I have a guest post up on diyMFA this week! diyMFA is a site that encourages and guides writers to educate themselves, keep writing, keep reading, and grow their communities. I’ve followed the project for years and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it!
Hey, you, writer. Do you have a ‘dirty little secret’? Is there an extra reason why you don’t let anyone read your old stuff?
I bet you’ve written fanfiction.
I’m here to tell you not to be ashamed of your archives. Fanfiction can be a serious tool for writers looking to learn, grow, and find support.
Fanfiction is increasingly recognized as a legitimate form of expression, and dismissing it means ignoring some mighty names who have written it. And let’s not forget, fanfiction isn’t that different from, say, being commissioned to write a Star Wars novel.
I started out in the fanfiction trenches in middle school, and I wrote some 260,000 words before I quit. It was excellent practice, and helped fuel my desire to keep writing. Here are five things I learned along the way.
1. The communities can be supportive and encouraging
I’ve never felt more love for my writing than when I was engrossed in fan communities. Each time I posted a new item I would get a flood of comments telling me they loved it, they wanted more. (Always more!) There was no serious critique, which was just what I needed at the time: unflagging encouragement. When you’re new to the game, that’s a great feeling.
Fandom is about the shared love of someone’s work. People come together to celebrate, to indulge, to have fun. Like any community, there can be negative interactions, but fandom itself outlasts the trolls. Find your tribe and ride the wave of positive, mutually-beneficial love.