Dealing With Offensive Writers

In the last article, I talked about reader dramatics. Now, I’m going to cover conflict among peers.

I know my choices are not what most would consider, let alone implement, but that’s okay. Writers can choose whatever path works for them. I hold no grudges towards anyone for their choices, just as I hope no one does for me. Sharing everything for free is what works for me.

But writers all share a commonality. Our online exposure helps us find readers. Unfortunately, one of the downsides is that we don’t always encourage and support one another.

The drama writers can stir up is worse than a high school filled with exploding PMS. It’s best to avoid them as much as possible, especially when friends are battling each other.

Pretending nothing is happening is the best course of action. But, every now and again, someone will try to pull others in on purpose. The key is to back out before they do any damage.

But then there’s strangers or people who are not at all who you thought they were. They could be feeling a wide array of emotions, such as jealousy at (or threatened by) what you do, angry they can’t do it, a belief that their talent is superior, or they’re somehow repulsed at your thinking, beliefs, or life choices.

Whatever the core reason, they’re miserable and feel like this behavior will somehow empower them, while belittling someone else. If I see it happening, or someone starts to bully me, I don’t engage. I block them.

But sometimes, I notice writers talking in general about how “some” will do something they feel is wrong or an insult to the craft. Unless they start mentioning people by name (especially if my name is dropped among the list, which, luckily, doesn’t happen often), I’ll treat it as though I never saw it. Engaging in a debate often results in a war between the writers, and any readers that want to jump in to defend their beloved author.

Generally, I follow my instincts and choose the best course of action. I won’t tolerate someone attacking or spamming people that I spent a long time and effort to earn as readers. And I will defend it to the best of my abilities.

So far, WordPress continues to be free from this type of behavior, but maybe I’m one of the few that hasn’t seen it.

Tell me about your experiences with this. Do you have any thoughts to add?

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90 thoughts on “Dealing With Offensive Writers

  1. Great post Sarah. I’ve been fortunate not to have any negative posts on my blog, though I’ve had a number of really mean-spirited book reviews! I don’t mind negative reviews if they are constructive, but mean is just mean.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. well said, sarah. there are no offensive writers, only offended readers. If you focus on that bad behaviour, in any way, it will grow. if you don’t, it will wither away. these are my thoughts on this, at this time. Keep up the good writing, please!

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s true. Those readers may also be writers, but they’re using their self-imposed “higher talent” to try to belittle others. And I agree, giving it attention is what they crave, so ignoring it is the best policy. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Sarah. I haven’t run into problems on WordPress either, perhaps because I don’t have that many followers ;), but there’s a saying if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. It’s especially important when you’re writing, as written text misses the nuances of what we are able to communicate face to face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right. I follow that rule to the best of my ability and I try to make sure I’m clear in my intent when I talk to people. Sometimes, I just can’t tell if someone means well, or if they’re deliberately making a snide comment. I err on the side of caution and treat things as if nothing negative was intended. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. And don’t worry about your blog. Keep writing and you’ll find your readers. 😊

      Like

  4. I’ve never come across offensive writers on my blog. But I have read some unnecessarily cruel reviews by readers, some may be writers too, but I doubt it, on amazon. If you don’t like a book or an author, say so by all means, but accept that it’s your subjective opinion, not the sacred, universal truth, and there’s no need to be spiteful because karma’s a real bitch! πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I agree with you. Some people love to treat books (and by extension) authors like they’re the greatest offense in their lives. I don’t understand that. You can explain why you didn’t like a book without being cruel. Maybe some people just don’t get that.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A nice balanced and thought provoking article Sarah. I agree, WordPress is one of the better social media platforms for encouraging and supporting comments. Luckily the trolls and spammers have yet to find me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cynicism and arrogance are both paper crowns. Enjoy what you enjoy, and maintain the courage of your convictions. Which does not mean that because something is out of your normal acceptance range you need to respond or demean or spread vitriol in your wake. My dad used to say opinions are like a certain part of the body that eliminates waste. Everyone has one, and it’s unfortunate some feel that they need to share theirs and what comes out with the rest of us. Write. Let it go. No need to engage in defense or justification. Hit the mute button and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really interesting to hear your opinion on this- I think it’s perfectly valid to block people harassing you if you choose and ignoring them is always the best course of action. My personal way of dealing with these people is to let them say their piece- cos I’m not personally affected by it and believe they have the right to say what they like- but then I generally ignore them anyway. I have engaged once or twice before- but only because one of my followers was kind enough to defend me (I wouldn’t just leave someone I like to deal with a troll on their own πŸ˜‰ )

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been lucky: I’ve always found support from other writers. That doesn’t mean they love my stuff, of course. But I’ve gotten only genuine feedback and the opportunity to “talk shop.”

