Some days I’m worried I’ve forgotten how to be a fangirl. Other days, I’m wasting full hours creating a secret Tumblr to hoard all the bits of fandom I’m too embarrassed to let others see.
Needless to say, fandom can get a bit distracting.
The last thing that I found that made my stomach clench and my face flush thrust me into a weekend-long spiral, where I spent hours looking up fan art and reading fic (from lists cultivated by the people who drew the fan art.) I didn’t get as much writing done as I had planned, and I fell behind on my reading stack.
I could see this as a lost weekend…but I don’t. Because fandom can also be superbly inspiring.
That fangirl-y feeling is something that comes back to me every once in a while. Sometimes with works that attempt evoke that warm, vibrating feeling, like Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. Or works that hit all the right emotional buttons, like Steven Universe for me. Or it’s a little outside the actual media, the fandom surrounding a certain character or a pairing between characters that swells up, uncontrollably, maybe unpredictably, like everyone’s love for Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or any slash pairing ever, the things that drive people to create their own stories and situations so they never have to leave.
For me, fandom is a feeling of excitement for a story or a character so big, so purely emotional that, for a little while at least, it possesses you. It makes you feel so happy and alive, you just want to stay inside of it, whether that’s in rereading or rewatching, or creating and finding fan art and fanfiction. To take part in something that generates that feeling inside–that is so inspiring! The pure joy of it makes me want to create stories and characters that generate that feeling in readers. Heck, I want what I write to make me feel that way! When I think about my own characters, the people and situations I’m trying to piece together, I want my heart to pound. I want to be so excited about them, I can’t stop thinking about them, I can’t stop writing and editing and making them as perfect as I can.
“All the feels!” my critique partner recently wrote on an edit of my current manuscript. That excited warmth rose into my chest, and I could have cried. That’s what I want out of my entertainment, and that’s what I really want people to get from the stories I’m trying to write, trying to put out there.
All the feels.