There is a certain kind of writer who attaches no value to their own work on an emotional level. They write for attention. It’s the same kind of “writer” who dreams of writing a book so they’d be rich and famous. This is also the kind of “writer” who wants to write a book about their life because apparently, we ALL want to read about it and just don’t know it. This attention-seeking writer actually taints the fandom, and readers, with their pathological need for attention. They encourage readers to offer them suggestions for future plot developments, character arcs, and even pairings. Then when they write themselves into a hole because of they actually listened to all the crap they get back—they blame their “muse” for not being inspired to complete the story.
Of course, the worse part of an attention-seeking writer are the readers they leave in their wake who feel entitled to intrude on the process of other writers because they felt validated by a previous experience. They are utterly comfortable providing a list of wishes and wants to other writers in their feedback. If they want a certain pairing in a story—they demand it and will abuse a writer if they don’t get it.
I’ve said before that reader entitlement is the ugliest part of fandom. I’ve been threatened with rape and murder for not updating when a reader felt I should. There have been times when readers have essentially had screaming fits on my contact form or in an email because I didn’t write the pairing they wanted or I chose a Stargate project over a Harry Potter one for Rough Trade.
Some readers take my decisions regarding my own writing as a personal insult and have no problems letting me know that I’m ruining their life by not writing what they want me to write.
Recently, I had a reader send me a single sentence email, and it was:
“I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, I hope you finish Phoenix before I die.”
At first, I was outraged, but I wasn’t particularly surprised since I’ve seen this kind of emotional blackmail in fandom before. I deleted the email without a response, and I put the sender on a filter in my email that automatically trashes any email she sends me in the future. Because I want no part of her bullshit but I do wonder how many other writers she’s approached with this disgusting tactic.
Those who only read in fandom don’t genuinely understand the creative process. They don’t understand the intimacy of writing or the emotional risk of posting it in public. They never will understand, really, and investing yourself in trying to make them is just intellectual masochism.