So, Wanderers, you might have noticed that we quite like being part of fandoms. It makes us happy, for the most part. That said, as we’ve mentioned before, it’s important that fandom doesn’t entirely take the place of your ‘real life’. Boring they may be at times, but day-to-day things like school, work, family and friends shouldn’t just be swept aside because you’re too busy obsessing over what your favourite person is doing right now.
So, how can you maintain a balance between ‘real life’ and fandom life? Well, we’re occasionally guilty of not doing it ourselves, but we think we’ve worked out the theory:
- Remember the essentials. We don’t care if you’re halfway through a marathon viewing of all the Lord of the Rings films followed by all the Harry Potter ones, if you need to sleep, eat, wash, or relieve yourself, you’d better go and do that. Books can be used in conjunction with bookmarks (or ticket stubs, bits of paper, other books…) in order to keep your place while you go off and do something else. DVDs can be paused. Looking after yourself will only make you enjoy your fandom more.
- See your loved ones. If your friends call you to go to the cinema or hang out at the beach just as you’re settling down to write your latest Star Trek fanfiction, consider telling them you’re not busy and you’ll see them in a few minutes, rather than pleading homework. We know it can be tempting, when you’ve just conquered your writer’s block, but your fandom will still be there when you come back. Cancel on your friends too often and they have a tendency to disappear.
- Prioritise. This is one everyone in the FW office sometimes struggles with. If you’ve got a deadline or a ton of work to do for next week, get that out of the way before you get involved in the latest debate over what kind of clothes a modern Jean Prouvaire would wear. We know, we know, your fandom can seem really important and way more exciting than all that work – but the work has got to be done, now. It’s also important to give priority to birthday parties, weddings and funerals. That stuff’s time-sensitive.
- Don’t let your fandom define you. Yes, to some extent we all use our fandoms as a shorthand for our identities. “I’m a Whovian, Sherlockian, Potterhead” is a quick shorthand for some of the things you like, and that’s convenient, but the day that you let being a Whovian, Sherlockian and/or Potterhead dictate your actions, choices and friends is the day you become one of those one-dimensional characters you so hate to see in your media of choice. Cultivate other interests. Don’t socialise only with other people who like Twilight, or only other people who can recite every family’s words from A Song of Ice and Fire. There might be really nice people out there who’ve never even seen Star Wars, and if you refuse to talk to them because of it, you’ll never know.
- Remember that other people might not understand fandom in general. Accept this about them. Some of the things fans do are really weird, and not everyone wants to invest all their time and energy in appreciating a show, film, or book. These people are not your enemies, we promise. At least, not by default.
- Enjoy your fandom. That’s what it’s there for.
- Enjoy the other aspects of your life, too! There’s more to life than just fandom, and it’s just waiting for you to explore it.
Eleanor Musgrove (didn’t choose the fandom life, the fandom life chose me.)