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02 December 2008 @ 01:25 pm
Is Fanfic Worth It?  
I have a lot to do today since I slacked yesterday, but I am going to stop and talk a minute about fanfic (and I'll post those caps when I take a break later). I've talked about this before, but I'm going to again.

Disclaimer: This is just a reflective and conversational post. This is also not a debate on whether people should write fanfic or not. Also, this isn't meant to solicit encouragement or anything. I just like to talk :P



It's no secret I love fanfic. I think I always will. There is something satisfying and comforting in writing fanfic. Fanfic provides a unique sense of closeness to characters we know and love. Everyone writes or reads fanfic for different reasons, but that personal connection remains.

But I sometimes wonder, why should I bother? Is writing fanfic worth it?*

I'm not talking in terms of feedback. I won't deny that I love feedback and I'm disappointed when I perceive something as hard work and I don't get any. But I've been lucky in that aspect. I may have never been a BNF (Big name fan), but in SG-1 fandom I received a decent amount of feedback and recognition. It's not the same with SPN and I whine about it sometimes, but I still receive more than some people can say. And I've written a couple of Sv/Superman stuff, but nothing major. So is my question feedback driven? Likely in part, but not the main focus.

You spend months, maybe, on this complex story that you put tons of effort into. Then you post it online. Done. That's it. So was that time well spent?

Mind you, that isn't much different than publishing. You write a story. Send it to your editor. After revisions and what not, it gets published (online or in print). Done. That's it. Maybe some monetary compensation. But it's over. Time to move on.

So does worth then mean it's just monetary compensation? I'd like to think it's more than that. Most people know writing is not the field to go into if you want to be rich.

It has to be something else, then. I don't know.

I just wonder why? Fanfic is fun. I like it. I've become a better writer from it. And that is a good enough reason in and of itself.

However, I'm a writer in the publishing aspirations sense. While I've had a stories and poems published, I aspire to bigger things. I'm highly ambitious and have my mind set. That's just the way I am wired.

Every moment I sit writing fanfic is time that should be going to profic.

For some people, they can write both fanfic and original fic and pump out tomes of material. With everything else going on in my life, that's kind of impossible for me LOL

I promised myself a couple of weeks ago that aside from fics I owe people and a couple of projects I want to finish, I was giving up fanfic completely. The thing is I don't want to. But I can't see the value or worth in continuing it if, as an aspiring profic writer, it takes time away. Yet at the same time, it is an outlet and we all need outlets to help us manuver through life.

Finding balance would be ideal. I just wonder if I'm kidding myself and just using fanfic as a crutch.

I basically have two arguments in my head: write fanfic in moderation because it makes me happy; happy is a good enough reason vs. cut back significantly because it's getting in the way.

The true answer may be in the middle somewhere. Or, it could be an answer I don't want to hear.

I've gotten better at this over time, but it's still something that nags at me. I've cut back my fanfic writing like in half. Logically, my original fic should have doubled. (It hasn't.) That leads me to believe that fanfic isn't THE problem for me. It's something else. Still, I have to be careful.

Also, I'm not questioning the worth of fanfic in and of itself. (I think fanfic is great.) I am questioning it's worth in alignment with my goals.

I'm opening this up for conversation not just for me but for maybe some of you who might be wondering the same thing. What do you think? Do you have similair or different issues? Is this an non-issue to you? Are you an aspiring writer, a published writer, or 100% fanficcer? We all have different goals and different problems to face. Feel free to talk about them.


*Obviously, this is aimed at myself. People who don't want to write for publication might not have this problem and may have a different set of concerns. Some people might not have this comflict at all or don't care. So I am not generalizing for everyone here.
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Library Alterna-Chick ;): Writerjedishadowolf on December 2nd, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Fanfic is comfort food to me. When I get stuck on original fic (which happens way too often) I come back to fan fic to get the voices in my head talking again. The ideas start flowing and I feel better about everything so I can get back to my original stuff.

I am an aspiring author, but honestly, I question that aspiration almost daily. Published or not I'll always write. It's my hobby, and I love doing it. But once published it seems like you're no longer a writer for love of the craft/art. You're a Pro - you have to market yourself because the marketing dept. at the publishing house can't focus on you solely, so now you're a writer plus an advertising agent. Then you have deadlines - what if writer's block gets in the way? You miss deadlines and that looks bad. Not to mention the monetary compensation doesn't really add up to the amount of time and effort you put in until you hit the big time and only a few of the many talented writers out there ever hit the big time.

Makes it real difficult for me to step away from the fanfic and focus on the pro stuff when the pro stuff appears more like headache and hassle than love and enjoyment.
Working for the Mandroid: Battle Readymoonshayde on December 2nd, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
It's definitely tough when writing becomes a job. Since you are on deadlines, you have to treat it as such. And framing your mind to treat it as fun (while it still is work) can be really hard. I know I struggle with it myself.

And you are absolutely right about the marketing part.
Library Alterna-Chick ;): coffee=storyjedishadowolf on December 3rd, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
Yeah - see that's why I fail at NaNo every year. I can't work on a deadline like that - s'also why I stay away from the fic-athons, every time I give myself a deadline like that it becomes flippin' hard to write anything. I'll have to have five or six books written before I can try to get published, otherwise I'll never hit a deadline like I'd need to. :)