Thursday, June 17, 2004

Writing for Free and Writing as a Hobby

I read Jemima Periera's blog daily. She's smart, her interests are wide-ranging, her politics align with mine, and she writes well. I've proposed marriage to her a couple of times, but my not being a lithe Brazilian pool-boy is apparently a deal-breaker of some kind. Ah well.

At least I can read great stuff like this:
I remember the days when the h word was taboo. Saying that writing fanfiction was just a hobby meant that you couldn’t be bothered with the little details of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and characterization - and why should you? Why should a fangirl sweat the details? A hobby is just for fun.

Now, suddenly the h word is in style, as the newly-discovered answer to the Eternal Question, Why don’t you write original fiction instead? Certainly the h word is an answer to that question as well as to the more traditional questions: Why couldn’t you be bothered to spellcheck that atrocity? and Why don’t you use a beta reader like the big girls do? “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” is always a good answer, if you really don’t give a damn. But methinks the h-fen protest too much.

The other questions to which the h word is an answer imply that calling writing a hobby is primarily a way to avoid personal responsibility for the nature of one’s output - whether the issue is spelling or originality. The Eternal Question is not an attack on fandom - no one cares that tens of thousands of fans are writing hobbit smut. Contrary to popular belief, people do understand what it is to have a hobby - in fact, they understand it better than fanfic writers seem to.
While you're there, marvel at her webdesign skills. Watch the background.

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