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Sorry My Fanfic Update Is Late Someone Broke Into My Apartment and Stole My Laptop but I’m Back Now!

Fanfic writers remain undefeated.

Sailor Moon Crystal

As a fanfic writer who has, most certainly, left many a fic unfinished because real life had the audacity to interfere, I’m always in awe when I run across someone who’s able to keep up with steady fic updates. Fanfic writers truly are out here writing thousands upon thousands of words because they like a media property so much that they have to create more content for it.

Or they hate how it ended.

Or it’s forever on a cliffhanger.

Whatever the case, fanfic writers are writing stories for our entertainment for zero dollars and zero cents. They’re so passionate about creating and sharing their work that they usually end up apologizing if an update is late… no matter what event has happened to cause the delay. As this viral tweet from @/stefimorningstr points out, some fanfic writers will apologize for getting married, navigating through natural disasters, and … giving birth?!

The thread keeps going, highlighting fic writers apologizing because of their mental health, surgery, homelessness, getting arrested, all kinds of extenuating circumstances that make you go, “Wait are you okay?! Why are you worried about a FIC right now?!”

I am torn between telling fanfic writers that it’s okay to take a break (especially now because, you know, pandemic), but I also know that fanfic can be a great source of comfort and stress relief for the creators of it. Those apologies, to me, aren’t just for the readers, but for the fanfic writers who use this creative space as a way to deal with whatever it is that real-life is throwing at them.


I’ve … um … done this myself.


I’ve definitely used fanfiction as a coping mechanism on more than one occasion and have credited it, numerous times, as the reason why I’m still writing today.

In the beginning of May 2018, I was introduced to an anime called My Hero Academia. And y’all. You know that moment when everything clicks for the main character? The background shatters. Their eyes widen. They slap themselves in the face because, of course, how could they not have realized this entire time? That’s what this series was for me, but not in the way I expected, because after I binge-watched it with my partner I did something I hadn’t done in years.

I wrote fanfiction.

Not just one random fic to share on Tumblr and never look back at, no. I got an ao3 account. I flooded it with stories. I applied for zines, did weekly challenges, and engaged with other fic writers. I felt such a rush of inspiration from the series and its characters that my writing muses switched gears. Instead of feeling like writing was a burden it felt… fun again. I was writing because I wanted to, creating ideas I wanted to delve into instead of scrambling for ideas because gotta pitch something. Suddenly, writing felt like a fresh and wonderful thing that I wanted to share with everyone.

I was 16 again, with a Mead Composition book, and that one pen that let you switch between six colors.

Fanfiction hasn’t just helped me career-wise, though. I’m guilty of having an author’s note section that lays out how real life got in the way of a fic update, leading to comments asking about my well-being. There’s a sort of comfort in those comments, especially if your delay involves someone you care about or is due to circumstances beyond your control.

Here are a few examples of my own personal “sorry I’m late” fic updates throughout the years:

“Sorry I’m late, I broke up with my boyfriend.”

“Sorry I’m late, my dad found out I’m dating a girl and we had a huge fight about it. He’s come around, though.”

“Sorry I’m late, my girlfriend and I had someone break into our apartment and they took our laptops.” No, this wasn’t just a cheeky headline, this really did happen to me in my twenties!

“Sorry I’m late, my girlfriend and I were in a car accident.”

“Sorry I’m late, our cat died and the other one has been pretty sick,” then later, “Sorry I’m late, our second cat died.”

The sorry I’m late was more of a god I’m happy I’m back in this space where all I have to worry about is getting these two characters to kiss already. Even during the positive updates (sorry I’m late, I bought a house/sorry I’m late, I ran off and got married/sorry I’m late, I got a full-time job), it was still a breath of fresh air to go back to what I loved doing.

I miss it, to be honest, as I really haven’t had the time to even think about ao3 save for one fic update a couple of months ago, but I’m sure when I do update again, it’ll come equipped with a “sorry I’m late” post.

(Image: Toei Animation/ao3 screencap)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)