Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Write By Wednesday... dealing with the meanies

I’ve gone back and forth about this, but a recent post byNathan Bransford on author bullying prompted me to finally post on this. I just took eight months off from blogging, writing, and doing anything related to being an author. While 90% of the motivation for this was my schedule and some problems I had with my health, I am embarrassed to say that 10% of it was because someone was mean.

Bransford talks about author bullying in the form of really vicious reviews, and I appreciated his candor on it, but it happens in other ways. Most members of our writing community encourage us, give us constructive criticism, and help us promote each other’s work, but what happens when they actually destroy our confidence?

Way back in December, I got some feedback from a fellow writer. While I respect this person’s opinion, the way the feedback was worded was just really awful, feebly cloaked in “I’m telling you this with the best of intentions.” And instantly, I was back in my Junior High cafeteria with mean girls making fun of my yard-sale earrings.

Honest feedback is so important to me, it really is. I want people to tell me what they truly think about my work, but I have decided that I don’t want them to be brutally honest. You can say “this just doesn’t work for me because I see some major structural flaws,” without saying “I’m physically repulsed by the way this is set up.” If you say the former, you’re a good reader and community member. If you say the latter, no matter what your intentions are, you’re being mean. 

I let myself take it too hard, and now that I finally started writing again, I am totally pissed at myself for that. I consider myself successful in many regards, and I am proud of my book. Why did I let one mean email make me feel so badly about myself that I stopped believing that I am a writer?

I have eight months of ideas that have been bubbling around and driving me crazy that are finally unleashed. I am going to hit the keyboard hard, and hope I’ve built a thicker skin. One thing is for sure, though: whenever I give anyone feedback, good or bad, I will read it twice so I know that I am not being a mean girl myself.

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