Writing To Write
No form of writing is pointless.
Or, put less passively: writing is always worth it.
I was recently asked if there was “even any point in continuing this mess” by a prospective client – she’d written something she had no desire to see published in print and really just wanted to share with the world online. She wanted to offer it up for free, but was willing to spend some money to help improve her skill.
Yes, there is a point. Take fanfiction writers, as our first example. It may seem pointless, and some authors are deeply and darkly against their characters being used by anyone else, but in fact, there are quite a few reasons to write fanfiction–I’ll go into my personal artistic views of the medium at a later date. For now, we’ll discuss just the point of writing fanfiction.
One: Entertainment. Obviously, fanfiction exists to entertain both yourself – or why would you write it? – and other fans of the same property. To bridge the gap between seasons, perhaps, or just to put the characters in a situation you know the official writers can’t. Or even to do things that maybe wouldn’t fit in the original but would be fun to watch.
Two: A sense of community. People like socializing and being recognized by a group of people. In a world where stage-fright can be your biggest downfall, getting used to being noticed can get you over that first hurdle. The internet is full of those who would hate you, and those who would love you. Being able to deal with these people on a rational level, to discuss things with them and do so without argument is an important thing to do. But beyond the diplomacy training is the simple feel of community that many people lack on a large scale – no one else in your family/area/class likes the show/book/movie/comic. But there is an entire world of people who might, and they’ll find you. Talking to like-minded people, those who’ll understand your interests and maybe add to them, is one of the great pleasures in life.
Three: Practice. Maybe you’re not ready to write your own story, or maybe you’re just so in love with the characters they dominate your mind, but you know you need to work on your writing. Using something established as a sandbox is a safe way to stretch your literary skills is one of the best ways to learn your craft.
Fourth: Sometimes it gets noticed. Fanfiction doesn’t always stay that way – Fifty Shades of Grey is an excellent example. And fanfiction writers can be noticed by the creators of their chosen properties and get hired to write officially – as with Transformers and Xena: Warrior Princess.
There is always a reason to write and share what you’ve written, no matter what you’ve created. The written word is still the most powerful force for change, and the most widely available.
But in the end, the ‘point’ is that you felt the need to do it in the first place – there is no greater ambition than wanting to share a message with the world.