It has been 300 years since I've worked on a particular fanfic and I want to return to writing it but I am filled with Concern About My Writing Abilities and Anxious Procrastination. I come to your blog to humbly request words of wisdom and/or encouragement. I will send an ask about Izzy Hands as humble offering.
OKAY. PULL UP A SEAT.
Firstly: read my blog title. No, really; read it. There's no such thing as wasted words, you improve every time you write, so if you go back to your fanfic and you write 1000 or 10,000 or even 100,000 words and you're like "man, this is shit, I don't want to post this" it's fully and 100% okay to delete all that crap and do it again but better. You've learned. You have upped your skill. You have levelled up, it's just that in Real Life (damn that reality thing) you don't get a cute little ding when you level up, you just have to believe it's happening.
Second, I genuinely think most creative skills are like riding a bike, except maybe not the way you expect. I don't think that when you pull that bike back up you just immediately and without fail know how to ride and don't fall off, but I do think that after an hour or so of scraping your knees and rolling around in the dirt, you will get the hang back, instead of it taking however many hours and hours it took for you to get that skill to begin with.
If you get back on the bike, steel yourself and start pedaling, you will remember how to ride eventually, even if it doesn't feel like that at first.
Assuming that you are not a vampire and are in fact a human being and are exaggerating somewhat with the claim that it's been three hundred years since you last wrote this fic, I also believe in seasons of creativity. Sometimes you'll output so much you're like, "Where did all these words come from?" and other times weeks or months or even years will pass with little to no writing (or art, or sculpting, or sewing, or whatever creativity you might do) to show for it and that's okay.
Plants go dormant in winter and bloom once more in the spring, and so will your writing if you let it. It's okay.
If you're worried about consistency, I highly recommend going back to your WIP and rereading it. Curl up in a cozy blanket with your phone or sit with a cup or tea or something and just...read through your fic again, and let yourself enjoy it as a reader, not just the author. Make notes in your head (or on paper, if that's what you're feeling) of what you like about it, what you don't like about it, and what things you've written that might be setting up future chapters or passages for you to draw from. My longest fic is an cql fic which is 86k and when I do go back to add more to it (which I do plan on doing), I will reread it all before I do, and not only get that reader-y feeling of, "Damn, I wish this had more chapters!" but also refresh my memory of where I was going with it and what my plans were.
Now, as for procrastination. Is your Anxious Procrastination because of anxiety about your writing abilities? If so, all of that above might just help, and at the end of the day you don't have to post anything you don't want to. You can write and write and it never see the light of day, if that's what you want.
You don't have to feel anxious about posting until the moment you decide to post.
For other kinds of procrastination my Official ADHD-Haver Recommendations are:
Get a timer app or one of those cube things, set it to a reasonable amount of time (say, 15-20 minutes) and turn it on/flip it over and tell yourself you will Work On The Thing for that long. Having an "end" time for if you struggle works wonders for giving my brain the feeling of leaving when things are too hard, but I rarely have to use it, I usually just keep going. I also find the physical act of turning on the timer (I use YAPA aka Yet Another Pomodoro App for Windows) clicks my brain into a different Zone than "sitting around messing with Minecraft" or "doing absolutely nothing and being mad at myself about it".
Find a playlist or some ambience or something. Earmark it as your Writing This Specific Fic music/sounds. Only turn it on when you're working, and turn it off when you're done. Pavlov is a strong tool for these things.
I'm a big fan of 4TheWords which is a gamification app for writing. I really like it (I have a referral code if you want one), and I find the fun vibes, the inclusive atmosphere, the cute lil creatures you battle while writing etc all really helps give me a dopamine hit while I work that I don't really get from just writing into Scrivener or something.
FocusWriter is another app I really like. You can customize the themes (so you could put like a blurry OFMD image in the background for the vibes while you write) and it's (optionally) full screen to minimize distractions.
If you're still struggling to get started, maybe find like a list of numbered prompts, roll a dice and write like 100-500 words of just... whatever comes up for whatever character or ship you feel like writing. Something just to get you started. I always find it easier to write once I've written, if that makes sense.
Always leave your work unfinished at the end of each day. Sounds daft, but what I mean is: always stop for the day mid-sentence, mid-word if you can. When you come back, you'll see, for example, this: "Izzy has never felt so betr" just lingering on your writing app and you'll go, "Oh yeah, betrayed," and you'll type out the "-ayed" and your fingers will just keep going to finish the sentence, and the paragraph, and so on. That said, if you're posting a final chapter of something, maybe just start the first sentence of whatever you want to write next? Even if you don't come back to really dig into it, you have that word to finish. (I left mine at the end of a sentence today and I am mad at myself for it)
Reread the comments on your fic, if you have them. Let how much people love and enjoy your work wash over you.
Open your writing app of choice and write down all the reasons you're anxious on a bulleted list, then go back, hit enter on each one, tab in for a bullet underneath, and argue with yourself. Tell yourself why your anxiety is so silly and why you're super wrong. Not only does it get you typing into your writing app (see what I did there???) but you'll be surprised how much debating yourself can help with anxiety.
