I just spent the evening going through my old fanfic journal, tagging entries for easier sorting. At this point, it’s been more than five years since I was intensely involved in fandom, so it’s strange to go through the entries and see patterns I didn’t recognize at the time, or that I did recognize but later forgot.
I remembered how much I wrote in the four years I was most deeply involved in fandom, but I’d forgotten how much I used my fanfic to experiment and stretch myself as a writer. There’s a bunch of entries that start out, “I have no idea how this will turn out, guys, so be gentle while I figure this out!” and each time, my friends list responded with real encouragement that kept me going.
I wrote a lot more there about my personal life than I had remembered doing. My friends list was made up of kind, wise people who I could trust with very personal things. I’d forgotten how deep that closeness ran. I’d remembered putting a lot of time and energy into fandom, but I’d forgotten how much fandom gave me in return.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get back into fandom in the way I was before. I’m really trying to work on original novels now. The fandoms I used to focus on are all off the air, and I don’t know if there are any fans left who will care if I ever review the old seasons well enough to be able to finish writing the massive Sentinel/SG-1/SGA/Torchwood/Dr. Who fic I got stuck on. And in terms of new fic, I’m just not getting story ideas for the fandoms I’m into now, like Sleepy Hollow or Sherlock. But who knows? Maybe I will wend my way back someday. For now, it feels important just to acknowledge how much I owe to fandom, and what a big part of my life and my growth as a writer it was.