I can link to the post!
It’s such a cool song! (◕ฺ∀◕ฺ)☆
I just got an email from an online friend I’ve not heard from for literally years. It was not the rekindling of the valuable friendship - one that had lapsed through neglect - which I’d hoped for.
The middle and both ends of it was that I’m wasting my abilities writing fanfiction when I should be doing it professionally, and that while they’re disappointed in my lack of progress from when they knew me before, they’re not surprised by my failure.
Fuck me, but I actually said something along these lines to a friend once.
She is the most brilliant of writers and used to be utterly devoted to her craft. Her fic gradually tapered off, and I don’t think I was the only one who was disappointed.
For her part, she wasn’t very happy when she wasn’t writing. She didn’t really talk to anyone after she stopped posting, but I managed to pick up that she was busy with a white collar job she found mind-numbing. This is just conjecture, but I imagine her getting back from work and hating everyone and everything so much that it impeded her ability to enjoy writing.
When I wrote to her that she might consider cutting back her work hours to spend more time on writing - as if it were that easy - it was more than likely extremely offensive to her. I didn’t mean to be a dick, but that’s no excuse. I regret hurting her, but apologizing at this point would only make things worse, which sucks, because I miss her.
Still, I wish a statement like “people would pay to read your original writing” weren’t considered such an insult in fandom. To me, it’s a combination of two sentiments:
(1) I want you to be fairly compensated for your talents. You should be able to pay the rent doing this amazing, amazing thing you do so very, very well.
(2) I want you to be able to quit the job you hate so that you can spend more time doing the thing you love. You would win, and everyone else would win because we would get to read more of your work and share it with people outside our small circle of fandom.
For people who can afford it, there is an established path of going to college, majoring in Creative Writing, and then going on to get an MFA. Along this path, there are multiple opportunities for publication and self-promotion. Being part of an active fandom community can be just as intellectually stimulating, educational, and skill-developing as the best of degree programs, but there’s no real path laid out for us for concerning “what to do next” as we get older and need to support ourselves financially.
I can’t help but think that this has to do partially with the way that fic isn’t considered serious writing by many professional authors. I also can’t help but wonder how much of this is tied up with gender, as well as the expectation that women won’t receive money for their work.
In any case, I wish that we could talk about “what happens next” for a fic writer without everything being tainted by the specters of people like GRR Martin, who say that fic is for amateurs, and by people like Cassandra Claire, who is who she is.
Sure, it’s empowering to do what you enjoy, but it’s also empowering to be able to make a living by doing what you enjoy.
So how do we do that? I really want fandom to have this conversation.