Friday, 8 June 2018

Busy being your own fandom

I recently met a fellow author in a conversation about craft. She was talking about how she was  making articulated dolls of the characters of her book. We're taking some seriously impressive figurines. She'd nearly finished the whole set, with plans for more.

Sometimes this kind of thing happens. Authors are often creative in other areas. Some will draw their characters, or compose theme music, or, in this case, draft dolls.

I'm usually keen to support local authors, especially if we share genres. "How many books you've got out?" I asked, in the interest of maybe buying one or two.

"None," she admitted, with some embarrassment.

I felt a little guilty, as I know how long publishing can take. "Estimated release date?"

"Um... I haven't finished it yet."

Excuse me? Here she was creating time-hungry articulated dolls and hadn't even finished the first book?

"Haven't had the time."

And here I knew I had come across someone who'd become so enamoured of her own work, she was busy being her own fandom. She'd given in to the magic an author weaves, getting lost in her characters and worldbuilding.

Granted, one does have to love one's work long-term, even if there are times one detests one's own work. (I always have a moment where I loathe or despair over my work, swearing I've stagnated or have written the story in the wrong direction. Yet it gets published.) But sometimes there is such a thing as taking that love too far.

Yes, you're the author. Love your work; it will be better because of it. But don't become your own fandom. Leave the gushing and the anime art and articulated dollmaking to your readers. If you wish to be a career author and not a dilettante, actively choose to finish your project. You don't have time to be sidetracked into non-productive projects at the sacrifice of your work.