Haters. Trolls. Naysayers. People who just plain don’t like your work.
I guess this is something I hadn’t really thought about yet, because I haven’t really reached the point where a lot of people are reading what I’m writing. Nobody else I know is at that point quite yet, either, so I thought I would just write a post about it and get it off my chest. I suppose it is also a bit in response to The Fear by A Writer Inspired, who talks about why she’s afraid of her readers. (I can understand!)
Recently I got a couple of pretty hateful comments on something I’d written, and it really made me think about this. Something you might not know about me–I’m a total sissy when it comes to conflict. A couple of mean words, a dirty look, a raised voice, send me into a complete spiral. I’m a nice person, and I try to surround myself with nice people, but there are always those out there who aren’t nice, and aren’t going to speak to you in a nice way, even if what they have to say is valid.
And the things that were pointed out in the comments were valid, and things that I could have fixed easily, and learned from, if they had been presented in that fashion. Instead, the basis of what he had to say was that, because of those mistakes, I should obviously find another line of work, and that nothing I have to say about English or writing is valid. And yeah, it hurt. It hurt a lot.
I sat there, looking at the screen, reading the words over and over again, wondering if he was right. Wondering why he’d singled me out. Wondering why he couldn’t have just politely pointed out said problems with my writing and been done with it. Why he felt he had to tear me down in the process. My chest tightened, I closed off, and I felt smaller.
Then I thought, hey, pull yourself together. This guy and his mean comment aren’t the end of the world. Sure that sucks, but hey, he doesn’t know you. Just take the criticism, (the constructive parts anyway,) learn from them, and keep moving forward. Show that guy. If you become a writer someday, it will be more than a few articles that are being judged, it will be a whole book. There will be more than one person shoving their hateful opinions in your face, although you might pray otherwise. So buck up, soldier! You’ll get through this, and you’ll keep writing, because that’s what you love to do, whether or not this guy wants to give you his blessing. (He doesn’t.)
So. What about all of my other friends out there in cyber-land, the ones struggling hard to create something knowing that it will only ever be judged by faceless strangers? Have you ever had someone give you a hard, mean, thoughtless comment? What did you do? Are you prepared for the attention, some bad, that will come with writing and publishing a book?