Positive Writer

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Writers: 5 Tips on How to Shake the Haters (who Hate Hate Hate)

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…

How to deal with 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.

Know that you are an artist and only true artists are worthy of haters. (Click to Tweet)

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?

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins



  • Katharine

    I surely did have to deal with a hater. It was so sad!
    I write about homeschooling and one of my fans (!) who was a homeschooling mom, decided to put her children in a private school. I feel sorry for her children, but tried to stay neutral to her posts to that effect, saying I hoped they did well, or some innocuous thing such as that.

    Well, she had kept reading my site, unknown to me, and one day she just let me have it. Wow, the depth and strength of her venom was a big shocker. And she also attacked other commenters to my site. Amazing eruption. She even took it to facebook, which caused some of her followers there to come over, increase my stats and, and leave civilized, insightful comments of their own, although they were not really into homeschooling. Oh, and she posted a screenshot of my post that day, on her site, and ranted over there quite a bit. No response! None!

    First, I asked her if she wanted me to edit any of her comments, to soften them a bit (it’d all happened while I had to be away and had died down some in the ensuing time.) Her reply was NO! NEVER! And she added even more bathroom words to that.

    Well, nothing left but to block her and remove the ugly from my site, apologize to my commenters, and make a comment policy for the site for from then on, which all made her madder than a wet hornet, as my dad used to say.
    That took care of my site. Yep.
    But me. How to take care of me…

    I found the perfect solution that delights me every time I think of it. I found a theme that allows me to post any comments I get on a slider sort of thing and I included a few of this hater’s kind, insightful comments from her previous life style, when she’d thought I was right. Heh heh. I only used her iniitials, so…

    no one but she and I can really tell. And that’s just about right for me. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Katharine. I love how you dealt with the situation. Good for you!

  • Great advice, Bryan! If I had to take your post and summarize the most important message, I believe it’s this: The more you attract an audience the more haters you will attract.
    Haters are giving you a backhanded compliment. It doesn’t FEEL like a compliment, but they want to be like you. What I’ve done with haters is I print out and keep emails that really touch my heart from readers thanking me. When the haters come (and they will), I go back and remind myself that I want to focus on the people I’m helping, and not the haters.

    • That’s an awesome strategy, Marcy! The haters are not the end-all-be-all. Although, I’m sure they think they are. It doesn’t mean we have to, though.

  • Susan Mary Malone

    This is great, Bryan! And it works in all of life. But for writers or anyone in creative endeavors, it hits the bull’s eye. I especially love, “Engaging with haters is never a fair fight. It’s you against them and your internal critic.”
    So well said!

  • Great post Bryan. Good points. I personally feel people who hurt others are hurting themselves. It just makes me aware as the stingers come. Knowing they will come at least makes us aware. You do develop thicker skin, but for some it still hurts, but not as much as it used to. I once had to deal with someone who just would make comments so he could advertise his own poetry. And when I tried to kindly ask him not to that he really went after me and told me he didn’t care what I thought, I did not own the internet. But I just blocked him and that was that. I may not own the internet, but we can have a little say about our own back yards.

    • Exactly, Anne. If someone won’t follow your rules for your blog and insists on continuing, block him or her. It’s a common rule for there to be no advertising in comments, so it shouldn’t have been any surprise to him.

  • Cori Dyson

    I really enjoyed this post. I am new to blogging and am not fortunate enough to have a hater yet, but your blog will help me when I do. Thanks!

  • Katina Vaselopulos

    Great points, Bryan. No one is immune to criticism so the best thing is do my best and thank them for sharing their opinion. Taking your points into consideration for sure.

  • Adventures in YA Publishing

    Such good points! I think it’s especially important to remember that the remarks of haters say far more about them than they ever will about you. Haters aren’t trying to be constructive. They don’t seek for you to improve. They aren’t asking for explanations or even apologies. So writers, do not engage. Find the people who give you feedback that can help you grow (even if it stings a little at first). And don’t forget your fans. Even unpublished writers have people who enjoy their work (think CPs, betas, good writing friends). The opinions of your fans do count! And your opinion as a writer counts. Don’t give up what you love for someone who will only ever hate.

    –Sam Taylor, AYAP Intern

  • Great post Bryan! I struggle with (mean, not objective) criticism and am already worried about my ability to cope with such when my book comes out next month. I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for the fact that the hating is just part of it, but I already know it will bother me. LOVE this: “It’s self-projection at its worst.” I really believe that’s true, but as you say, mean comments strike a chord for those of us who already struggle to believe in ourselves. I will try not to let the haters win! 😉

  • Kenyatta University

    I like the quote “Haters hate themselves because they are a reflection of what they wish to be” – Isaac.

  • Barb Johnson

    What a great post! I went through haters a few years ago when I was writing columns for a newspaper in Illinois. Sometimes I wrote about politics and that’s when the hate began. At first I was shocked. Then as more of the nasty comments flowed in, I grew to feel I must have done a good job. They called me liar, stupid, and many other things. They stopped short of death threats though. Benefit? I no longer fear the nasties. Once you get a few, you will feel as I do. Learn from some and toss the rest.

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  • Casey Lee Anderson

    Thank you for this blog, because I’m just beginning to write or starting writing technically, I’ve just finished my 1st edition of my autobiography and well, I’ve already sent it to a possible publisher and I hope that they like/love my autobiography because it speaks of a great spiritual battle that I went through in my life and theres other stuff in there as well. But I’m not sure on how to copyright items, if you mention a website within your autobiography don’t the website owners need to be declared co-authors or not? Because I’m not totally sure if it will or not get published or not.