Adventures in Writing a Novel

Holding my tongue #bullying #writing #writerproblems

Last night I received an instant message from a friend. “Go to my blog and look at the comment from Concerned,” she typed. Ok. After reading the comment twice due to shock, I sat back stunned. Concerned was nothing short of the most horrible, cruel, judgemental, and insulting person I think I’ve ever come across.

The comment he/she left my friend was mind-blowing. He/She actually told my friend he/she hated her. Twice. What kind of stranger does that to someone? I don’t know if Concerned was a man or a woman, or if they have a blog on WordPress, they made themself completely annoyomous which to me is just a sign of weakness. If you are going to be that cruel to someone at least have the courage to tell them who you are.

Needless to say, after reading this comment I was fuming angry. I started to type a reply that was beyond words, and perhaps beyond comprehension at the time because my thoughts were just a rambled angry mess. Luckily, I had the sense to think about the reply and regroup before I hit the reply button, and after thinking about it I realized that in this case, more is less. So I shortened my reply to just two simple sentences. They were straight and to the point and were much more of what I wanted to say than a rambling angry paragraph.

I felt good.

And then my friend said something that made me think. “It’s their opinion and their opinion doesn’t take away from who I am.”

And it hit me. She’s absolutely right. While it felt good to reply to the comment, what did it even really do? Most people who would be that harsh to a stranger wouldn’t even bat an eye when called out for their behavior. If they believe in their hearts it’s acceptable to verbally attack someone like that, who am I to them that they will listen and rethink about what they did? Sure it made me feel better, but I highly doubt they will think twice before doing it again to someone else down the road.

While I don’t really feel bad about defending my friend, thinking about the situation last night and today has left me wondering about my quick fingered response.

I try to keep my opinions to a minimum on this blog, but I have to admit that when it comes to either my friends or myself getting attacked the German/Taurus woman comes out and I pounce hard and quick. I won’t dare even mention the mama lion because that woman is…well…a creature worse than the five rings of hell for anyone who has come at my daughter. I have never been the type of person to get a nasty email from someone and not say anything back and I’m worried about how I’m going to respond to feedback from strangers if, and when, my book is accepted and published.

One of my biggest fears of being published is bad reviews. No writer will please everyone as each reader will open the book with their own experiences, their own mind, their own inner voice, and most importantly their own emotions as they finish the last page, but that thought isn’t comforting. I have always been able to take criticism rather well with my writing in the past, and I’ve had a lot. But criticism is one thing and I have to admit that I don’t know how I’m going to handle some stranger ripping my story or my writing to shreds. I know myself and the first sign of a harsh, cruel review and I’m going to want to reply with both guns blazing…or perhaps I should say tanks.

I know I’m going to have to learn to control myself, but I know it’s going to be hard. Course, at this point I don’t know when I will have to even face the issue since I have yet to get a yes from anyone. I suppose I should cross the bridge when I get to it instead of thinking about it now.

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2 thoughts on “Holding my tongue #bullying #writing #writerproblems

  1. I used to react in the same way to a lot of things, but I’ve found it usually causes less problems for everyone if I write out a brash reply and then just read it over a few times and delete it. I get my venting out without lashing out at anyone for the whole world to see.

    As far as criticism and bad reviews go, I also wonder how I’ll handle them. The only time I really get upset is when I feel a review is unwarranted or not backed up (think “This book is so terrible, I won’t even tell you why! Don’t buy it or you suck!”) but I think that mentality is usually restricted to anonymous internet users rather than professional reviewers. And if not, why should that person’s opinion matter? If they can’t tell you why they don’t like something (or at least do it in a reasonable way) their opinion is probably worthless.

    More founded, reasonable bad reviews will always hurt, but there’s also always something positive involved: At least the person took their time to read your work. Having someone read your writing is, in my opinion, one of the most basic reasons for writing, so even if you get a bad review, you’ve still succeeded on getting someone to read something.

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