Discussion Battling fan fiction addiction

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by brodiew, Mar 28, 2011.

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  1. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    I'm not sure if a post like this has surfaced before, but it's something that's on my mind at the moment. If I jest, it is only in part.

    When I joined tf.n in October 2005, it opened an exciting new door. I had always enjoyed writing and had even experimented with an Indiana Jones story of my own as a preteen. But, good golly, miss molly, did I throw myself into Star Wars fan fiction for 3.5-4 years. It became a consuming hobby. I wrote because I liked it and because I enjoyed the reviews; the validation for a job well done. I was taught well how to review and board etiquette has always been something I take seriously. Plus this site is my 'home' when it comes to my fan fiction career.

    Recently access to the site has been restricted at work and the time and freedom I had write, read, and review has diminished. This is not only a work phenomenon, but writing time at home has also gotten smaller and smaller.

    With this new diminished capacity, my heart for fan fiction has not waned. In fact, it has grown. The fandoms and possibilities have grown ever larger. Once, SW was my whole world. Now, it has become but home base. Given the larger possibilities and the lessening of time available, I'm reduced to writing even smaller pieces than average 1500+ word fics which have been my standard. Not only that, but posting hurriedly just to get something out there; a quick fix if you will. Sometimes, it weird; the need just to post something for the sake of posting.

    If it makes any sense, I feel like I'm writing on the cheap. I'm not necessarily sacrificing quality, but feeling the pinch of RL like never before.

    Can anyone else relate?

    Or am I just a crazy man?
  2. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    I understand the "consuming" aspect, be it writing or reading. But then I don't have much of a life - or as entertaining a one ;) - outside of this. It's my escape and my refuge.
  3. serendipityaey

    serendipityaey Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2004
    There's something really satisfying about putting something you worked hard on and really love out there and having it validated, sometimes almost instantly. I find it's something that rarely happens in (my) real life, at least not in the same way. One thing, out of many, I love about fanfiction, is that there can be as much value in a well written vignette as an epic, and just as much meaning. I actually really enjoy the challenge of writing something short.

    I think I've found with the short stuff, I can spend more time thinking about it, whenever I have the opportunity to day dream, and less actual time writing it at a computer, which works well with my sometimes crazy busy life. I've also found it's ebbed and flowed throughout my life... I've always created stories in my head, and I was shocked, in college, to find people actually wrote this stuff down, put it on the internet and other people read it. It was amazing, to me. And, coincidentally, the very first bit of fanfiction I read was Indiana Jones ;)

    When I was in college, I was busy, but I had that free time, and fanfic was a huge part of my life, and then came those 20's and I was working a ton... still reading, but not writing anything really, except bits here and there, and then I was pregnant and I turned into a different person and went crazy, and now I'm spending more time at home with the little one, I have that weird thing where I'm busy but I do have free time, and I'm writing again.

    I think it's nice to go with the flow, wherever it takes you, and it's always awesome to try something new. Sometimes, it can be consuming, and I've felt that urge to just post something I know will get feedback as opposed to working on something longer, that will take more time, and probably not get as much response, but it's something I love. I just try to find balance somewhere.
  4. madman007

    madman007 Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 22, 2007
    Yes, I can relate.

    Right now, I'm working retail at Target where my schedule changes from week to week. I used to be able to plan when I can write but now not so much. I'm working on an epic that now has a total of 5 reviewers. Unfortunately, you can't tell how many actual, readers you get in here because there's no hit count on your post. So I had to ask myself if it's worth the extra time and effort to write a full epic for so few readers. The answer I came up with is in my signature. If I just quit because I'm not getting enough readers regardless of quantity or quality, then where does that leave the readers who are reading my epic? I came to an early conclusion since I've been on these boards since 2007 that I have to write for me and not play to the public.

    If you feel the specific work you are doing isn't finished at 1500 words, then don't post it until you are sure. If you "post something for the sake of posting" that is not writing; it's a popularity contest.

    Technically, an artist's work is never finished. Even George Lucas has said that. If you wait until the public tells you it's not finished then it's no longer your writing, is it?

    And just an FYI, we're all crazy!

    "If we weren't all crazy, we'd all go insane." - Jimmy Buffett
  5. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 25, 2006
    It's the writing bug. Once you get it, you never get rid of it. I got it when I was 5 years old and it hasn't let up.

