Yay for Education & Fan Fiction!

It’s taken two years but your gal is finally a student again. I’m finally getting on with my career goals. Next week my Masters course finally begins and I can stop saying finally.

I’m in a place where I know I’m ready to take this step. Health wise, I’m on new meds and finally feel more in control. I’m not having to worry about my headaches getting in the way as much, if I do have a flare up its only lasting a few days and not a few weeks. While I’ve still got a long way to go when it comes to changing medication, I’m in a much more stable place. I know I’m likely to never not have to take medication or not be a bit more cautious at times so I don’t make myself ill but I’m getting to a point where it’s not taking over all my priorities. I’ve gained some focus back which I can use for my course.

More importantly I have my writing mojo back. The last two years I’ve had ideas here and there but nothing that has really excited me. When I finished university, I was dealing with so many issues that I didn’t have the energy for writing. When you tell someone you want to be a writer, guaranteed you’ll get the response ‘Just write then’, as if it can be done just like that. But as with anything creative, the idea, inspiration and material is coming from you. If you’re mentally drained, you prioritise getting through your day over creating a whole new person or world. In order to come up with any idea, you first need to live in your own shoes before stepping to another’s. I think at times over the last couple of years, I’ve been struggling to do this & therefore writing has taken a back seat. That is until around April this year when I began writing fan fiction.

I’ll admit I used to belittle fan fiction but it’s safe to say my opinion has changed. From the beginning of this year, I began reading fan fiction after seeing a piece come up on my Tumblr feed. It was incredibly well written and it got me hooked, I started to look for more. While I found more great work, I also found work that was lacking in punctuation and grammar or real originality. Fan fiction needs a balance of the familiar and the original, I found myself critiquing work and saying how much better I could do. So one night in April I decided I would do better, created a Tumblr account for my creative writing and posted my very first fan fiction. I opened myself up for requests, which started to come in slowly. Fast forward to now where I write fan fictions for four different television shows, I’ve written 50 pieces and that includes a 9 part series, I’m currently working on about 9 requests and I have over 500 followers. It’s not just fan fiction I’m posting either, I post original poetry and prose and it gains a fair bit of attention too. I get messages from readers telling me they loved a certain piece or really enjoy my writing. The other day after commenting on someone’s work, I received a message from this writer to say how excited that one of their favourites commented on their work and that they’d read all my work. All this positivity has got me writing again, I’m working on something, whether it be my own original work or fan fiction, every day and I prioritise it.

Fan fiction has reminded me how fun writing can be, it leaves out the stress of creating from scratch but still gives you the opportunity to creative with plot and setting and so on. It shouldn’t be belittled, consider that 50 Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan fiction. While it is not a literary masterpiece, it is clearly doing well and people obviously enjoy it. Enjoyment is the essence of writing from both sides, I read and write because I enjoy it. It’s why I’ve stuck with it for so long, it’s why I know want to do it for the rest of my life. It’s why I’ve chosen to continue my education in creative writing because one day I’ll maybe be able to teach that to someone else, writing should be fun!

I’ve already began perusing the materials for my Masters and I couldn’t be more excited to start. Life hasn’t treated me great in this month and I’m in much need of a step forward rather backwards. Instead of saying ‘I’m applying for a masters’ when people ask me what I’m up to, I can finally say ‘Oh I’m studying for my masters’ and you can make your own mind up on what sounds better.

This is the calm before the storm, it’s likely in a few posts time a bit more of a stressed out Taylor will be writing. Present Taylor actually envies her a little.

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Warning: clichés ahead.

So I’ve sat down with a green tea to reflect, like a gazillion blog posts before me. I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated the whole celebration of New Year until this year.

I was sensible this year, I stayed in for most of the night with my best friend and her dog. We watched films, treated ourselves to pizzas and chocolate and stayed sober the entire night. As midnight approached we went to a firework display the town over. At the stroke of midnight we gave each other that huge cheesy grin that Hogmanay qualifies for and hugged. We were surrounded by tons of people doing the same. Greeting each other with hugs and kisses and all the well wishes in the world. It was a pretty adorable sight to see.

While I’ve usually found making New Year’s plans stressful, only finding that it was another excuse for a party and while I’ve had fun at those parties, the next day comes with an inevitable hangover and a bit of let-down. Was all that fuss worth it? I think New Year is about coming to the end of a year and appreciating what you’ve got in your life. All the alcohol and party dresses aren’t necessary to appreciate your wonderful friends and family.

I have a feeling my reflections on New Year, have something to do with the kind of year I’ve had. 2015 has been full of ups and downs. I lost two family members early in the year and I’m still getting through that now. That, the stress of finishing university and my general lack of routine for the second half of the year have made me really ill. Unfortunately it’s not something I can really help, having a rare headache condition sucks. With all the negativity though, I can truly adore the positive in my life. I graduated with an honours degree in English and Creative Writing, seen some of my favourite bands live, had an amazing holiday to Amsterdam with my Mum, spent my 22nd birthday playing childish party games, visited my Dad’s for a lovely chilled break, I’ve dressed up in fun costumes for birthdays and Halloween, spent plenty of nights out with friends and I’m ending the year in a job which has its challenges but I enjoy it.

I’m very much ready for a new start, 2016 brings a nice clean slate. I’m not usually one for resolutions but I want this year to be all about writing. I’m determined I’ll finish my first novel, I started it as part of my final project for university so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. It’s an achievable goal and I know how satisfying it will be. So with this post, I’m starting the year as I mean to go on, writing.

Happy new year everyone, I hope 2016 is good to you all.