Mo (mofic) wrote,
Mo
mofic

How to Have More Fun and Less Aggravation in Fandom

That sounds a little more prescriptive than I mean. I don't think I'm an expert at fun or fandom, but I'm a pretty happy fan most of the time. I guess what I really want to communicate is what I do to make fandom more fun and less aggravating to me. I’d love it if folks would tell me their strategies as well.

I felt moved to write this after reading discussions in a few places where people have seemed to suggest that fandom isn’t much fun for them anymore, due to issues ranging from too much ill-mannered controversy to not enough feedback. I’ve said some of the things below in comments elsewhere, but it’s the first time I’m putting it all together.

Basically, I try to enjoy fandom by doing two things:

Thing 1: Participating in ways that are fun for me and avoiding participation in ways that upset, annoy or bore me

Thing 2: Participating in ways that help others; trying to be a good citizen of fandom.

These may sound contradictory, but I don’t think they are. There are lots of different ways to participate in fandom, and lots of them help other fans. So, I think I can do plenty of things that are totally self-indulgent and some others that are helpful, all while choosing only from activities I find fun. With some thought (and some trial and error) I’ve found what works for me. Here are some of them:

- My interests and talents lead me mostly to writing fanfic and participating in meta-discussion, so that’s most of what I do.

- I enjoy as a spectator other parts of fandom that I don’t have a talent for, like vids and icon-making.

- I voice my appreciation for those who can do things I can’t, like vids and icon-making.

- I friend people who write things I find interesting to me and don’t worry about whether or not they friend me back.

- I don't finish any story or post that I don't like at the start. I can be kind of persnickety (like, if there's a spelling or grammar error in the beginning, I probably won't read the story), but it works for me.

- I mostly stay out of flamewars and other kinds of interaction that bore me. When I slip up, I exit as gracefully as I can, including apologies for offending.

- I only feedback stories I have something positive to say about (since I don't finish the ones I don't like, that's easy). I always lead with the positive comment. If I have constructive criticism, I try to gauge the author's receptivity before offering it.

- I don't feedback as much as I should, but I'm working on it. When I do say something negative, I try to frame it in a way that makes it more palatable to read.

- I answer every letter of feedback I get. I try to engage the person who wrote to me, at least a little.

- I read little_details regularly and offer info if I've got it.

- I beta for a few people. If I can manage to (in terms of time available) and if I feel competent to do so (i.e. if I know the source material well enough and have any necessary specialized skills or knowledge), I beta for anyone who asks me to.

- I offer help with the NYC details that X-Men writers often need.

- I am very grateful to fans who help me, and I express that gratitude. I thank my betas, website designers, helpers of all kinds, both privately and in my series summaries.

- I try to be open to fannish experiences and POVs that aren't my own. I try reading in genres other than slash and in fandoms other than my primary one. I sometimes find a new enthusiasm that way.

- I have a number of things I just can't stand and don't read (e.g. romance, chan, mpreg, BTVS). I make clear if asked that it's just a case of different strokes for different folks, not a judgment on the fans who do like them.

- I don’t have any OTPs and I don’t have any pairings I think people shouldn’t write. If a couple doesn’t seem plausible in a story, that’s all it means to me – the couple doesn’t seem plausible. I don’t even really understand why someone would care what couples others write about.

- I concentrate on getting what I can out of fandom and not on the negatives.

- I do some challenges and such, but not many. I follow through on any of them I commit to doing. I read and feedback a number of other stories in any challenge I do.

- I write for me, primarily. Don't get me wrong - I love the fan letters and I think I've been really lucky to get what, by my lights, is a lot of them. But I don't write according to what gets more of them. I do things that I think nobody cares about but me, like the lit guides and all the research I do for the stories. I write long series when I've seen that short stories tend to get more response, at least in the short term. I do the occasional short piece and it’s very gratifying to dash something off in an hour, spend a day or two on beta and revisions and get feedback almost instantly. Still, it’s not where my major interest lies. So, I mostly stick to what I want to write.

- I don't really care if people get lots of positive feedback for something I think is crap. A lot of fannish resentment seems to go into that. I don't think much about who's getting positive feedback for stuff I think is crap. If I think it's crap I don't finish it, so I don't notice the positive feedback.

- I write. I have just gotten back to a series I was kind of stuck on for a while, and I notice how much more I enjoy reading fanfic and reading/participating in meta when I’m writing. I think it is much for fun when it’s not a spectator sport. Writing makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about fandom.

- I get a lot out of fandom, but I don’t expect it to be more than a hobby. I think it’s a wonderful hobby: fun, creative, sociable. It also costs nothing or next to nothing (at least how I do it – I know cons can get expensive) and can be done in 20 minute increments whenever one has time. It’s absolutely the best hobby I’ve ever had, but I find I enjoy it more when I’m enjoying the rest of my life more. If I’m feeling unhappy with fandom, I look to what else in my life might need fixing.

So, do any of those resonate with any of you? Any others you can suggest?
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 48 comments