This is a little rambly, but I've been poking at it for days, so we'll release it into the wild. This is about fanfiction, because that's what I do, but if you want to jump in with reflections on what you
do, please do!
Okay, let's start off with the simple stuff: this entry is pretty creepy and terrible.
Generalizations, gender essentialism, and pretty much my least favorite fairy tale ever. (Bonus fail in the comments, whee!)Having said that, calamitycrow
has one excellent point: mentors are awesome, and it's important to many writers (and other creative folk) to have encouragement and support.
Did you grow up with a writing mentor? My parents certainly encouraged my writing, probably as much as any parents would or could; but they weren't writers.
My dad was enormously creative, but he didn't put fingers to keyboard to write a story until after I was out of college and had been writing original and fanfiction for quite some time. Instead, the support I got were from my teachers at high school and college, mostly my English and writing teachers. One of my favorite English teachers was one who, after she gave us a creative writing assignment, shared the two "A" papers with the class; mine and another student's. We'd both done the assignment very differently, and she talked about the effort we'd put in, and the very different tone and content of both stories, with a real attention to the craft of writing. (And what can I say? I love having my ego stroked.)
And eventually, of course, I found fandom. And fandom runs the gamut, doesn't it? For all the people who post THIS POST IS AWESOME AND YOU ARE AWESOME there are a pile of people who seem to think that attacking others is an exciting game that will earn them points if they come up with the best cutting remark. (And of course, sometimes one person's criticism is another's cruelty.)
To me, the best writing community is neither of these; what I've managed to carve out, and what I love, is a big heaping helping of THIS IS AWESOME AND YOU ARE AWESOME, but also with betas and friends who are willing to say 'this isn't working,' or 'I'm confused,' or 'you are smack dab in Unfortunate Implications territory.' (See how much I love you? I didn't link to TV Tropes.)
Everyone, of course, has their own needs, and I think one of the great things about fandom is the way we can build ourselves a community that suits us, whether it's a fat flist filled with communities, a delicious account, or something else entirely. (Although I'd be happy without some of the crueler aspects...but that's another post.)
What about you? Who encouraged your creative life? How do you feel you sustain it now?