    I have seen lots of posts that kvetch about various tropes and such. In general, I’m with you–as long as no one’s naming names or pointing fingers, I don’t take any offense. Even if they insult a trope I happen to love. And, once in a while, I’ve taken part in good conversations on these posts. So far, no wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m new to this game and I am thankful that I have been led to your blog. It never dawned on me that there are “writing communities” out here on the web and, further, it amazes me that writers can be so rude with each other. We are all creating imagery. We are all using the primary colors to paint. Would Picasso diss Monet because he wasn’t cubist? Or whatever Picasso was? I don’t think so. There was a quote years ago that went something like this: To see how great a man is, watch him behave with a person who can do nothing for him. It’s in the way we treat others that our character is set. We can either be a hero or a zero. I thank goodness that I have not run into any of these naysayers. And that, so far, I have been blessed by the visitor’s to my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love your insights. It’s so true. It would feel absurd to have famous painters in their own creative ways of expression treating each other like they’re lesser artists. But alas, these days it happens. Luckily WordPress is mostly an uplifting community. It’s the social media we have to watch out for. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thankfully I am not active on most outlets. I couldn’t keep with it all honestly. I do connect with friends on Facebook and have seem some negativity on there (moslty over politics). When I have written enough to call myself a writer I may start a page on there to build/connect with an audience but all that is foreign to me at the moment. What do you do to keep up with it all?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I found that Facebook was mostly a blank hole in terms of gaining any activity or faithful readers, and the conflicts going on there were too intense for me to justify continuing. I do use twitter, mostly to show support to friends on WordPress, so it’s relatively small. My biggest foray into social media is Instagram, which has taken tons of effort to grow. The new algorithm is terrible and the drama is high, but I find that I’ve put too much time into it to simply walk away from it.

        Like

      • It really is a matter of how much effort you want to spend on it. The more care and devotion you give, the more you receive in return. It depends on if you feel such an undertaking is worth it.😊

        Liked by 1 person

  10. “Generally, I follow my instincts and choose the best course of action. I won’t tolerate someone attacking or spamming people that I spent a long time and effort to earn as readers. And I will defend it to the best of my abilities.”

    I saw a ton of what you’re discussing on other platforms. I no longer write on any of them. I’m grateful to be on WordPress. Overall, the atmosphere is a welcoming one with only a few frogs amongst princes. It is important for me to keep my writing space safe. I do what I have to in order to ensure that.

    This is a great post, Sarah. Thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t run into this on WordPress, but I have and still do run into this with critique groups and workshops. Sometimes I feel like people are arguing over how to hold the paintbrush when painting, if that makes sense. Like you said, it’s art. So just paint. When I come in I just want to make sure what I said made sense – I didn’t come in to relearn how to hold the brush.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, exactly. That’s one of the biggest frustrations I experience with social media and writing communities outside of WordPress. It’s not about relearning everything you know, it’s about evolving what you already have at your disposal. 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • EXACTLY! My writer’s voice are the brush strokes that I have brought to the table and I’m not going to let someone sit there and tell me that needs to change. So if I need 2 adjectives to describe your hair instead of 1 in a single sentence… guess what? πŸ˜‰ Yeah… that’s right, those 2 are staying there. I’m still trying to figure out how someone can describe “fluffy brown hair” with only one adjective and create the same picture. Yes… that argument has happened. Honestly I don’t even care if someone uses adverbs. They can use all the adverbs that they want as long as it works for the piece they wrote. That’s where poetic license comes in.

