• Member Since 12th Aug, 2019
  • offline last seen 17 minutes ago

Ninjadeadbeard


"Nothing is so trivial that it's not worth an extended, heated, hostile discussion." --Anonymous, 2020

More Blog Posts44

  • Friday
    Sunset Glimmer: COMPLETE

    Exactly what it says on the tin. The two concluding chapters of the story are out, and I can finally switch Sunset Glimmer over to Completed. I am very happy with how the story has come out, and with its warm reception here on FiMfic.

    Next week: Trixie. Tune in next Friday! Same Pony time! Same Pony channel!

    2 comments · 58 views
  • 2 weeks
    June 19 Update on Stories

    All right, so. Since it’s been a few weeks since I last did this, I’m going to give a brief update on the state of my stories.

    Sunset Glimmer just updated today. There will be six chapters and an epilogue in total, but I suspect the epilogue will land either the same day as the last chapter, or it will be part of the week after‘s update. Which brings me to...

    Read More

    3 comments · 94 views
  • 3 weeks
    We're Back!

    Yay! The Dark Times has passed!

    And now, even though it's Saturday, have some more Sunset Glimmer!

    Warning: This story keeps getting sadder. I don't know how, but it does.

    0 comments · 62 views
  • 6 weeks
    Late Night Regrets

    I should probably sleep instead of being up talking about story stuff. Probably. Oh well.

    Read More

    5 comments · 189 views
  • 6 weeks
    Trixie's fine, under warranty

    So, Trixie. I love the legend of Trixie, and I super enjoy every minute that I’m working on it. But, it’s probably not going to update for one or two weeks more. I had to throw out a big chunk, almost all of the chapter I was working on because it wasn’t up to my standards. And there is a small, but important, story I wanted to get done in the meantime. So there will be something

    Read More

    16 comments · 129 views
Mar
26th
2020

You Are Not Alone · 2:55am March 26th

Not a Doctor Who reference, I assure you.

Recently, another user on this site (who shall remain Anonymous) PM'd me. They were at something of a low point, and were wondering how I dealt with it all. The pseudo-fame of being a fanfiction writer. The envy and misery of coveting comments and likes. The pain of trying to both appease their inner editor, and the people who read their works.

They asked me, "How do you cope so well?"

And I whispered back, "No."

Or, "are you having a giggle, mate?" would be more accurate. Because, let's face it, this is something I think anyone and everyone who posts stories here deals with on one level or another. And, I told them that. In fact, we wrote back and forth quite a bit. Happily, they wound up in a better place by the end of the exchange. But it did end on a funny note. When they thanked me for listening and for talking with them about these issues, I told them that all they needed to do to 'thank' me, was to "Pass on what you have learned". And in between my giggling over a Yoda quote and crying over the fact that I'm the old, bitter hermit in that analogy, they suggested I should do just that, with a blog post.

So... here we are. I'm gonna preach about stuff, and try to say some things that I think people need to hear from time to time. Get the popcorn, because your resident monkey is about to dance. I'm willing to debase myself for less, so let's talk about some stuff.

This site, despite being a place to show off our written work, has some things in common with Social Media. Specifically, with regards to Likes and Comments. They're a literal addiction. Just like alcohol, or caffeine, or heroin. You get some on your story, and you want more. And like with any addiction, writers can find themselves in the position of hitting what I'm gonna call a "fame withdrawal". It's a real occupational hazard for fanfic writers on this site, I think. You put out something, maybe even something you're proud of, and you get some likes and comments. Maybe you even get featured!

And then, the withdrawals. When you’re stuck waiting for the green bar to fill up, you aren’t writing. You aren’t enjoying what you’ve written. You're staring at the bar. You're staring at the likes and the views.

This has two consequences. One personal, one social. Personally, you're sometimes gonna find yourself chasing that high. And in the process, you'll be tempted to write something to get back in that Feature Box, or something that your readers will like. And before you know it, you're not writing what you like anymore. And if you're not writing something you like, then why are you writing?

Worse is the second consequence. This is, ultimately, a hobby. It's meant to be fun, but it comes with all the typical social media tag-alongs that make internet-socialization addictive. The instant-feedback, the 'likes', and the praise (should we warrant it). It's still an addiction, to be clear. And it gets hooked into our hobby or pastime.

So now, we're miserable in our pastime. We want the views and the likes, but more and more we're writing stuff that doesn't personally interest us in that pursuit. And the more we write things we don't like, the more we slip further and further from the writer we wanted to be. Seeing others succeed, seeing others getting featured, is going to drive us nuts. The envy is what gets you. Seeing someone else get that view or like or comment by writing something they like.

And then, because good writing takes some level of self-reflection, you realize how petty that all sounds, and you lose the motivation to write at all.

But, there are ways to heal. And there is support out there. Allow me to quote myself, since I... probably can't write all that again, but better.

You asked me, how to get that happy, innocent spark back? I wish I could tell you. Or, I wish I could tell you that I've kicked the habit and pass along a tried and true method. But, there isn't one. It's a process. When I find myself being caught up in the game of 'will people like this, and will they comment on it?', I like to try new things. I take a step back from whatever project is getting me stuck in the weeds, and I focus on something short and sweet. When Anarchy started giving me trouble, I took a week off from it and started work on My Little Minister. Going from a cute and sweet kid's story with some overtones to an out-and-out cynical political satire helped my brain shake itself loose and start thinking of things differently. I wrote Memorial because Going Home was sucking up a lot of time and attention without getting me any from the community.

I think every fanfic writer who gets a hit of that sweet, sweet featured box goes through this exact process. It's a legit addiction.

