My creative slump had become the norm for me over the past six months. Usually, I found inspiration in every day things; in snippets of overheard conversations, in strangers with their imagined stories, in beautiful words I read. But nothing was doing it for me anymore. I didn't pay attention to the possibilities that were endlessly around me and I certainly didn't pay attention to the desires inside of me.
But then I started reading. I mean, I always read. But I started reading more and more of what had always inspired me the most when I was in a rut: fan fiction. And in the endless list that's continued to build and build over the past year or so, I found some gems. Stories filled with slow-burn romance and camping trips and trope after trope that I had always been a sucker for. Tropes that I wanted to explore in my own work.
The fan fiction community has always been a welcoming one for me. The first time I ever posted on my favorite fan fiction website, Archive of Our Own (AO3), I didn't know what to expect. Instantly, however, a community of people gathered around me, leaving comments, subscribing to me, and giving me boundless kudos on my first fic and the various ones I have posted since then. These are people that don't have to like what I do. They don't know my face. I am nothing but a screen name to them. However, the amount of love they have shown to me over the years, the encouragement they leave for me on everything I decide to put out into the world, has made me realize that, hey, maybe I know how to do this whole writing thing.
As I was reading various pieces of fan fiction, I thought about my latest one. One that I had started (and subsequently abandoned) back in January. I read the comments on it, begging me to continue, saying they would read every single chapter, saying how much they were looking forward to the rest of the story and seeing where it would go. And I had no choice. This was something I could never abandon.
So I sat down and wrote until my fingers were numb. I forced myself to just write. But not in a bad way where creativity and passion are stunted but, rather, in a way that allowed me to let myself go and just write. I didn't focus on the editing until I was done with the chapter. After all, you can't edit a blank page.
What started as a 6,000-word, single chapter fic has suddenly turned into a 25,000-word (and counting) fic all within the span of about a week. The words found me, the passion I had begun to bury because of how often school assignments asked me to write paper after paper after paper was rediscovered. And it felt so good. It felt like home.
I wanted to keep writing. My fingers had that itch that I hadn't felt in a long time. It's back; my flame reignited. And I'm ready to keep going.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a fan fiction to write.