Something a bit more personal from me this time. I’ve done posts mainly about TV shows, films and the things that I love but today I’m going to talk about something that I really do adore and that’s writing and being a writer.
Now, that isn’t to say that I’ve published loads of books or write original stories. I don’t. I want to but I’ve never had the confidence to take on such a big job. There’s something really intimidating about making an entire world, filling it with characters that you hope people will like and coming up with a plot that’s both interesting and enjoyable. That isn’t to say I’m never going to, in fact I’ve got a few ideas and over summer I intend on fleshing them out and starting to do something original and hopefully fun.
But what I have been doing over the last six or seven years, I’ve lost track if I’m totally honest, is writing fan-fiction. Fan-fiction can get a bad rep and sometimes I understand why. It can be trashy or cliched or just down-right weird, but everyone has to start somewhere and looking down on fan-fiction can stop you appreciating a whole host of stories that are just as good as anything on the shelves in a book store. Sometimes better. One of my favourite stories, purely for the character development and wonderful way that the dialogue is written is a fan-fiction story. Is it perfect? No. But find me a book that is. Reading is totally subjective, I love Terry Pratchett, Raymond Chandler, Derek Landy and loads of other authors. But there are people out there who will hate them and that’s okay. Like what you like, there’s nothing more important in life than enjoying what you enjoy. Sod everyone else.
And that’s really what I’m trying to say here. For a long time I tried to hide the fact that I wrote stories, partly because they’re on fan-fiction and there’s a bit of a social stigma attached there but also because I was scared to be judged. At least on there it’s anonymous. My readers are judging my work rather than me. Generally they’re positive, sometimes negative but it’s easier not to take it personally. But sharing it with someone you know, under your own name, can be kind of terrifying. So instead of doing a Creative Writing degree, I did History (which I’ve loved for the last three years and wouldn’t change, it’s been amazing). But now, three years later and forced to consider what it is I actually want to do with my life I found out that I don’t want to go into academia. Sure, I could do it, I’ve got the grades and people seem to like my essays – which is all academics do as far as I can tell. But it’s not what I want, not what I love.
What I love to do is write. So I’m going to be doing a Creative Writing masters in a year once I’ve gotten a portfolio together. I owe this change of heart to someone who made me realise that it’s what I enjoy and therefore what I should do, and I can’t thank them enough. They’re amazing. So, if you’re reading this, thank you.
But I can also see it in my stories online. They have started to stray more from the established canon, they’ve made characters who only have one line or are just mentioned in passing take centre stage – so as I can practice making my own characters, and they’ve taken on plots that I enjoy and not ones that I think people want to read. They’re my stories now, with my characters and more and more my world because of the changes I make to the established canons.
I love telling stories, I love trying to understand people whether they’re in situations I can relate to or they’re off trying to save the world. Writing is also, no matter how hard people try to avoid it, a self-portrait. It’s all of our hang-ups, all the people we’ve ever met or known, all of our experiences or likes and dislikes, all crammed into a story or two.
It’s something that I’ve struggled with because for a long-time I wondered why anyone would be interested in me, I still do, and on the surface they probably wouldn’t be. I’m a History student, I’ve had a fairly normal life, I’ve got parents who love me and no real tragic backstory or origin myth. I’d be a rubbish super hero. But people are always more than you give them credit for, they’re contradictory and consistent all at the same time, they’re selfish, kind, intelligent, creative, you name it, they’re it. They’re what makes our own lives worth living. If life is truly a shared experience, and I think it is, why do it alone? Why not go out there and find the best people that you can find and share it with them? It’s what I’ve done and I love my friends, a fact which I constantly tell them and sometimes get shot down for because they’re too humble to see it. But who does realise how great they are? We always see the worst version of ourselves, not what other people see when they look at us. And when you realise that, well, that’s when you realise you’ve got something worth saying.
Stories are important, they’re what I love and they’re what I want to spend my life doing. So, I’m going to. I might wind up doing it alongside a job or it could be my job, who knows? But that’s not why I want to do it, I’m doing it because it’s what I’m passionate about. Some of the best advice I’ve ever recieved is really quite simple. Just three words, actually. It could probably sum up everything that I’m trying to say here. It’s this: “You do you”. And that’s my advice to you, just be yourself, do what you love, spend time with the people you adore and don’t waste time on those that make you feel bad about yourself or that you can’t stand but are too polite to say it. Do the things that matter to you and bugger what everyone else thinks.
You do you.
For anyone who might be interested here’s a link to my fan-fic page: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/2530889/chris400ad