The end of February had a big impact on me for some reason. I was feeling very down. I don't want to use the word depressed because I know people, a lot of family members, who actually suffer from depression and I know that I was not. Yet, I still felt very lonely and defeatist about things that were happening in my life. Perhaps it was homesickness finally settling in 8 months down the line. Perhaps I'm coming out of the honeymoon period at work. Whatever the reason, I was feeling a little, for lack of a better word, lost. But after a series of conversations and some serious thinking time, things began to look a little less muddled.
Let's begin with my first revelation about Fanfiction and Colouring books.
A week ago today I bought a 'grown up' colouring book from Waterstones. It's gorgeous.
I bought it so that I would have another option for relaxation. Reading and writing had hit an all-time slump for me and I was getting frustrated that I didn't have anything creative to do. So this seemed the obvious solution. A week later and this is my progress on page 1.
I'm very pleased and I can definitely say that this book is value for money in terms of how long I'm going to have it around!
But as I was colouring in, it occurred to me. Fanfiction writing, and colouring in a pre-inked colouring book are two things that are very similar.
It's always bothered me how easily I used to write Fanfiction when I was younger, and how challenging I'm finding writing my own stories now. On more than one occasion I've been deeply angry with myself.
"Come on!" I'd say, "You used to write thousands of words a day whilst keeping a part-time job, a relationship with a boyfriend and friends, plus school work all up to scratch. What's the matter?"
I have, however, come to the conclusion that this was because with the Fanfiction, half the work was already done for me, much like a colouring book. There were characters that were already fleshed out, on paper or on screen, as well as a built in audience of people who wanted to read these things and were constantly pestering me for updates.
But with my own ideas, I've got to start from literally nothing. I have to make you love or hate my characters. I have to craft the world around the reader and I have to make the story worth being read. Plus, there's no sense of obligation keeping me going. And that's not easy. Not at all.
So I've become a little less angry with myself now. And I have to keep reminding myself that although it's my dream to write and get a story published, what's written probably isn't going to be of much worth if I've beaten the words out of myself in a constant state of anger and frustration.
I'm also in search of some Beta readers / critique partner as that is another factor I think was key to my productiveness whilst fanfiction writing. So if you know anyone looking!
How do you get the most out of your writing, despite everything else going on in your life?