Borrowing ideas to inspire your writing
skills

                We
have spoken already this month about the controversial nature of fan fiction
and using others’ ideas as a jumping-off point for a new work of fiction. It is
true that writing fan fiction has its own set of challenges, but like most of
life, a good challenge is an opportunity for growth. So in this two-part post I
wanted to explore WHY and HOW writing fan fiction can help challenge and
develop your skills as a writer.

                Have
you ever noticed how hung up we sometimes get on coming up with a great idea
for a piece of writing? I think I have literally spent WEEKS trying to come up
with the “it” idea — that new and inventive idea that is going to inspire both
my readers and myself. You sit there staring at your blank document in the word
processor of your choice. That familiar white page with all manner of
distracting fonts and stylistic alterations to choose from and as zoomed in or
as zoomed out as you want it. You look through the fonts thinking maybe the “right”
font will inspire this new idea. Inevitably the screen gets minimized and
before you know it you’re on YouTube or Facebook doing anything BUT
brainstorming ideas.
                Okay,
well maybe that’s just what I do, but isn’t it true that as artists we put so
much time into coming up with that great idea that we sometimes forget to just
WRITE. So much energy goes into developing a good character or setting for that
character to evolve in that we end up thinking more than we write. Now thinking
isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to remember that the more we
write or practice our art form, the more we grow.
                I
find this especially true as a singer. When I am singing more and more at the
countless rehearsals and concerts that come around at this time of year, I am
reminded of just how much I learn about my own voice. How much I learn about
healthy vocal production so I can last for the whole month. How much better I
get technically as I am able to try new things and explore my voice better
because it is being used more.
                This
may seem like a simple concept, but with the basic (and arguably some of the
hardest) ideas already there with fan fiction, you have to work less as an “inventor”
and can focus on developing your writing as a “craftsman.” Obviously you have to
eventually come up with your own ideas, but fan fiction is less taxing on your
imagination and can therefore act as an excellent way to try out new things and
challenges as a writer. With less time spent staring at that blank white page
and more time just writing, there is a good chance your overall success in your
life as a writer will benefit.