Is FanFiction ‘Real’ Reading?

I spent a lot of my teenage years centred around FanFiction. I was involved in a lot of different fanbases, that had massive followings online, i also loved to read and write, which all led to me spending hours and hours sat at a computer. FanFiction is a wonderful thing that’s grown and grown since i was a kid. It means even TV shows and bands that aren’t around can be carried on with FanFiction, along with current obsessions being escalated.

However, i’ve always struggled with the thought of reading FanFiction accounting for actual reading time. When i was a teenager, i always separated my reading books and reading FanFiction because they were completely different things. To the point of my end of year reading tallies being separated in to number of ‘actual books read’ and ‘FanFictions read’. So i’ve always struggled to incorporate the two worlds together.

For some reason i struggle with FanFiction feeling like a valid story. I’ve read worse novels than FanFictions, but something classing it as an actual book i really struggle with. For example, how do you really know how many pages to amounts to in book format? It’s all online, you have no idea how much you’re reading effectively.

I stayed clear of FanFiction and the online ‘fandom’ world for a few years in my late teens and early twenties. I’d read all i needed to and lost a lot of interest in it. However, in the last few weeks i’ve scrolled my way through the odd (really embarrassing boyband…you probably all know the one…) FanFiction on my way to work and in short bursts of downtime. It’s something very easily accessible on my phone when i’m on the bus, and it’s entertaining. It feels very strange to be immersed in that world again of make believe.

The one big thing i’m struggling with is the fact i feel guilty for wasting reading time, when i could be reading an ‘actual’ book or some vaild story everyone is talking about. I’m not counting my enjoyment as actual enjoyment and am making myself feel bad for spending my time how i wish.

So i took to Twitter. I tweet a poll on @TLCCBlog about whether FanFiction is a valid and valuable form of reading. Here were the results…

poll

It was a relatively mixed result, but obviously ‘reading is reading’ came out on top, showing that more people think FanFiction is a valid part of reading.

Writing this post is reminding me of a post i wrote not so long ago about ‘That’ Zoella article that got everyone in a tizz. I stated quite clearly that any form of reading is good, and any form of reading is valuable to anyone of any age. So surely i shouldn’t think any differently about FanFiction?

I don’t think i will ever think of FanFiction as proper reading, i really struggle with the idea if i’m honest. Mainly because i’m not achieving my reading goals by wasting time reading lines and lines of cute, fluffy stuff about band members. However, i’m going to try my best to let myself enjoy reading it a little more. Sometimes reading book after book that have heavy topics or are quite similar becomes a strain, something quite difficult to handle. I’m going to try and enjoy FanFiction a little more and count is a ‘productive break’ from reading novel after novel.

After all, reading is just reading. At least i’m not sat staring into space or doing something equally as useless with my time. What i’m trying to say in this post is, that if whatever you’re reading makes you happy, go for it! It doesn’t have to be in a book format to count as reading. I’m slowly starting to accept that, however i definitely will still be pushing myself to keep to my year goals of reading (FanFiction not included).

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