What is a creatfanitic, you might ask? It’s my newly-invented portmanteau that stands for creator-fan-critic. You see, I’m all three. I write criticism here on Comics Beat, I live as a fan every day, and I’m constantly creating. I create fanfic and gifs, yes, but I’m also a TV writer and a screenwriter. I’m currently in a graduate program where I study both writing and directing and someday, I hope to make a career out of it. Criticism is a side gig; and while being a fan and a member of multiple fandoms will never leave me, that will eventually fade as creating becomes my number one priority.

I’m writing this column because I’m currently struggling with writing critical reviews of films and TV shows by creators I genuinely enjoy. I might work with these people someday if I’m lucky. It’s a little awkward to know they can google my name and possibly find my reviews criticizing their work. Then again, when you google my name, the former Secretary of State of Michigan comes up, so maybe it would be difficult.

Still, it’s mildly dangerous territory I’m entering into. Roger Ebert wrote film criticism, and he made a few films, rather infamously–but he mostly stuck to his lane. Film artist Kogonada makes beautiful film essays discussing films in a more academic light, but he’s also made several films: Columbus and After Yang, which premiered at Cannes this year. Maybe I have nothing to worry about, being a creatfanitic. After all, I go into things with hope in my heart that the film or series will be genuinely good; admittedly, when those hopes are dashed, I get a little wrathful, but I’m trying to be more tactful these days.

Once, I was told by a writing professor that I couldn’t write fic and be a TV writer at the same time. While I steadfastly disagree with that—what is spec writing if not fic writing, leveled up—there is always the whisper of doubt in my mind. It doesn’t help when professional writers quarrel over whether fic writing should exist. It’s a discussion I think is kind of irrelevant, but it always amuses me whenever I see it. My philosophy is if it doesn’t hurt, then what’s the damage, or what’s your damage?

Being a creatfanitic is not an easy path; there’s a lot of things you have to juggle and wrestle with, but in the end, it’s worth it. You get to hone your analytical skills, which improves your work, and you get to stretch your creative muscles, which can only help your more serious work flourish. I know I’m not the only one out there: come out of the woodwork creatfanitics*!

*portmanteau likely to change