I've been sitting on a fic for more than a month, not sure if I should publish it or not because it contains some very dark topics. Obviously I won't put it on tumblr (people here are the worst), but I'm reticent to even put it on ao3. As the climate is right now, I don't even feel like sharing my fluffiest pieces is worth it. It is really killing my motivation to write at all. Like why bother? So, do you have any advice or encouragement you could offer?
I hate that this feeling is so understandable.
I don’t know that I can offer any worthwhile. It’s easy to say ‘fuck the haters’ but it’s hard when antis are so vicious and unforgiving. But here’s what I can offer you:
If antis are killing your motivation to write and share … either don’t write, or write and don’t share it. if it hurts and you’re scared and stressed and don’t feel like sharing, you don’t have to. If writing/sharing your work is something you can abandon without pain, abandon it. You owe nobody anything. Don’t pressure yourself to be strong. Do what makes you happy.
(and honestly, you might find deciding your’e going to stop writing and taking a break refreshes you entirely. for best effects, I’d recommend blocking all discourse from your dash and only consuming creative content from others. maybe read some books. seriously step away from the exhausting topic of Wokeness and maybe the motivation will come back.)
but if writing & sharing is something you can’t stop doing: if it would be worse to stop than to continue - it’s time to find a way of writing/sharing that will allow you to cut out the part that’s killing your motivation (from your ask, I’m guessing the potential backlash) and keep the fun part.
First things first: I would to create an entirely separate AO3 account (if you can) with an unrelated pseudonym and post the dark content under it. I recommend this because that way the work can’t be easily traced back to your other social media accounts, and if it ends up attracting a bunch of backlash it will leave you out of it. This is how I started handling my dark content a couple of years back and it’s worked out pretty well.
You can also mitigate the backlash a little by making it harder for antis to dogpile you:
- Use the ‘choose not to warn’ tag and then frontload the first chapter with all of the warnings so that antis can’t find it to pick on by just looking for the big trigger tags.
- dont’ allow anon comments.
- lock the fic to AO3 members. this will prevent randos from being able to look at your fic without an AO3 account.
- moderate the comments. if antis dogpile you but their comments don’t appear and you never react, they’ll get bored quickly. antis are in it for the reaction.
- alternatively, moderate the comments and have somebody else check them. they can delete the nasty ones and give the rest to you to enjoy.
And there’s hope you’ll never even be bothered: there’s some evidence that antis usually only go after fics from authors that they know are involved in the discourse (if they can’t dispute your points they will attack your fiction).
Alternatively, antis are more likely to go after people that are gaining popularity at a rapid pace or whose works they have liked in the past: if those people are creating content antis don’t like and refuse to stop, they attack and shame the creator as punishment. (If you’re not going to create the fiction they want, then you shouldn’t create fiction at all.)
Lastly: if you’re writing fic with dark content, I want you to know that there are lots of people who need and appreciate that. people who need that kind of material. people who dont’ need it, but have an increasingly difficult time finding it. People are scared to comment or react sometimes, but there are people who appreciate you. and they’ll find you, even if it’s under a new pseud.
fandom isn’t nearly as fun as it used to be. It’s cliche to say ‘write for yourself’, but like … if you’re not getting personal enjoyment out of writing anymore because of antis, that’s totally okay. and maybe you’ll find that taking a break and just consuming (and avoiding discourse) will refresh you nicely and you can come back and have fun again.
but if you want to stick it out, I’ve got your back, anon. feel free to poke me any time. (and if you dont’ want to stick it out, I’ve still got your back. antis don’t know it, but fandom is for whatever enjoyment you can get out of it.
Best of luck to you!