If you write in public, especially if you blog, you will eventually attract haters. I’m not talking about literary critics, or people who simply disagree with you, or anyone with constructive, usable feedback. No. Those, my fellow scribbler, are not the haters…
I’m talking about self-important people who hate the work you produce for the sake of hating it, and they make it their mission to insure you know just how much they hate it. They can drive you to quit, if you let ’em.
People can be mean. And some can be downright evil. The worst ones are the wannabe’s. They want to be like you, they wish they were as daring as you, but they are stuck in their own stew, stewing.
The problem is with what they are stewing. It’s your ruin.
They could be writing, painting or doing something else artistic and constructive with their time, but instead they focus on you. They want you to believe your work isn’t worthy, that you should give in and give up on being the creative person that you are.
It’s self-projection at its worst. Their hate has very little to do with you, other than you being their current target, and everything to do with themselves.
A fellow blogger talked with me recently about an anonymous email she received which informed her about a few typos in a couple of her blog posts. Hey, that’s helpful information she thought, because she could go back and correct those. So you would think, right? Well, unfortunately, Mr. Anonymous decided to rant on about how he thus questioned her authority as a writer, and how dare she give advice, etc… etc…
I told her not to worry about it, everyone has a few typos on their blogs somewhere. If we were perfect there would be no need for editors, and besides, s/he seems to have commented on my blog, too. Not too long ago, I received a nearly identical comment questioning my authority due to a typo dealing with a punctuation mark. I wanted to amusingly reply and say, “Fine. I give up. I quit.”
Instead, I let it go. As Taylor advises, I shook it off, and I advised my friend and fellow blogger to do the same. Besides this was really a minor type of self-important nitpicking, I’ve received far worse and I forewarned my friend that eventually she would, too.
The more you attract an audience the more haters you will attract. (Click to Tweet)
Take it as a very good sign. You’re building your audience and all large audiences have hecklers.
But here’s the thing, the reason haters have such a profound (and disturbing) effect on us is because in many ways they are echoing our own worst enemy: ourselves.
All your internal naysayer (the little, rambling critic that lives inside your head) ever needed was validation and haters provide such validation in spades. It’s what makes them so dangerous because it seems like they are just repeating what you already secretly believe.
“I knew it, I suck.”
No. No you don’t. So stop thinking it. Do not allow your awesomeness to be compromised.
If you give in to listening to the noise you will come to believe “you suck” and that’s the real danger. So the best thing you can do is stop listening and if necessary, remove their ability to contact you, such as block their comments on your blog, block their email addresses, and if / when they do get through to you, try not to engage.
Do not give haters the attention they do not deserve. (Click to Tweet)
Engaging with haters is never a fair fight. It’s you against them and your internal critic. And they’re much more experienced at it. Besides, nothing keeps a hater coming back more than acknowledgement.
Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. ― George Bernard Shaw (Tweet This Quote)
My best advice is, write on.
The haters and even your own internal critic will fade into the shadows when up against your ability to continue to produce, especially despite their best attempts at stopping you.
All they want is acknowledgement, and thus, validation. Give it at your own risk.
Whenever they do get you to doubt yourself, and this happens because we’re human, revisit the work you’ve created, remind yourself how good it is to be a writer, and reread positive comments you’ve received from readers who appreciate your passion.
5 Tips to Help You Shake the Haters
1) Build upon your self-acceptance. We’re not perfect, and that’s okay. People who attack for the sake of attacking tend to have very low self-esteem. If you return their attacks you may end up truly hurting someone who you normally would never hurt. You’re better than that, and being better than that allows you to build upon your self-acceptance, your self-worth, and, your overall confidence in not only yourself, but also your work.
2) Try not to be a people pleaser. You can’t please everyone. This is something we all must come to accept. That’s easy for me to write, but you and I know we are all people pleasers in our own ways and we have to work on that. Sometimes, realizing that some people can’t be pleased no matter what, is enough. Trying to please the unpleasable will just depress you and waste time you could better spend writing and creating work that matters.
3) Accept and appreciate that art is subjective (even yours). If you publish, some people won’t like your work and they’ll state as much. Accept and appreciate this truth. Not everyone who dislikes your work is a hater.
4) Say thank you. If you must reply to haters, say thank you. Haters seek anger and they want you to lash out. If you lash out it could give them a sense of justification and thus they will continue. If you take the higher road, you’ll likely get a gruff, “Ba-Humbug!” and they’ll (hopefully) move on.
5) Continue to find various positive ways to remind yourself of who you are and what you are about as a person and as an artist. These positives will become your armor. We can all use a good, strong layer of armor to protect us from those who would seek to hurt us with their hate hate hate.
If you weren’t, they wouldn’t notice, much less care about, you.
So keep calm, and write on!
Do you have some tips on dealing with haters, how about sharing them in the comments?