    The problem with writing, as with any art form, is that it is often done in a vacuum. Many writers never see their work published, or they don't get the recognition they deserve until well after they've passed away. It can be frustrating and you have to really, truly enjoy it--and believe in it--to carry on without affirmation.

    Fanfiction takes care of that problem and also creates a fantastic network of people who share your passions, which is rare in the "Real World." I have my friends in RL but none of them share what I enjoy, and as such I feel closer to some of my fanfic friends simply because we have something important to me in common. So that's a part of it too.

    I'm always busy and trying something new. My friends and family make fun of me for it because I can't sit still. In the past few years I've been involved in: knitting, different kinds of baking, birds/birdwatching, international charities, Red Cross, dog training, piano, and right now I'm head over heels for learning French. I never know which new thing I'm going to get hooked on, but writing has always been the constant. So fanfic is here to stay one way or another.
  6. Ubersue

    Ubersue Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 1, 2008
    A little from Column A and a little from Column B. :p

    Ever since I moved last summer, I haven't had enough in my budget to pay for internet access at home (no roommate, higher rent, etc), and so my Board time has been relegated to my breaks at work and the few shining occasions when I can take my laptop to a cafe with free WiFi. I can still post stuff here and there, and I have enough time for writing, but what I really miss is having the time to read other people's stories. :(

    I don't see my fanfic habit as an addition ("I can quit anytime!") or even a bad habit, because I get something constructive out of it. I've learned far more about writing since I started posting on the boards (three years ago? holy fudge!) than I did in the previous ten years.

    But then again, I was this close to turning down my cute neighbour's offer for dinner this evening in favour of taking my laptop to a coffee shop this evening, so maybe I have a problem after all. :p
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    I do believe that all of us are a bit on the crazy side, brodie. It's what makes a good writer - which you certainly are. ;)

    Not only that, but posting hurriedly just to get something out there; a quick fix if you will. Sometimes, it weird; the need just to post something for the sake of posting.

    This I understand.

    A lot.

    For me, inspiration for writing is either feast or famine. I am either turning out fics by the bucket loads, or I am hardly scraping by with drabbles. This makes it hard for me to keep a long story going, and update regularly without thoroughly annoying my readers (which my poor beta reader can attest to. :p) To combat that, I write mainly vignettes/drabbles/sentences, because I can work at churning out something of high quality with no strings attached.

    If it makes any sense, I feel like I'm writing on the cheap. I'm not necessarily sacrificing quality, but feeling the pinch of RL like never before.

    I think that every one of us here as churned out something of lesser quality than we would like for the sake of throwing something up. It's human nature. ;) [:D]

    If there was one piece of advice that I could offer to every newbie and existent author, it would be this. Writing is to make yourself happy, once it becomes more of a stress than a source of enjoyment - especially fanfiction - something has gone wrong. Work on something until it feels write, and don't post to satisfy the 'itch.' Write something that means a lot to you, and satisfies you. Everything else will fall into place.

    ~MJ @};-
  8. Space_Wolf

    Space_Wolf Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 13, 2007
    I know what you mean. My writing has dropped off since I started uni, but it was waning a bit before that because I just didn't get time to post things, and as a result, I've not been around these boards as much as I'd like.
  9. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    I began writing stories when I was very young, I think about 7 or 8. My very first story was about Batman and Robin (when the campy TV show was on daily at 4 in the afternoons..waaaay back in the 60s). :p I remember that story because my Dad thought it was hilarious. He put it away and kept it.

    I didn't know till years later that in my story where Batman and Robin had been captured, I thought I had written "they were tied up with a rope" I had actually written "they were raped with a rope." (I didn't even know that word then..[face_laugh] ..My dad laughed till he cried and showed it to everybody.

    I continued writing for years afterward and thought I might be a writer when I grew up. It didn't happen, and life, church, marriage, business, etc. etc. kept me from writing for years (I did keep a journal for several years, from the time I was about 15 till I was in my thirties).

    So last march, when I lost my job, I was at home, having already discovered Obi-Wan (through Jude Watson) and then Ewan (in star wars)...[face_love], had read and loved the books, especially the ones with Siri, was very sad she had died and thought this is so much more tragic that Obi was on Tatooine all those years and he had a true thus began my middle aged writing career on FF. I had already enjoyed many wonderful stories by Val, and many others, but never thought I'd write any, till when I lost my job, my mind began putting together the first stories I ended up writing. I thought I was done...but guess what...

    And I love posting on these boards for the enjoyment of others who write and read Obi adn Siriwan's very gratifying, like others have said, to write something and have it appreciated by others. My husband and son have no interest.

