Guest Post: Being hated.
When I got my first negative blog comment, I felt like I made it on the internet.
Well, not at first. At first I was hurt. I have a lot of haters in the real world, but surely none of them knew my URL. Why was this girl being a negative Nancy? The more I thought about it, the happier I was. I have shown enough personality and opinion that someone disagrees with me. Perfect! I have never wanted to be cookie cutter, and now that I’m evoking emotion in someone I am truly Queen Bee of the interwebs. I need my own meme….Okay, maybe not that far.
That’s what attracted me toward today’s writer. I followed Kyle on Twitter..of course..(oh and @TheKyleDevitte)..after stumbling upon him from my field lacrosse work account. He ruffled feathers, I admired that. He wrote glowing commentary about my favourite lacrosse player who was captaining the team I worked for, I liked that. He made fun of Canada, I laughed at that. He had the most obscure movie references, I was intrigued by that. He was hated by so many people and kept on trucking, I respected that.
Dealing with negativity is never easy, and behind a computer screen the crazies are much more brave to slander and spit hate. The expert, Kyle, has some great tips for dealing with it.
Hi. My name is Kyle. I’m a lacrosse writer.
Actually, no – let’s start over.
I’m Kyle Devitte – the most hated lacrosse writer in the world.
It’s not hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen, it’s just the truth. Over a period of about five years I have somehow managed to become the most despised and reviled writer in my chosen field of work. Normally I’d go into some rant about how it happened and why – but I’ve done it so many times that I’d rather scrape my eyes out with a rusty melon baller than do it again.
Instead, I shall share with you – dear reader – how to deal with being hated by the very thing that you love the most.
It’s very much like the grieving process detailed here: http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html
With a few minor differences.
…for irony’s sake.
(umm…watch from 6:45 on for the take-away)
- Denial. For a long time I denied being hated. Someone would leave a snarky comment here and there at the bottom of a post and I’d just be like “Oh. Neat. You’re an idiot.” and think nothing of it. But then there were more. Not too scathing, but just backhanded enough to irritate me. And then I found out those comments were filtered and the ones that didn’t make it through the screener were even worse.
- Pain. It sucks when people don’t like your writing. If you’re anything like me, you take it very personally. Like if someone doesn’t like your introductory paragraph they don’t like you. This, of course, is untrue but the writer’s heart is a tortured and oft-flayed beast. To this day I assume everyone I meet in the lacrosse world dislikes me – just in case. Dealing with the pain of criticism is part of getting better. You can only be SO self-aware; maybe you DO use too many adverbs.
- Anger.Contrary to popular belief I’m not an angry guy. I just feel the most comfortable expressing anger as opposed to other emotions. Anger is easy. Anger is my friend. I sound like a crazy person. You know that poem about love not being judgmental that is read at every wedding in every romantic comedy since 2006? You know its…Oh right. It’s not a poem. It’s from the bible.
I read that to myself but replace love with anger and it makes me feel better. I’m adorably blasphemous. There are people out there who just hate everything. They live large chunks of their life scouring the interwebs for things that they hate because it entertains them to think that they can affect those that create. I’d like to tell you not to care. But you will care. You will get hurt. They will say something that crosses the line. You will be tempted to blast back at them. Don’t. Don’t be like me. Don’t fall into the trap. Personal attacks were not invented on the internet – they were just perfected there.
- Loneliness. I’m not lonely. YOU ARE THE ONE THAT IS LONELY. I feel better. Greatness is a lonely mountain of grace.
- Acceptance. It’s not so much acceptance as it is recognition. You have to own being hated. It has to be yours. The alternative is much more frightening. What if no one has any feelings about your work at all? Nothing. Just a void of non-caring obliqueness. You’re not even worth a mouse click. Is that better than being hated? Is it better to be loved and NOT read? Honestly, ask yourself that question. You might be surprised by the answer. You can’t look at being disliked as a failure.
- Working Through. Basically if you answered “I’d rather be loved and not read than hated and read” you are not a writer – you’re a pretender and you’re probably too idealistic for the harsh rigors of the internet. Go home.
- Hope. Hahaha, just kidding. There’s no hope. Either you accept that people will dislike you/your work/your face or you are living in a fantasy world. Not everyone is going to love you in real life or the internet.
One thing I want to make clear – you should never change your voice to gain acceptance or exclusion. Changing how you write is like changing who you are. It will eat you up inside and you will not be able to sustain it. People often say that writing is easy. And they’re right. Writing IS easy. Writing WELL is difficult. Writing to entertain AND inform is damn near impossible.
But it’s a lot easier when people hate you.