP for over a year. Did I mean for it to become a behemoth? No, but it happens. I remember when I started writing it, I was like, why am I even doing this? This is gonna take forever.

With fanfic, your deadlines are kind of your own. You can make yourself a schedule and stick to it or you can post whenever or you can start something and never finish it and because it’s a hobby you do that doesn’t make money, and if people don’t like it, too bad. I’ve always been really good about finishing things and keeping to a schedule of some sort. Once a week. Once a month. Something.

However, I’ve been feeling so guilty about my current WIP because this is the first time I’ve had to juggle my career and my book deadlines AND my fanfic and I bet you can guess which one always gets put on the backburner. It kind of breaks my heart because my fanfic is WHY I have book deadlines in the first place. My fanfic audience who have read my stories devotedly and shared them and reblogged them and talked about them with their friends is why I get to now be published. So I don’t want to abandon something that has been such an enormously large part of my life for so long, but I also want to wholeheartedly go on this new journey. I know that I’ll never stop writing fanfic because I love to do it and because the community is so, so important to me. But I might write it slower and I may write less. And that’s okay.

In conclusion, here are some of the great things I have because of fanfic.

This meme:

These fanarts:

And the time someone had one of my fics bound like a real book and so kindly sent me some copies:

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned from this hobby is that I absolutely have to write what I want to read, even if it’s very specific and niche. My longtime fandom friend mylittleredgirl was on the fanfic maverick podcast talking about her fanfic journey and it was a little like listening to myself because our experiences were so parallel. But she was saying she wrote for an audience of one: herself. I do the same thing. It’s always an extremely happy accident that other people like those stories, but they’ve always been tailored exactly for me and that’s definitely a lesson I can take with me as I move into the publishing world.

I’m gonna write for me, but for a nominal fee, you can read it too. Or, if you’re broke, you can still read two million words of my fanfic for free.

Also, if you think I’m writing this blog post to procrastinate on finishing my next chapter, mind your business!

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