I read a lot of fan fiction and fantasy serials and am always amazed with the quality of writing I encounter. In particular, I enjoy stories posted on Archive of Our Own (AOO). Many of the writers I like on AOO are in their twenties and university students who often share intimate details about their lives. Some of them speak of the struggle to write under the intense pressure of classes, exams, family life, and depression.
I find myself in awe of these young folks who still manage to keep their audience engaged with all the distractions and personal dilemmas going on in their lives. Most of all, they write beautiful serialized works that i keep coming back to even if they take a few months off to get things sorted. Just a few days ago, one of my favorite writers in AOO commented on her work saying they weren’t sure where the story was going. They expressed some difficulty in keeping up the pace of their work, wondering if it was working.
I decided to post a comment of my own and encourage them to continue even if they needed a break from writing. I also shared that i had just published my first fiction novel, which is a goal for them as well. My comment was well-received. Sometimes I wonder if I have the right to comment on anyone’s work. After all, I am (in someone’s sense) a dime a dozen writer myself. There are so many of us in this crowded field and many of us are hoping for a breakthrough to get our work noticed.
There’s really no time for delusions of grandeur. I kind of gave up on that a long time ago, preferring to write for myself rather than some archetype of success as an author. By doing this, I feel much more focused and relaxed to shape a story the way I want. Sure, I have moments where I wonder what the hell it is that I’m doing, just like the writers whose work I read on AOO. I am thrilled they can share the struggle with their readers because it remind me I am human and vulnerable to the feedback of my readers.
Yet, it’s the feedback that makes me want to continue. It’s the knowledge that I’ve touched a nerve or brought some kind of excitement to someone’s life through my story that makes me go on. I’m confident, regardless of my encouragement, that my fellow writer will continue with their story until they wrap it up or decide to let go of it. Here’s to hoping it continues, they take it easy, and they keep writing.