How to Deal with Hate Comments in Marketing and Writing

You Amongst the Hate Comments

So, I have been playing around with various ad managers out their (Facebook, Instagram, etc), to try and get more feedback on my blog, as well as just get more eyes on it. I tend to see pretty far reach, high impressions, a reasonable amount of clicks, but not very much engagement with either the ads or the blog post linked to the ad. So, I tried to go a bit more informal with my ad copy and just straight up asked people if they would be willing to check out something I wrote.

Well, I got what I wanted. I received a comment not long after I started my campaign. The comment was poking fun at my ad copy and how if that was any indication of my writing ability, they most certainly would mind reading anything else I wrote. It was the sickest of burns, to be perfectly honest, and had it been directed at anyone else, I probably would have laughed. However, because it was pointed at me, it felt like the worst possible thing to be said. I wouldn’t call it a hate comment, personally, but I could see how others might see it as one. Now, in that vulnerable state, there were many things I could have done, but I think I did what was probably best, and I want to share that process with you today:

Step away for a bit

I had a notification on my phone about the comment. I read the comment, felt horrible, then closed my phone, and did other things. Did the comment go away? Of course, not. Was I still feeling horrible? Of course, but it would have only gotten worse if I sat there and stared at it. When faced with negative or harsh criticism, it’s very easy to dwell and lash out. When you encounter it for the first time, I implore you to shut it off and walk away. Now, I wouldn’t suggest this in every situation where you face criticism because, ultimately, it isn’t productive, but when you first see it, you’re feeling vulnerable, and those emotions are guiding your action, it’s definitely best to just look away. We can look at it again once you’ve had time to process.

Do not delete the comment or respond negatively

Your first instinct is probably going to be to delete the comment, which is totally understandable. You are on social media. People will read this comment. You don’t want to fan the flame by leaving it there, but in reality, by deleting it, you may just do the one thing you are trying to avoid. They won’t be notified when their comment is deleted, but if they are following your post, they will notice their comment is gone when they check again. You will just be giving them more ammo.

It’s the same thing when responding. Don’t give them anything to work with. If you can’t respond with kindness, then just don’t respond. It is easier said than done when you are in the moment. However, you have to remember that you are on social media. People have opinions, and they can express them however they choose, even if it hurts your feelings. If you respond negatively, it will make you look bad, not the person you are responding to.

Consider, is it really a hate comment?

It is very easy to say every criticism is a hate comment. However, that is not only counter-productive, but just not true. Just because it rubs you wrong doesn’t mean it’s a hate comment. Just because the comment isn’t in agreement with your own opinions doesn’t mean it is a hate comment. Just because it is pointing out flaws in your work doesn’t mean it is a hate comment. Can critical comments be harsh? Sure, but that does not make them hate comments. When you have taken some time away from the comment, try and ask yourself, “is this really a hate comment?”

If you can, respond with kindness

I think most people comment negatively on ads because they don’t think the person putting out the ad is an actual person. I felt that this time around. So, I responded by thanking them for their honesty and ended it there. As of writing this, I haven’t received a response. Maybe I have only enticed the person to respond negatively again; maybe they will appreciate that I responded and took their words into consideration; maybe they didn’t care one way or another, and I am just wasting my time dwelling on something so insignificant. Either way, I have not made myself the bad guy. So, if you feel compelled to respond, I recommend you respond kindly, above all else.C

If you find criticism to be too stressful, don’t market your work

This is the internet. You want people to read your work. You want to get published. You want to get better as a writer, then you have to be open to criticism. It sucks, but that’s the nature of the beast. You will be faced with hate, hate disguised as criticism, and criticism you feel is hate. You will experience it all, and, of course, it won’t all be bad. There will be good times. You will receive praise, but you should never go in thinking that the world is going to be kind to you. It probably won’t be, but it’s all in how you handle it that matters.

Everyone, stay safe, be as kind as you can be, but please keep writing.

-Lissy

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Entering a Writing Competition

I entered a writing competition.

Writing competitions aren’t that different from submitting your work for general publication, but it just feels different. I feel like there is more at stake (though it could be that I had to pay a submission fee, which I have also never done before), and I feel that if I fail to win or place that it will just prove all of those insecure, internal voices right. Ultimately, though, if I ever plan to do anything more with my writing than just publishing one piece a year, I need to start taking chances, dipping my toes in bigger pools, and putting myself in more uncomfortable situations.

