I’m a 30-something mother of two and I write Twilight fan fiction. I’ve set a goal for myself that by March 2016, I want to be in the process of landing a publisher for my novel. (Or better yet, a published author.)
Right now, I only write fan fiction. I haven’t attempted anything original yet. I look at fan fiction as practice for “real writing” not because writing fan fiction isn’t real writing, but because it sure is a whole lot easier to start a story when you’ve already got the basis for your characters — names, descriptions, personalities, histories, etc. When I go back and re-read the stories I wrote two years ago, I can see definite improvement in my writing. That right there makes writing fan fiction worthy in my mind.
I have two children — one who is under a year old — and a husband I actually enjoy spending time with. For these reasons plus my need for quiet, it’s usually not until 11 P.M. or later that I have a chance to write. Thankfully I am also a night owl so some of my best ideas come at 2 A.M. I’m not sure I could do the “wake up two hours before the rest of the household” trick successfully; the “stay up four hours after the rest of the household is asleep” tends to work better for me.