If you’ve been around for some of my previous articles, you’re probably aware that I write fanfiction; I have for over six years. I still write to this day, and I have a lot of fun exploring and expanding on worlds and characters that I’ve fallen in love with. It’s a love letter (and occasionally hate mail) to the original source, the way I see it. Recently, I did the math, and I’ve amassed 807,631 total words posted since I started having an online fanfiction presence in 2016.
20 percent of that (160,492 words) is from one fanfiction, the longest thing I’ve ever written.
I never really thought, when I started planning for it, that it would reach that length. Does anyone ever plan for something that becomes more than a passion project to be that long? It was, at first, just a passion project. I loved the characters I made for it, wrote every word with care. Sure, three-quarters of my characters end up dying in the story, but I still developed them in their own ways.
From the time I started planning to the time I finished writing and posting, three years had passed. And, honestly, once I finished, I didn’t know what to do with myself. When you work so hard on something like that for what felt like an eternity, you have a hard time moving on from it. I’ve had a hard time moving on from projects smaller than that before. I haven’t hit anything near that length since, not even the 50,000 during NaNoWriMo.
Last year, around this time, actually, I was going to write an article about how accomplished I felt and how I had already used that momentum to write so much more that I loved. As I soon realized, though, I couldn’t really do that. I published far less work last year than I was used to, and I felt unproductive if I didn’t have something new to show my readers at least once a month. I wasn’t as satisfied with the quality of my writing, and I kept bouncing around between my unfinished projects, trying to find one I could focus on long enough to complete. Even now, I had to struggle to finish a very short, two-chapter fanfiction, and I’m still only satisfied with the first chapter with no motivation to rework the second more than I already did.
If you’re a writer, then you probably know what this kind of writing block feels like. It happens to everyone from time to time, with various lengths of how long it has a hold on you. Funny, actually, since I have an article about tips to help writer’s block. Looks like I should take my own advice, huh?
So what’s the takeaway of this article, you may be asking, which is a perfectly valid question given that this seems to not really have one. But I do have a takeaway for you lovely readers! Be kind to yourself when writing. Give yourself the time to recover motivation. Don’t feel the need to update every set amount of time. Just, honestly, take the time to write what you want to, no matter how “bad” you perceive it to be. It doesn’t need to be for anyone’s eyes but yours. I wish you luck in your future projects!