So here I am, I have entered a writing competition, and I am scared to death. The process itself wasn’t very difficult. I did the same thing I have done anytime I have submitted anything to anyone, expect I had to put in my credit card info, which felt really weird and wrong. Ultimately though, I shouldn’t be as worried as I am right now. At this point, though, you are probably wondering why this matters to you:

You are probably nervous, too

And I am here to tell you that it is 100% okay. You are not alone when it comes to that feeling. You are probably also telling yourself, “Why am I entering these writing competitions? I am not a good writer. I can’t do it. The judges would make fun of me,” and probably many other things. I am also thinking that way, but whether you are doing this for the first time or the thirtieth time, you will always feel that twinge of nervousness getting prepared.

That’s okay. Ultimately, though, you can’t let it get to you. You can’t let that fear stop you from putting yourself out there and reaching your dreams. If you enter the writing competition and you don’t win, at least you can say you tried. You can always regroup, rewrite, and submit again. The more lures you throw out there, the more likely you are to catch a fish (of course you should probably pick some decent bait, aka edit your work before you just start throwing it out there cause quality is king). So get to baiting, and throw those lures out there. I will be doing the same.

Once I hear back on my results from this writing competition, I will, of course, keep everyone updated. Regardless, though, thank you so much for reading. Have you entered any competitions? Are you interested in doing so? Let me know, and comment below.

-Lissy

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The Benefit of Joining a Book Club, for Writers

Stack of Books for Book ClubOne of the first pieces of advice you will ever receive as a writer is to read. Subconsciously, reading helps you learn to write in a variety of ways: you pick up grammar skills, you learn a variety of writing styles, you learn about story structure, character development, etc. All these are wonderful skills that every writer needs to develop. However, reading is a solo activity in most cases, and completely internal. Two writers could read the same novel, and each come away with totally different opinions, skills, thoughts, etc.

One piece of advice I wish I received when I began to pursue writing is to read… and join a book club. Join a book club, start one, whatever… then suggest a book you have enjoyed, or maybe a book from a genre you are interested in writing, etc. Then go into the meetings and take notes. Take note of what people enjoyed, but especially what the majority disliked. Did it line up with what you thought? If it did, great. If not, even better. Regardless, here’s a list of things to learn from book clubs and why:

If they like a book, listen and learn why

Did they like a character? How was he/she developed? Did they like the end? Was it satisfying? What led up to it to, to make it so satisfying? Take notes on what they liked, then figure out why they liked it. Then you can take those elements and apply them to your own writing.

If they dislike a book, listen and learn *harder*

Did they hate the character they were supposed to root for? Was it because he/she was underdeveloped? Did they even finish the book? Why not? Pacing? Were they a fan of the genre to begin with? That last question is probably one of the most important to consider. I am not a big fan of crime novels, so, of course, I am not going to look favorably on it. However, I am a huge fan of fantasy novels. It’s rare for me to dislike a fantasy novel. There must be a pretty good reason for me not to enjoy a fantasy novel, even on a superficial level. Keep that in mind.

Try some new genres

I think every writer kind of falls into a niche. I love writing in the fantasy genre. I love reading fantasy, but I am kind of stuck in a fantastical loop. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a favorite genre, but I do think there can be a lot to learn from other genres. Use the book club as a chance to explore. Try on a new genre. What makes it different from your favorite genre? Can you use some of the new elements in your own writing? Heck, maybe you’ll end up loving the new genre! Explore and have fun.

Listen to how your book club peers describe a book

This is how the average reader will review your work. Every writer should be a reader, but not every reader will be a writer. I have found there is a distinct difference in how readers talk about books, versus how writers talk about books. Take in that language. Remember how the negative and the positive sounds. If you are serious about writing, you are going to hear those voices a lot. Enjoy it, and learn from it. Heck, use it! Enjoy being a reader. It’s easy to forget that’s how most of us started.

Learn to make friends, lots of them!

Reading is a lonely activity and writing even more so. Use this time to enjoy literature with others. Laugh, talk, read, and write. Enjoy the moment of being in a group. It isn’t often we get to do that.

In closing:

Of course, book clubs will help you grow as a writer, but they can really help you grow as a person, too. I encourage anyone to try one at least once. If nothing else, you may just make new friends and find new books to enjoy!

Thanks so much for reading! What do you think? Have you been in a book club? Did you enjoy it? Comment below and let me know.

Lissy

3 things you need to do when your hobby begins to feel like a job.

It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. I went through a short phase where I just kept telling myself, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again,” and that was enough for me. Then it got to the point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests… Those things do take priority, but even during down time, when none of those things had any hold on me, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, it won’t be long until I can write again.”

I had become the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I became the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.

Sure, yes, I do have a lot going on right now. Senior year is right in front of me, and a new job with more responsibilities on top of that eats up a lot of time… Not to mention squeezing in cuddle time with the boyfriend, which I must say I do desperately need during the week. I never considered writing a burden or a chore. It never felt that way to me, and even though I have made it out to seem that way, it still doesn’t.