    It has given me an escape and an outlet for my writing talents, and I LOVE writing Obi-Wan and Siriwan. My son thinks I should come up with original characters and write a book, but I haven't come up with anything yet. Nothing that grabs my interest like Obi does.

    But one thing writing FF had done is it had honed skills I had put away years ago, and thanks to people like Val who has really helped me with my writing, I'm a better writer, so maybe someday I'll get a good idea for an original story and actually be able to write it.

    I had a futuristic, sci-fi dream years ago that i have never forgotten. I wrote it in my journal with the intent of someday maybe making a story out of it. It had never completely left my'll see.

    So my son has thought I've become a little obsessed....maybe so...I don't know. :D
  10. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I was telling stories when I was very young. And they were about dwarves living in mushroom houses and I made drawings to accompany those stories.

    And with years gone by and a new job with longer commuting between home and work (on my bike) I found interesting stories on the internet, loved those and started to write the stories that came to me and are coming during those bike rides.

    And still love to write and make storyboards, paintings and more for my stories.

    Real life events often find their way into my stories, giving me a way to release the often emotional events.
  11. Ubersue

    Ubersue Jedi Youngling star 3

    Sep 1, 2008
    I'm sure glad I didn't turn him down, because now he's my awesome geeky boyfriend. :D

    I think fanfic's only an addiction if you use it to hide from real life and in doing so your real life suffers. Sometimes it's hard to know where the line is between using something to cope with stress and using it to hide from reality. But I guess for me the issue isn't so much the compulsion to post something and see responses, but to retreat inside my head where all my stories are. :)
  12. Harpalyce

    Harpalyce Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 19, 2010
    Ok, I've been thinking this over...

    I feel like there's two different "addictions" here...

    1. The motivation to write, wherein the joy of creating is the reward

    2. The motivation to receive feedback, where attention and comments from others is the reward

    Both of these things are perfectly natural motivations.

    I'm not going to knock the social motivation too hard, either. It's perfectly natural. Humans are social animals. We gather together in groups, we want to associate with one another, and we want to be well through of in our communities. I'd be a complete hypocrite if I said that it wasn't a powerful incentive, either; my day's made - or my week! - from one of the great reviews I get from people like Valiowk or EmilieDarklighter.

    I also think that creating is an essential part of what it means to be human. I won't get gushy and religious on y'all, but I believe there is part of the soul that cannot be satisfied unless a person is creating something useful. Fanfiction is just an extension of this, as is all writing.

    If you feel like you're truly 'addicted', my advice to you is to realize that moderation in all things is crucial. It's not all about this drive to create, and it's not all about this drive to get feedback and respect, either.

    I feel like on the internet sometimes we confuse this motivation for social status as motivation to create. And I feel like sometimes this need to create isn't fully satisfied by just writing on the internet, where - let's face it - your stories are very ephemeral. It's hard to pick up one something and say, "I did this".

    If you're struggling with it, or you're at a point where you feel like your relationship to fanfiction is getting unhealthy - an 'addiction' - my advice is to go do something with your hands. I'm not saying something original or non-fandom related. Just do something physical that creates a physical object, something you can pick up and toss across the room. Draw your original character, make a simple plushie of your favourite person from Star Wars, make a necklace like the one you think is like what appears in one of your stories, etc, etc...

    I used to think creative drive could be filled by writing online alone until I explored my other hobbies a bit. Although it may, to the rest of the world, end up with a photograph online being the final product, there is a great amount of pleasure in picking up my fancy ball-jointed doll and manipulating fabric and posing her just-so - actually doing something with my hands with an object that has weight.

    So there's my two cents, take it or leave it as you will. :)
  13. Sara_Kenobi

    Sara_Kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Sep 21, 2000
    I think real life has an annoying habit of getting in the way of my time on the Computer to actually sit down and write something. I still write, of course, however not as often as I once did. My job requires me to write every day, so I find it difficult to sit and write at home sometimes. Is writing Fan Fiction an addiction? It certainly used to be for me, however I would say it's died down to a wonderful little hobby for me that still proves to be a nice little escape from the outside world. For over ten years now, I've been involved with either reading or writing Fan Fiction, across multiple fandoms. I find writing to be a great way to relax and enjoy myself. I have never entertained being serious with my writing. I hope to continue to have an interest to write, well into the future. As long as I continue to have that interest, I know I'll be here.
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