My Life, Your Entertainment: A Lesson on Criticism


One of the most important things for a writer to have is a thick skin. Now days writers must do more than just put words to a page. In addition to endlessly editing and rewriting , we have market ourselves and our works. Writers have to come out of their cozy writing spaces and interact with the people. We have to put ourselves and our writing out there or we will go unnoticed.

When we put ourselves and our writing out there, we put ourselves in a position to be criticized. Thanks to the internet, anyone can review or critique anything. Because of this, having a thick skin (or developing one through the years) is key to being successful and happy with ourselves and our work.

However, just because someone puts their writing or themselves in the public eye doesn’t mean that you should be cruel, vicious or mean-spirited just for the sake of it.

This brings us to today’s lesson on criticism.

Today’s lesson focuses on two individuals. I don’t want to give them any more attention than they’ve already gotten from this, so let’s just refer to them as Bully and Unstable.

Unstable has a history of being well…unstable. He has threatened to kidnap children, burn down houses and murder several authors and anyone who negatively criticizes his work. He also has a beef with Lulu and Createspace which he has been ranting about incessantly. He’s been writing and self publishing his work for about 10 years with little acclaim or positive reviews. Which is understandable because most of his work appears to be incoherent gibberish. Simply put, the guy is certifiable.

Along comes Bully who decides that NOW is the time to rattle Unstable’s cage. She writes a mockery review of his latest gibberish novel. Of course Unstable wasn’t pleased and threatened her. He calls her a cunt and threatens to beat up her husband (which she doesn’t have). Then he posts her picture up on his Facebook page and writes a blog post about how he’s being bullied and unfairly persecuted by Bully and others on the interwebs.

Bully’s reasoning behind bothering to mock review Unstable’s work is because she couldn’t believe that his writing is that bad (but it truly is) and because he made those threats about kidnapping, arson and murdering towards her friends. She says she wanted to alert people about how much of predator and to steer clear from him.

Although there is some validity to Bully’s reasoning, there are lots of holes in her logic. But we’re not here to talk about logic or morals when it comes to either party. We’re here to talk about criticism.

While Bully’s mockery review was valid in its own right, it was clearly a troll trap that Unstable fell for. This isn’t the first time someone wrote a post like this about him and his work and it won’t be the last. As bad as Unstable’s writing is, he should have skin as thick as armor. With a ten year writing “career” under his belt, Unstable should know that you shouldn’t read or respond to negative reviews. It just fuels the fire for someone who is trolling. They get off on seeing you rattled.  He should have kept quiet and spared himself what dignity he has left.

However, Bully isn’t completely innocent. She clearly bated Unstable  for attention revenge. She has the right to review whatever she wants and being brash is her style. However, there’s a difference between critiquing something and being a troll. It seems like she did this more so to bait Unstable into acting like a jackass than to warn others about him. Her review wasn’t constructive or insightful at all. It took her over ten paragraphs to say what could have been said three. Bully obviously has disdain for Unstable so why even bother to talk about him? Oh right. Revenge and awareness.

The bottom line is that just because you can review or criticize something doesn’t mean you should, especially if you have ill intentions. You should also take criticism with a grain of salt. Not everyone is going to like you or your work. The best thing to do when faced with negative criticism is to ignore it or try to learn from it.

 

 

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