Call me old fashioned, but with all of the things that get posted on Social Media these days, there are times when all I can do is quirk my head and ask, “Seriously?”
Don’t get me wrong. I think Social Media is great. In fact, it has helped me so much in my writing, I honestly don’t know where I would be without it. But sometimes I wonder if maybe we weren’t better off when not everyone had easy access to share every single thought that they have with the rest of the world. Because honestly, there’s a lot of crap out there that the world just doesn’t need.
Celebrity Wars, Twitter Wars, Hate Mail, Cyberbullying and so many other things are all over Social Media and it can be really hard to keep away from it.
But as an up and coming author, YOU HAVE TO. Unfortunately, we are not in the position where we can say whatever we feel and people will still love us. Your conduct is a direct representation of who you are and what you stand for. And I hate to break it to you, but if you are posting mean things on your Social Media, that’s who they will see you as. And nobody wants to support someone they think talks a bunch of garbage (ESPECIALLY A WRITER).
So how can you handle your presence on Social Media? How do you react in a situation where you feel you have been unfairly treated?
Well, as hard as it can be, sometimes the best thing that you can do in a tough situation is to keep your mouth shut (and your fingers away from the keyboard.)
If you can’t, that’s your decision. There’s not much I can do for you except tell you to grow some thicker skin or find a support system to listen when you are upset. (I have found that my cat is a great option. She quickly reminds me that my world is supposed to revolve around her and I need to get over it).
The fact of the matter is this: there are millions of people on the interwebs, and I do not have the time, energy, nor desire to try and control what they deem worthy to share with the rest of the world. True Story.
But since you are here, (and still reading) I’m guessing you have at least some interest in my opinion so here it is:
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
Mind blowing, I know. But bear with me.
I know that it seems simple. I also know that I might be biased because a a teacher and a mother my days are INFINITELY better when my kids are nice to each other. But from a professional standpoint, IT WORKS TOO.
Whether you’re dealing with staff members in a meeting, parent conferences, telephone customer service representatives, husbands who have YET to take out the trash after you’ve asked 3 times… (ok, I’m rambling, but you get the idea.) I can almost GUARANTEE you will have more success being polite, understanding and kind than if you come off as an inconsiderate jerk.
The writing world is no different.
Now, I will say that sometimes people have bad days. There are days when I am cranky, and tired, and, and, and. I get it.
Writing is tough. Trying to get your writing published is even tougher. Querying is absolutely terrifying. Putting your writing out there for others to judge is scary. Especially when it boils down to a single Query Letter and maybe a Synopsis (I’m getting flashbacks to college scholarship applications just thinking about it).
But if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that querying is totally subjective. It depends on what the agent is looking for, what they are currently repping, what industry trends are, your writing style, whether they think your personalities will mesh, etc.
9 times out of 10 I have found that the rejection I received wasn’t because the agent thought my writing was garbage, it was because it just wasn’t a good fit. Other times, it was their opinion of my work (which stung a bit) but, sometimes you just have to take it with a grain of salt and figure out your coping mechanisms.
I recommend chocolate.
But please, for the love of everything good and right in the world, if you absolutely totally, 100% CANNOT LIVE unless you vocalize your hurt feelings, then please,
DON’T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE IT.
Here are a few reasons:
1. Not everyone wants to hear your ______ (angry, pathetic, mean, vindictive, rude, whiney, jaded, vulgar, inappropriate, ridiculous, unfounded -choose which words apply) opinion.
2. Not everyone NEEDS to hear your ______ (again, insert appropriate word choice) opinion.
3. Once it’s out there, ANYONE can read it. Anyone. A-NY-ONE. And with technology nowadays, they can screen shot, keep, and SHARE it with hundreds of their closest friends in SECONDS. Literally. Seconds. Then what you’ve just said can NEVER be taken back.
4. Riding the tail of my previous point is this: after you calm down, get the emotions out of your system, and become a rational human being again, you might REGRET it. But faced with the internet savvy folks of today, you might not ever be able to FORGET it.
What it comes to is this:
You are entitled to your opinion and your feelings.
You are NOT entitled to forcing other people to share them with you.
It is not professional or kind to attack people for their opinions.
The easiest way to maintain professionalism and the respect of others is to be courteous, polite, and humble. If that is difficult for you, then I STRONGLY recommend revisiting one of the most fundamental etiquette rules out there:
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.