During a particularly gloomy period in which I struggled to write creatively or even read for pleasure, I was heartened by an essay I edited about how writing fanfiction made one a better and happier writer. In “The Last Fanfiction I Ever Wrote,” Hannah Cohen suggests a value outside of striving for a prestigious literary career: “When I connected with other fanfiction writers, it wasn’t out of a coy expectation to network with people who would eventually publish me. I was a teenage girl who wanted to engage with the fictional worlds of my favorite books, movies, and tv shows.” I, too, fell in love with reading fanfiction as a teen girl.
But as an adult writer grappling with constant rejection and self-doubt, I found my relationship to literature had become fraught. Rediscovering the joys of reading fanfiction, in which writers post under pseudonyms and share their stories not for money or recognition, but purely for fun, helped bring me out of my slump. I was reminded about the importance of reconnecting with our younger selves and remembering what sparked those creative impulses in the first place.
—Mimi Wong, editor in chief, the Offing
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