Although I was interested in many things growing up, I don’t think I ever would have described myself as a “fangirl.”
Fanfiction to me seemed like an obsessive world for teenage girls – yes, I was very ignorant. I read and watched a lot, but never to the extent where I wanted to get more involved. Then, I got extremely hooked on the CW’s The 100. It was dark, violent, made me question how much life was worth and it had some badass women. Obviously, I adored every twisted little thing about it. I was heavily invested in the characters and in my search for spoilers I came across some fanfiction.
It was like entering a whole new universe full of other people just like me. I love to read and I already knew I loved the characters. It took a while to adjust, but once I got into it there was no going back. It fascinated me how people could put their take on something and change it entirely, but keep the essence of the characters the same. Within a week I had read all of The 100 fanfiction in existence. I just couldn’t get enough. While I waited for new fanfic to be uploaded, I re-read my favorite stories multiple times.
I was pretty much living in my imagination.I had about a dozen fictional stories playing out in my head and I kept wondering whether any of the stories I’d thought up would make an appearance. As much as I adored what I was reading, nothing was hitting the spot. I know this sounds weird, but it wasn’t as dark as I wanted.
When my patience wore out I had a weird thought; what if I wrote the ongoing stories in my mind? Writing was not something I’d considered before, but I was bursting with narratives that I wanted to be written down. So, I decided to make an account anonymously, try my hand at it, and if I was awful no-one would ever know.
It took me some time to get my first fanfic done. The last time I had done any creative writing was during my school exams. I hadn’t appreciated how much work went into writing a story. Although I thought the story in my head was great, putting it down on paper was a struggle. So I googled writing techniques, I made a Tumblr account and I wrote what I could.
I don’t know what was scarier; the thought that no-one would read it or that someone might actually read it.
What I ended up with was overwhelming. People commented and liked my piece. People on Tumblr messaged me to offer their help. I had people who read and edited my work for me. Others gave me some helpful tips and links. I built up the courage to message a few people whose work I had really enjoyed and was surprised by how happy they were to give feedback. So many people took a lot of time to help me get the flow of writing and some people genuinely liked my work.
I wasn’t instantly famous and offered a book deal as I may have dreamed, but it turned out I could write well.
The good response encouraged me to explore different types of narratives and I tried as many different writing styles as I could. Before I published each fanfic, I would still have that anxiety and think about quitting it all. Putting your own work out there is one of the toughest things to do. But the kind comments left on my work kept me going, some people were eager to read my next addition. It was addictive.
I had seen a few fanfic poetry contests and decided to give it a try. I fell in love with poetry and began producing my own pieces. By this point, I had some friends on tumblr from the fandom who were supportive and assured me that I wasn’t a complete failure.
As much as I enjoy fanfiction, I can admit that my obsession got slightly out of control. I’ve now moved away from fanfiction and I am excited to see what else I can achieve. In addition to poetry, I am attempting to write my own novel and to create characters that inspire others. But I’ll always be grateful to the great people of the fandom who taught me how to believe in myself.
Had I never discovered fanfiction and the beautiful people within it, I would have never believed that I could actually write. More than that I never would have considered trying writing. The support, the advice, and the love received helped me become more confident in myself and my abilities. I owe a lot to the kindness of strangers.
I know people tell you that binge-watching is unhealthy, but hey, I found my passion through it.