I just miss the time when it was just all for fun, back when I could sit there and write for hours upon hours, much like how I used to read – another hobby which has met the same terrible fate as writing. Now, life takes so much precedence, I find everything to be tiring. Everything is work, now, even when what I’m doing is supposed to relax me after work.

Writing used to be my life, then reality seeped in and tainted my brain with all of this adult garbage (okay, maybe not garbage, but at least recycling).

But, as always, one thing has helped to remedy my terrible predicament: a list. I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help combat the adult recycling, and while I still haven’t mastered it, this is a great place to start:

  • You have to become double-brained.
    Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to accomplish, and it certainly sounds that way. You have to separate the work brain from the writing brain. Or, in my case, I have to separate the Work Brain, the School Brain, the Writer Brain, and the Intern Brain. In most cases, I’m sure it’ll be more like triple-brained, or quadruple-brained, but, for the sake of brevity, double-brained is what I am calling it. The best way I have found to achieve this is to utilize every second of downtime to decompress. Leave a pause between each brain so you can start fresh. This is easier said than done, especially with all of the wonderful social media to sink hours and hours in. You need time to just turn off for a little while. Have a few moments to yourself with no distraction in any shape or form. This way, you won’t lose your precious down time doing something unproductive, both mentally and physically.
  • If you can’t find down time, don’t stop moving.
    As I disclaimed earlier, I still have yet to master this list, especially with the first point. I have a terrible social media addiction. 99% of the time I’m glued to YouTube or FaceBook, just scrolling or passively watching something, not being actively engaged with anything that is happening on my screen. So, until I get my media addiction under control, the only real way I’ve found to stay motivated is to ride the high, so to speak. If I just got done with a paper, I immediately move on to one of my personal projects. I “ride the high.” Granted, I do occasionally burn out because I forget I need to stop, but keeping the productive fire alive is one of the best ways to find a renewed spark with your own work. Do what you have to at work or school in the best way you can, then carry that motivation home with you. Do your homework, then move right into your own project.
  • You have to accept that being good at something requires hard work.
    It’s just the way the world works. If I ever want to be a serious author (make money doing what I love), I have to work for it. I need to treat it like a job, like it’s something that just has to be done because it has to be done. Sometimes we have to think of things like they are work if we ever want to get better. Otherwise, my writing will always be “just a hobby.” Even if you don’t necessarily want your hobby to become your means of financial stability, you want to be good, right? Then you have to work for it. Some people have that natural, raw ability, but those are the exceptions. Not the rule.

It’s okay to slack off sometimes, but when you’re making excuses just to avoid doing what you love because it feels too hard… then you’re avoiding progress. There’s a reason it feels like too much work. If it’s not worth fighting for, then is it really worth doing at all?

Let me know, and comment below! Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Don’t be shy!

I’m an introvert, and I’m happy

Introvert – not synonymous with shyness. An introvert is not characterized by being shy, though that does not mean they aren’t. An introvert is someone who finds people, and interacting with them, to be physically and mentally draining, preferring to be alone to recharge. An introvert is not constantly in a state of depression and should not be characterized as such. An introvert can have excellent social skills and have many friends whom they regularly socialize, but won’t make it a point to seek out interaction. Introverts are often introspective and prefer to be alone with their thoughts.

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The farther I go into my college and writing career, the more I realize who I am and who I may be becoming. The summer has come to a close. My internship has ended, school has begun… and I’m still learning more and more about myself.

Life has whisked me away again.

I have friends, lots of them, but I’m probably one of the most garbage friends in the world. I see texts and calls, and often times I just don’t reply. It’s not because I don’t want to – far from it – but the way my life is going right now, I don’t have much me time. At my age, that seems extremely childish to say. At my age, I think it’s okay to be selfish once in a while. I have my whole life ahead of me. I’m going to meet so many people in this short period we call life, and the one person I’m going to spend every second with is the one sitting at this computer, writing this post:

Me.

I don’t want this post to be me lamenting life and how crowded it can sometimes seem, but when 90% of my time is spent in the presence of people I have little to no interest in associating with, I live for those times I get to be by myself.

I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love my family. None of that has changed, or ever will change…

I love myself, too. I love sitting behind a book, a laptop, or just sitting and simply existing. I love writing because it’s one of the few things in this world that requires only one person and their thoughts, and I actually have fun doing it. I go to work, I go to school, I spend time around campus, then I go home. Not exciting, not magical or something I want to blog about every day.

But I don’t need it to be. My life is considered boring by most of the population, but I love it.

It’s okay guys. I’m happy. I hope you are, too.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! 
Don’t be shy!