I find most of my own Anxious Procrastination comes from fears of publishing (both my original stuff and my fic), because the idea of Putting Things Out There To Potentially Never Be Finished (hi, yes, I have ADHD and I never finish a damn thing unless I try So Hard It Hurts - see also: my 80k unfinished cql fic) and then am I not a Failure? Am I not a Let Down?
But I also got some amazing comments on that fic, from people who genuinely got a lot out of it, even if it did never get finished (so far 😠) and so I go back and read those, and remember that most of the people who commented on those chapters didn't... really care, if it never finished. They cared that the specific chapter that really got to them existed to begin with.
And I also think of Game of Thrones a little (well, the books). If he never finishes those books, would it take away from the joy people got from reading the ones he did put out there? I don't think so.
So I try to focus on that, with my own anxiety.
This got a little rambly (what, Jess? You? Rambling? Never!) but I hope it helped. Let me know if it did or didn't, please! 💖 And good luck with your writing endeavors!
buddie & 2.) things you said through your teeth and/or 20.) things you said that i wasn’t meant to hear
we didn't know each other (but baby it was fate)
buddie | different first meetings | 1700 words
Look—Eddie isn’t blind, alright?
Sure, he spent more than thirty years of his life deeply repressed and refusing to label himself as gay, but he’s worked through all that. It took a shit ton of therapy, a lot of self-reflection, and more than a few wine nights with Karen, but he got there. Eventually.
So, when he says that the guy sitting across from him at physio is hot—well. He’s not so repressed anymore that he can’t freely admit it. Take that, Frank.
Eddie pulls out his phone from the pocket of his sweats, slouching down in his seat a little so that he can glance at the blond-haired, blue-eyed dreamboat without raising suspicion. He navigates to his text thread with Karen and Hen, typing out a quick message.
There's this guy at PT. Like a stupidly hot guy
Edmundo, I'm working right now
Tell me about him
No, wait. Send me a picture
I absolutely will not send you a picture of the stranger in my physio's office
You're the worst
You love me
I'd love a picture more
Eddie pauses, lip caught between his teeth. One picture couldn’t hurt, right? The guy is absorbed in his book — it’s brightly colored and looks like it’s about…cults? — so it’s not like he’s looking at Eddie. Eddie could definitely sneak a picture. It’s for Karen, anyway. Not for him.
That’s what he tells himself as he taps into his camera app and balances his phone on his sternum so he can get a full-body shot of the man. He’s wearing a pair of grey sweatpants and a baby blue hoodie that’s doing wonders for his eyes, and there’s a birthmark, Eddie thinks, over his eyes that he’d really like to press his thumb to, for some reason. The man is so engrossed in his weird cult book that Eddie thinks it’ll be no issue to take a quick snap, send it to Karen, and get on with his day.
Except, the last person who used the camera was Christopher, who had the flash on because he was taking a picture of the underneath of his bed, and Eddie’s sound is perpetually on high just in case there’s an emergency and someone needs to get a hold of him. Normally, neither of those things would matter, really, but apparently, they do when you’re being a fucking creep in the waiting room of your physiotherapist to appease your nosy friend’s curiosity.
That’s all to say—
The flash goes off, the camera makes an awfully loud shuttering noise, and Eddie says through his teeth, “Oh, Jesus fucking Christ.”
The man looks up, and Eddie’s pretty sure he’d prefer to be in Afghanistan right now, because there’s absolutely no way he can talk himself out of this. They’re the only people in the waiting room beside Anita, the receptionist, and Eddie certainly isn’t pointing his phone at her.
“I am—” Eddie starts, wincing before he can even get the rest of the words out. He’s genuinely going to kill Karen after he changes his name and finds a new physiotherapist and probably gets a goddamn face transplant or something. “So sorry,” he finishes, a little lamely.
The guy tilts his head a little, tipping his book down so it’s resting on his knee. “Did you just take a picture of me?”
“No,” Eddie says immediately, before he glances down at where his phone is still pointing at the other man. He drops it into his lap and makes a wounded noise. “Okay, yes. But it’s not what you think.”
“So you’re not taking photos of strangers in your PT’s office with your flash and sound on?” he asks, sounding all too knowing for Eddie’s comfort.
Eddie bites on the corner of his mouth. Anita’s got a pair of AirPods in, completely oblivious to their conversation, so she’s going to be no help. He briefly considers actually fleeing, but getting this final clearance from Jasper is required to put him back on full duty, so the department knows his shoulder is back to its pre-shooting self. And it’s not like Bobby’s actively been keeping him out of the action, but he’s definitely been more careful; Eddie’s been running the winch for Tommy and Chim more than he’s been doing anything himself, and pretty much everyone at the station refuses to let him lift more than fifty pounds, so yeah. Eddie really needs Jasper to sign off on his back-to-work forms.
“Okay,” Eddie drawls, dragging out the word a little. “So it was it looks like. But it’s not—I promise I’m not. A serial killer, or something.”
“Do serial killers generally take pictures of their victims?” the man asks, a little curious. “I feel like that would be a crime blunder. It’s like, literally evidence.”
