My Relationship with Confidence and Writing

This time a year ago, I published the final chapter of my first Harry Potter fanfiction: A Year Abroad. Before this, I had only ever posted one fanfiction about characters that held a very small audience and apart from that, my work was all private.

Since then, I have written over 270,000 words and received over 250,000 views with hundreds of reviews on my fanfiction stories. It seems strange that people from all over the world have read the stories that were written in my little village in Devon. I had never dreamt that my work could be so popular. But then I wondered: why did I not think that my work could be popular?

Throughout my adolescent years, I created hundreds of characters, many adaptations of myself and people I knew and attempted to build stories around them. However, most of their stories never reached a fourth page. I felt an overwhelming embarrassment, creating an entire world and people to live in it.

But I knew I was creative, and I knew I could write, at least English teachers had told me I could. So I couldn’t give up on this, I had to write.

When I was sixteen, I began a story, a book if you will. I carefully picked the characters, moulding them so that the protagonist was not just a version of myself and I wrote a hundred pages or so of plot. For me, this was a massive step. I had gotten past the fourth page, I had gotten past the fiftieth page and I had begun something truly promising.

But, studies and life got in the way and my characters and their stories fell to the back of my mind. That embarrassment crept back into my train of thought. Who was I to create a world? Who would care about what I wrote?

The story fell away like all of the others. But, I had gotten past the fourth page and I knew now that I had the potential to create something, something that I could be proud of.

Around this time, Gerard Butler had made me obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera. Here I did not have to create characters, or a reality, I simply had to write a plot. Once I started, I could not stop. My desire to write ruled my life and 33,000 words later, I uploaded my first fanfiction.

It was not the most sophisticated story, nor was it the finest grammatically, but it was mine. 100 people read my story in the first day that it was uploaded. I could not believe it, that 100 people could be intrigued by what I had to say.

This response spurred me on. I had to write more fanfiction. Hermione and Viktor were the obvious choice. This time, I uploaded my chapters as I wrote them and in doing so, gained some loyal readers. I couldn’t believe the amount of depth that their reviews went into. I received messages from people begging for more chapters, saying my uploads were their favourite part of their day.

Once I was finished, I had 100,000 views on my story and a new perspective on my writing.

However much I believed my readers and my confidence grew. I knew I had to let my toughest critic read my work. My Mother had always been critical of my style. Looking back, her comments were understandable, my writing was too wordy and pretentious. I was terrified. But I knew I had to let her read it.

Two days later, she came back to me with her thoughts.
“I think I can consider retiring early.” She said to me, insisting that I write my own work and get it published. I couldn’t believe it. My Mother loved my work. I had the approval of my readers, the approval of my harshest critic, I was on top of the world.

But it was only when I went back and read The Flower Shop that I truly grew confident in my work. I couldn’t stop reading and I cried when it came to the end. I might have been biased, but I knew that this was good and I was not ashamed to admit it.

I have now written two more fanfictions, that have garnered praise from all over the world. My relationship with my work is so different to what it was a year ago. I now have the confidence to look back at those 100 pages that I wrote when I was sixteen and write a second draft.

All of this came about because of my passion for characters. The love I had for them banished the embarrassment I felt. So now I am working to fall in love with my own characters. Because only then, will I write a powerful story.

Tell me, what is your relationship with your writing? And how did you gain confidence in your work?

If you’d like to check out my fanfiction, here is the link:

Until next time,

Stay peachy,
Paige x

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