I had previous game/map/campaign design experience from many other games, Escape Veloctiy, Ares, Warcraft 3.
Still, I was lurking around HLP about 2 years and never even touched FRED. Sometimes, demanding silly things from people (PLEASE DON'T SEARCH THE FORUMS FOR THESE POSTS BACK THEN!!!
But someday, I thought: Hey pal, I know you (=me) are creative, now starting learning this damn editor, make something for yourself and stun a few people
FH was sort of a revelation, I agree. I was shocked myself that it turned out to be so popular.