Yeah, like that

If nothing else, we are not alone in our pain. It's a brotherhood, just like joining the fandom initially.

I personally find solace in taking time to write something that I don't expect to succeed. Just, pick an idea. A character. A scenario. Something I can knock out a 2-10k word story in a day or two, and go at it. Get something publishable. Grammar-checked, and legible. Then, publish.

If my answer feels like I'm just saying "Write more", then... yeah. That's what I'm saying. Write something for fun, and try to shut up the part of your brain that's screaming at you to get comments and likes. And if the feeling gets worse, pick up a second hobby to get away from it for a bit. I like booting up Rocket League or Crusader Kings and just vegging out on a game that lets me fall back on automatic processes and muscle memory.

Please keep in mind, just like with social media in general, people here don't always air out their laundry. Or, they only really share the high points of their life. The fact that I don't talk about my anxieties and fears (usually job or political/environmentally related) might make it seem like I'm coping better because I'm not vocally complaining, but that isn't the case. Everyone you see online has their own quirks and shortcomings.

You are not alone. And it's a strength to be able to own up and open up to someone else. Never forget that. There are a few bloggers here on Fimfic who own up to their weaknesses, and that makes them strong. Anyone on here that’s willing to tell the rest of us how NOT FINE they’re doing is stronger than someone who puts up a brave face and insists that nothing’s wrong.

The key to being happy, at least as I strive to be on this site, is to focus on writing what I want to write, and then focusing gitting gud, or getting views. The fear of disappointing others and the desire for comments is what hurts me the most, and it sounds like that's the largest negative aspect of the site and fandom for most people. For your own mental well-being, just write something fun. Something random. Just some 1-4k word story you think is funny/sad/deep/tragic/interesting/whatever and publish it. Maybe do a grammar and common-sense/plothole read-through, but just publish it right away.

See, that settles the most important factor. But, the best way to be a better writer is to write, so by writing more, you're grinding XP towards your next level of Author. It's a win-win. As for the negative qualities, this method can potentially get you comments, but as long as you drill yourself not to expect them, you won't be disappointed, but surprised when they do come in.

The last problem I see a lot of seems to be not wanting to disappoint readers. It's fine to feel like you want to do your best on something. That's A-Okay. But your readers aren't entitled to the sweat of your brow. Art should be a purely creative endeavor. It's true that artists want to be commercially successful, but true artists create in order to create. If it stops being fun or emotionally fulfilling, take a step back for a while to recharge. You don't owe anyone a single word more than what you wish to write.


And just what the hell did all that word-salad mean? Why did I write all of this down or copypaste myself so much?

Dunno. Maybe someone will read this and feel better. Whether you want to be a better writer, or you want more views, or you just want to write and can't help but envy those who are just better at it than you...

You are not alone. We're in this together. We all hurt. And we all can heal.

And now that I've given my Sermon-on-the-Mount.com, I think it's time I retreat to my dark crypt, from whence I shall rise once more to plague mankind.

Thank you for your patience.

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Comments ( 11 )

...

That...

That was deep.

I feel ya. Writing isn't easy, in any sense of the word.

This was a lovely little piece.

It holds more than a few valid points, I agree step back if you're feeling burned out.

Or switch to a story that's fun to you, I agree switching things up genre wise is an excellent exercise to keep one's sanity.

Thank you. :twilightsmile:
Just, yeah. Thanks. :pinkiehappy:

Words to live by.

Words to take to heart. Excellent encapsulation of the Fimfiction experience.

Very wise words indeed.

Whenever I pick something to write, the first thing I think is "What do I want to write?" Then of those ideas, I think "Now what do I think would do the best?" Silly stories that come to me on a whim, or when reading another story (including my own) tend to do the best.

This is one of the biggest reasons the majority of my stories are comedies: those are the ones I like writing the most, and it's a lot tougher to burnout writing them than with any other genre. Even so, I have a 3-story cap at the number of stories I'll write at any one time, and a 2-story cap on the number of incomplete stories I'll have at any one time to help prevent burnout. And even with this, I'll take an occasional break from writing anything. Now, I might cheat a little and start on a 4th story while still working on 3, but this may be the first 100 or 200 words, just to start things off, then I'll stop and wait until I finished one of the three stories I was on.

The advice I would give: write what you want, and if you really want ratings, write what you want and that you think would do the best. And don't try to write too many stories at once, especially multi-chapter ones. Seems like it's a common trap for writers, particularly the eager, inexperienced ones, to start on a story, start on another one, then another, and so on, before finishing the others.

Then they end up with four, five, six, or even more incomplete stories that they might never finish, and it's hard to get out of the trap once you get yourself in it.

I would even say that only the writers that have already written a lot of stories and/or KNOW what they're doing should have more than 4 incomplete stories at any one time.

Very wise.
When I was younger, I had this weird, deep-seated desire to be popular. I think part of it was because my older sister was popular, and I had no idea how to achieve the things she did. I think this site has actually eased some of that desire, because just knowing that I'm writing something other people enjoy makes me feel happy. When I first started, I had a goal to be one of the SUPER popular writers and become the next ShortSkirtsandExplosions or Pen Stroke! But now...I'm happy with my small band of followers, and I've managed to form deep connections and become true friends with quite a few of them.

5229117

Then they end up with four, five, six, or even more incomplete stories that they might never finish, and it's hard to get out of the trap once you get yourself in it.

Uh... guilty... :twilightblush:

5229160

I'm happy with my small band of followers, and I've managed to form deep connections and become true friends with quite a few of them.

That's the ideal.

Another user on this site (who shall remain Anonymous)

Anon! :pinkiehappy:

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