Write right now.
There are a million things you could do instead that do mostly nothing for you. Watch TV. Scroll Tumblr. Be afraid.
It's that last one that's the most damaging. Because unlike those others which sometimes rob you of time, being afraid robs you of courage and of hope. And fear doesn't give anything back, unlike the relaxation or community you sometimes get from TV or Tumblr.
Write right now because you love writing. Write right now because you have things to say. Write and then, for the love of courage and hope, share it everywhere and anywhere and then do this important thing: ignore anyone who says something negative.
Because no matter at what stage you are in your writing, you're doing fantastically well because you're writing.
A Murmuring of Bees? Improbable Press asked a lot of people to take part. A lot of them said they couldn't. They were afraid. Others were afraid and did it anyway. For a lot of those people their story in that anthology was their very first writing sale.
Please don't be afraid. Nothing happens, nothing changes if you give in to fear.
Write. Write because you love it, and then love it more by listening to the people who tell you what you do well. Ignore the people who criticize if you never asked for their critique. People complain about your writing because they are afraid to do it themselves. They're afraid and they feel better when you are, too.
If you write, you're already doing more than most of those people. Keep doing it. Then share it, share it, share it. The 'less than good' features of your writing? Many of them will go away on their own if you just keep writing. So write and share. Don't be afraid. Because even though it doesn't seem like writing fan fiction will take you somewhere it can.
I didn't expect to publish my first book The Day They Met. But that book? It happened because I wrote hundreds of thousands of words of fan fiction, many of those words about other ways John Watson and Sherlock Holmes might meet. That book happened because I kept writing, even when my writing was rubbish I kept going until it wasn't. I was fifty-years-old when that book came out and I know most of you are younger than that so stop waiting.
Please write. Then keep writing. Share what you write. With us, on AO3, anywhere. Ignore anyone who harshes your gig.
Ignore them, ignore them, ignore them.
Others grow big when they can make you small so don't let them. Delete their comments. Deleting isn't cheating. It is your privilege to make your world a safe haven and that includes your online world. Delete comments that are mean or rude or just-somehow-kinda-shitty.
Then smooch the people who praise your gifts. And let their words water you, teach you, motivate you to grow those gifts.
Now please. Sit down now and write right now.
Then keep writing. You'll get where you want to be.
Atlin Merrick is acquisitions editor for Improbable Press and she happy-shouts at people an awful lot. She means well.