On Christmas Day, I woke up to a notification on my phone. Someone sent me an anonymous message telling me that although they’d initially enjoyed a fanfic series I wrote, they hated my main character. This was a character I’d spent a lot of time developing and working on and I’m not going to lie–it hurt to have someone tell me that I’d created “the worst character ever.” It wasn’t exactly how I’d hoped to start my holiday.
Unfortunately, terrible people are a part of life, especially if you spend any time on the internet. People feel a lot braver behind the anonymity of a computer screen and will then say horrible things they might not say otherwise.
But you know what? Fuck ’em.
Dealing with negative comments and people isn’t fun, but it’s going to happen as more people read your work. And it’s not a reflection on you–it’s a reflection on the person making the mean comment. Do they really not have anything better to do than go on the internet and tell someone that their hard work sucks?
Being told I created the worst character ever isn’t even the worst thing I’ve heard. I’ve been told that my stories suck, I’m a terrible writer, I chose the wrong ending for my work, I should give up, and, of course, the classic “kill yourself.”
This isn’t to say that I think you shouldn’t listen to constructive criticism–that’s how you get better. But there’s an obvious difference between someone giving you authentic feedback with the intent of helping you improve and someone who just wants to be an asshole.
At the end of the day, you have to just ignore the senseless negativity, as hard as that might be. If you put your work out there for others to read, some people will tell you it sucks. Everyone hears it, from beginning writers to huge names like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.
The most important thing is to remember that you are creating something unique that didn’t exist in the world before. Not everyone is going to like it, but that doesn’t take away from what you made. Some people are just awful. But you, creator of something magical and new? You kick ass. Don’t let some pathetic weasel hiding behind the anonymity of the internet make you feel any less like the amazing writer you are.
And don’t you forget it.
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