Dealing with the Haters

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?

Celeste

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8 thoughts on “Dealing with the Haters

  1. The worst I’ve gotten so far are mean comments on my various fanfictions. I really try not to get incensed, because jerks will be jerks, and there isn’t much I can do about it. That being said, the times I get *really* upset are when someone points out a legit flaw in my writing style. Then I’m not angry at them — I’m angry at myself. It sucks when someone points out that you aren’t as good as you think you are.

    • Ha ha ha, right? After I was done being upset, I sat down and really looked at what he was saying, and he had some valid points–I hadn’t done anything absolutely HEINOUS or anything, certainly nothing worth pointing out in such a manner, but I tried to take the legitimate parts and forget the mean-spirited parts. And though I try not to let myself get too big for my britches, (since to be honest I know that grammar is NOT my strongest area…) it might be useful for someone to bring me back down to Earth once in awhile. 🙂 Jerks will be jerks. Someone should stitch that on a sampler!

  2. Two things:

    1) Someone who’s trying to help someone improve their writing does it by building them up not tearing them down. Without the sugar coating that means you don’t HAVE to be a jerk to give feedback that’s beneficial, it can be done tactfully if you’re a professional. A five year old can scrunch up their face and say, ‘Eww, yuck!’ You sort of expect better from adults.

    2) I’ll give you one small correction on your post: you wrote – “If you become a writer someday…” I think what you meant to say there was ‘published author.’ You’re already a writer, baby, you’ve got the battle scars to prove it! And oh yeah, there will be haters there too!

    Sorry, when it comes to myself, I’m a bit of a chicken but when it comes to others I tend to get a bit mama bear on people 😉

    • Aww, thank you! ^^ ❤ Yes, 'published author', because forget him, I'm going to keep writing! And I know what you mean–when the mean is directed at me I kind of shrivel up, but if you mess with someone else in my view, better watch out! (Why is that I wonder?)
      And I've never understood writers who are mean to or belittle other writers. We're all in this together, we do the same thing, we understand how hard it can be. Wouldn't you want some encouragement, instead of someone being rude and tearing you down? Empathy people, empathy!

      • In my other work, we used to call that ‘eating our young.’ Discouraging and hindering those coming up behind you. I don’t know if it’s because it was done to them or just because competition can be scary too. Either way, it’s definitely not something that’s limited to writers.

        A shame because when you hold back those fresh and innovative voices all we’re left with are the old tired ones.

        Guess that just means we’ll have to be louder so that our voices are heard above the trolls!

  3. I’ve actually never had this happen to me. I grew up pretty much being the strongest writer amongst my peers. And then I hit college and major insecurities come up. However, no one has offered a criticism – perhaps because no one has left a comment in any of my works since high school. It will be interesting once I get my first criticism – constructive or not. I think I’ll be ready for it. I say this because I have very little intentions of becoming a published author so should anyone say how horrible my writing is, I believe I would take the criticism but not beat myself over it. I’m not a “real” writer, anyway, nor do I aspire to become one. But I will take this article into consideration when I review other people’s work, though.

    Good luck, Celeste! I wonder how many rejections and mean critiques people like J.K. Rowland and Stephen King have received in the past before becoming well recognized writers. I bet they still get them til this day. 🙂

    • Oh, always! I’m sure that they do, and in much larger quantities, just because they are SO out in the public eye, you know? At that point, however, I think I could sit in my mansion and my piles of money and not feel bad about what ANYONE thinks about me anymore, ha ha!

      Yeah, there’s a sort of difference of viewpoint when you’re writing things that people will judge, and judging things people have written, but you should always remember that on the other side of whatever you are reviewing is a human being who has screwed up their efforts and their courage into something they wanted to share. Not to say that some things aren’t just bad attempts, but even bad reviews should always keep that in mind, and try to be productive. 🙂 At least that’s my opinion!

      We’ve hit a point in our country where making fun of other people has become one of our highest forms of comedy. You don’t have to actually BE funny, as long as you can point out mistakes in other people. Which is no good! Being judgmental isn’t the same as being helpful. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Dealing with the Haters | The Official Site of Celeste DeWolfe « A Writer Inspired

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