What do Harry Potter FanFiction and Life Coaching have in common?
Well, not much… unless you say so. And, I say so!
It’s funny, my first coach gave me that phrase: “Because I say so.”
So much of my life up until that point was lived from what other people said.
Now, if you ask my big sister, she will tell you that I’ve always been a rebel, a free spirit, and someone who doesn’t give a shit what other people think.
At my core, that’s who I am. I’m also human and I have defense mechanisms that usually look like me ceding to the opinions of those around me, or being so heavily impacted by what people think that I stop putting myself out there.
Still, like a flower through the cement, I break through and probably put myself out there more than most.
And I could settle for that. Most days, it’s intoxicatingly tempting to do so. (Resting on my laurels is also a defense mechanism)
“I did that already! I already took that risk! I’m done now!”
I decided to push that when I became a coach, even if I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into (to be clear: I did not.)
This past Halloween, I decided to start writing fiction for the first time. Not just any fiction, but Harry Potter FanFiction. For those who don’t know, “FanFiction” is when you take an existing story and characters (like Harry Potter) and then write your own story about them. It could be re-writing what was already written and having it go differently, or picking up where it left off, and everything in between.
Once I got started, I found that I have a knack for it. I’m still such a new fiction writer, have horrible habits, and truthfully do not understand comma usage. I don’t think I ever will, that’s what editors are for, right? But I love it.
And… it’s incredibly time consuming! Some of my colleagues actually got concerned about me when my first story seemed to have taken over my entire being. I was writing constantly and losing sleep.
I’m happy to report that said story is now complete (clocking in at 161k words) and I’ve largely gotten my writing obsession..AHEM… PRACTICE under control.
However, I needed to find a way to integrate my writing into what I do.
I’m all about integration this year, it’s my 2019 theme.
So what could be more integrated than writing FanFiction about life coaching?!
Thus, Draco Malfoy Gets a Life Coach was born.
And bonus: I wrote myself into the story as a character. (I’m the Life Coach. I know, shocker). This seemed like a great idea. In practice, it’s incredibly vulnerable and difficult, but I’ve mostly gotten over my anger at myself for creating it this way.
As I’m getting further along in the story (at the time of this post I am 10 chapters and 36k words in) I’m finding all of these opportunities to process my own stuff through the characters.
Specifically, through Draco Malfoy.
I didn’t realize it until my friends Mark and Christine reflected it to me, but… I am Draco Malfoy. At least, the way I write him in my stories… he and I have similar internal monologues. We’re overly concerned with what others think. We think highly of ourselves, but harbor a secret, burning self-hatred. We suck at apologizing. We’re not interested in being forgiven, either, because we basically think we’re beyond reprieve and deserve nothing. Pride is protection, and no one should get too close.
Wow, I didn’t realize how much I had to say about that until I wrote it all out :)
Same goes for what I’m discovering in the writing. I just wrote a chapter where Draco finally has this breakthrough realization that he’s been merely playing the part of himself, and actually has no idea who the real “him” even is.
This was the big breakthrough I myself had when I went through the Accomplishment Coaching training program, so I’m essentially just describing myself here:
It felt as though I’d never met myself before, and I had to get to know me. To take stock. What parts of me were me and what parts were just my reaction to the world around me? A built-up callus that I’d gotten so used to that I’d started believing it to be the real me, rather than an unintended hardening of my character.
After I posted the chapter containing this passage, I got texts from two fellow coaches who are reading the story. Both copied this specific passage and texted it to me to say “whoa… I get this.”
I got so much joy from seeing how it impacted them. There were also comments from strangers on the site where I posted it:
“I’m so glad Draco is having this intense character development. It’s nice to see that in a fic, especially since it’s so rare for him to have any real introspection in most.”
The cool thing is, I’m getting so much from going back and re-living this. I’m now having a ton of other ideas of things I want to write into my stories, specifically around losing my Mom, as a way to help me process it.
The moral of this post is this: the next time you think you can’t do something because it’s not related to your work… challenge that belief. Integration is in the eye of the beholder, so get creative.
Please share in the comments what you are getting from this for yourself!
And if you want to check out my story, you can read it here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/17264885/chapters/40601273