Eddie blinks. “Are you an expert on the inner workings of serial killers?”
“I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts.” The blond purses his lips, narrowing his eyes a little. “You don’t look like a serial killer. Neither did Ted Bundy, though, I guess.”
“I think that’s a compliment,” Eddie says, frowning. “That’s a compliment, right?”
“Was taking my picture a compliment?”
“Yes,” he says, too quickly to pass off as anything but embarrassingly earnest.
The guy grins. “Then yes, that was a compliment.”
And Eddie—blushes, because apparently, he’s sixteen years old and still being teased by his older sisters about being overly attached to Leo Vasquez from his homeroom. “I’m uh, Eddie. Diaz,” he says. It’s only polite. That’s obviously the only reason he does it.
“Evan Buckley,” he says, and then pauses, amends, “Buck, actually.”
“Buck,” Eddie echoes, and there’s something—familiar about that, actually, but he can’t quite place his finger on it. Maybe they’ve met on a call? Except Eddie’s certain that if he ever met Evan Buckley before, he’d remember, because he’s—
Yeah. Eddie’s still blushing.
“Nice to meet you, man,” he says, hoping his voice sounds at least halfway to normal. “You uh—what are you doing here?”
Eddie wishes, actually, that he’d never started therapy. At least when he was a repressed mess, he didn’t shove his foot so far into his own mouth that he could feel it in his stomach.
Eddie’s about to stand up and walk out of Jasper’s office and right into the street, probably, but then Buck laughs, all bright and sunny, the corners of his eyes crinkling, and Eddie shrinks back into his chair, the back of his neck hot.
“What are any of us doing here?” Buck says, waving his book around to gesture to the room. “I had a crush injury a few years back. I still do physio from time to time, when it gets bad.”
And suddenly, Eddie knows exactly where he knows Buck from. He snaps his fingers, pointing, like an absolute fool. “You’re Buck.”
Buck blinks. “Yeah. I thought we established that already?”
“No, like,” Eddie says, and he flaps a hand through the air too, “you’re Buck.”
“You’re losing me, man.”
“Evan Buckley of the 118,” Eddie explains, watching as something in Buck’s eyes flicker. “Right? The crush injury—two years ago, the ladder truck—”
“I didn’t realize I was a household name,” Buck says with an easy grin, but Eddie can see something beneath it, something hesitant. Like he’s used to getting sorrys or condolences for the injury that took him out of commission permanently.
“You are at the 118,” Eddie says. “My team—man, they sing your praises so hard. I feel like a probie in your shadow, man.”
“You’re at the 118?”
“Have been since the tsunami,” Eddie confirms. “I was at the 136 before, but our station was shut down, and I got transferred permanently.” He pauses, leaning back a little in his seat. Both their feet are kicked out, and if Eddie just stretched a little bit, he’d knock the toes of their sneakers into each other. “I kind of feel like I’m meeting a celebrity.”
“You’re exaggerating,” Bucks says, just as a pretty blush begins creeping its way up his neck. “I’m not—it’s not a big deal. It was just a freak accident—”
“Buck,” Eddie says, and he does knock their feet together then, just to get Buck to look up at him. “It’s not—they don’t talk about your injury.”
Buck blinks at him. “What?”
“They talk about you, man. About how good of a firefighter you are, and how you’re a pretty great guy too. The stories I’ve heard from Bobby about your probie year, and Chimney’s always talking about hanging out with his brother-in-law, and Hen can’t stop extolling your virtues when it comes to how you’re so eager to watch Denny whenever you can—Buck, they talk about you.”
Buck’s mouth opens, closes, opens again. Finally, he says, “They do?”
“They miss you.” Eddie pauses, waits until Buck meets his eyes again, and then grins, soft and warm and with his teeth poking out. “You should come visit sometime.”
“Yeah,” Buck says, and he smiles too, less bright but still genuine, and Eddie feels it down to his bones, “I just might.”
“Eddie?” Anita calls from behind the desk. It snaps them out of their moment, feet darting back beneath their chairs, and Buck smiles a little sheepishly at Eddie as he nods toward the front counter.
“I’ll see you later. Maybe at the firehouse.” He seems less than sure about it, and Eddie is suddenly desperate to see him again, to talk to him more, to learn not just about the Buck that belongs to the 118, but also the real Buck—the one that’s sitting in the PT waiting room reading about cults, and wearing a soft blue hoodie, and smiling with his dimples.
Eddie wants to know him, so he says, “Could I get your number?”
“My number,” Buck echoes, blinking at him. Eddie thinks, briefly, that he’s made a mistake, misread the signals, but then Buck’s smile grows, teeth on display, and Eddie feels warm down to his bones. “Sure. I’d like that.”
They exchange numbers quickly, Eddie sending Buck a message so he has his — if he puts a blue heart at the end of his hello, that’s between him and God — and then Eddie waves a little lamely, about to head off to his session, when—
He turns around, glancing at where Buck still sits, grin bolstering and warm. “Yeah?”
“Feel free to use that picture of me for my contact photo.”
And yeah. Eddie thinks he probably owes Karen a thank you.