I owe my love of writing and fanfiction to Harry Potter. When I was sixteen, the Harry Potter films finished. It was 2011, the year I left high school, and I walked out of the cinema after seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in floods of tears because my childhood was officially over. No more books. No more films (heh, so I thought!).
It was all gone.
I was actually on holiday at the time, and I remember sitting on my hotel bed that night and scouring the internet for anything Harry Potter to comfort me. I stumbled upon Mugglenet and their Fanfiction page and my life changed forever... Cliché I know, but it is the honest truth. Fanfiction has saved me in more ways than I could ever explain.
I began by simply reading. Reading any stories I could find, absolutely blown away at how much there was and how much I'd been missing out on!! It was insanely fun, trawling through many stories, figuring out what I liked and didn't like, learning all the jargon (for a newbie, there was A LOT to sift through), and wondering how I could join in. Throughout that summer, most of my spare time was spent on fanfiction websites, not just Mugglenet. I didn't find AO3 until very very recently (2018), so my main go-to ended up being Fanfiction.Net.
Flash forward a year and I found the courage to start writing. I was taking A-Level English (above GSCEs but before University) and other subjects which involved writing a lot of essays and I would spend free periods in the library at a computer or a laptop. Guess where I picked up my procrastination habit? Yep, fanfiction writing. Instead of essay writing, I began figuring out potential plots, making a character notes, and even beginning to write chapters. My writing itself wasn't limited to the Harry Potter fandom, but my discovery of my passion for writing and fanfiction absolutely is.
Other fandoms I have written for since: Primeval, Thunderbirds, Supernatural and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
In 2014 I started University, taking BSc Geology. By this time, I had eighteen stories posted on my FF.Net author page, including two 40,000+ novellas. Like a naive teenager, I assumed I could carry on with my fanfiction writing as an outlet while I was studying for my degree. Heh, was I wrong... University sapped every single creative ounce out of my being. It hurt. A lot. Things got worse at the beginning of my second year of university as I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and put on medication. I had such a severe spiral I dropped out a university for a year to look after myself as I was very unwell.
Even during my time away from university, my love of fanfiction completely dwindled. Depression has the habit of sucking out all of your interest for things you previously loved, leaving you fatigued and feeling pretty damn sh*t. Probably like a dementor, though copious amounts of chocolate sadly cannot cure depression. I think what reignited my love for fanfics was rereading some of my own stories back and actually being able to admire my ability - I was proud and wanted that feeling back! So I started from the beginning, reading, and reading until the courage to write returned.
And I've never looked back. Honestly, my writing is the most amazing and useful outlet when I have my bad days. Fandoms mean community and I feel like I am socializing when talking to other fans on social media. That and so many fans can be incredibly supportive if you ever need to rant about things. Two of the most powerful fandoms I am currently in: Supernatural and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I don't write much Supernatural fiction BUT the fans are just incredible. And don't get me started on Cursed Child, the Harry Potter theatre production; this fandom gives me a reason to smile every. single. day.
I don't necessarily have plans to become an actual author of original fiction, but I do know that I will carry my love of fanfiction throughout my life and through to the other side of the veil. Fanfiction is the best thing to ever happen to me