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      • Right, fluffy brown hair sets a certain tone. It’s not wild like frizz, but it’s not smooth, either. I don’t see how there’s an issue with that. If it adequately describes what you envision, then by all means, use it. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  12. No writer has ever said anything derogatory to me, except on an online writing course where my critic clearly just didn’t ‘get’ writing that wasn’t a straightforward narrative. It wasn’t a good experience even though he was clearly…..challenged. I got quite cross, but it was amusing.
    But I just want to say, as a fledgeling writer, how nice it was to get a ‘like” from someone I don’t know. Thank you for that ‘like” Sarah. It was hugely uplifting! It led me to your work, and I just love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I feel that constructive criticism sometimes comes without the “constructive” added to it. It doesn’t really help is improve if all we hear is negativity and no suggestions on how to fix it. And you’re very welcome. I read a lot of blogs and I very much enjoy what I read. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This was a great post! I often use examples of stories I’ve read on other sites to make a point, but I would never name drop the writer or the story title.I feel once a fellow writer goes to that level, then it’s just starting drama.

    WordPress is a wonderful writing community, and I’m glad we don’t have drama here. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve honestly never encountered hostility to my writing. I seen it happen to others sadly but always after the fact.
    I’ve always considered this place a safe haven. Maybe it’s because my writing is quite bland and sterotypical following basic themes that I blend to the background or maybe it’s white male privilege that I escape attack. Thinking about it ive only seen hostility around female writers.
    Some people just don’t have a supportive nature and can be very selfish. There’s an unspoken like for like culture here, people who don’t care to read just make their follower count look impressive.
    I’ve accepted people are strange and will always surprise me. good or bad they’re the audience, we live to entertain and provoke thoughts.

    I feel like this is turning into a pointless comment as I can’t really speak about cruelties if peer. I did however find this a really interesting read so there’s that πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the topic. I don’t understand why some people just hit the like button without reading, or why people constantly bump their posts. It seems disingenuous. But aside from that, especially on Instagram, there’s a controversy going around about what constitutes ‘good’ writing. There’s certain aspects to dealing with social media, one of which is catering to your audience and growing your readership. This doesn’t always mesh with people that have an elitist mentality. But you’re right, I feel WordPress is like a safe haven. It’s nice to escape and just read, make friends, and have great conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Neither do I. I like to read something with a view to comment. Now some days, some moments I just want to read without verbal interaction… usually when I’m tired. It can take me a while to comment as I still get those pangs of anxiety that my comments aren’t wanted by the writer that im intruding on their privacy. If only the hostile ones thought like that.
        Instagram is a weird one…. I rarely comment there. The writing I find there I tend just to like and if I feel the need to comment I’ll go to the blog as the writers I follow there came from here. I have more of an attachment to the world here, especially when most of what I look at on Instagram is geek based nonsense.
        I’m not sure I know exactly how to manage my writing in a social media sphere. I enjoy what im doing here and thr writing I’m doing but my mind is preset to old media. All that I do here is push myself to be creative be consistent and build a catalogue. I honestly don’t know what my audience prefers. I know they aren’t keen on the short stories but that cause I’ve fallen into a poetry followership… but still no clue what’s best to market to them.
        Luckily as I’ve avoided hostility thus far it gives me the freedom to experiment. I don’t handle hostility well so if it did happen I might just run away.
        I’ve realised I’m painting a massive target on my back for trolls. Ahahaha

        Let’s just hope that wordpress continues to be the wonderful safe haven of encouragement!

        Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think anyone will read this and add your name to their black book of pain. But that said, I sort of have the same issue with my following. Both WordPress and Instagram are kept active with poetry, which doesn’t always give people a sense of my fiction, which is really where my heart lies. I’ve found that sharing stories, even serials, which have become more popular over the past year or so, aren’t very popular. It seems most platforms, including WordPress can only handle a certain word count before readers decide to move on. My suggestion is to separate longer bits into 1k lengths and see where it takes you, or, just publish them and share them that way. I read an article the other day that really surprised me. Perhaps you’ll find that it’s the best option for you. 😊 http://writersweekly.com/this-weeks-article/how-i-made-10k-last-month-writing-and-selling-erotica-by-anonymous

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d certainly hope not. I’m a kind innocent soul after all…I suppose if anything maybe I should stop showing off my hair. it is a tad too pretty πŸ˜„

        That’s quite the interesting article. I think I could do that. I like your idea of the 1000 words. When I was working on a collab story project with some fellow WordPress writers I enforced a 1000 limit. My own serialised novelette on here could have done with being 1000 a chapter but I was new.

        I need to focus more time to long form writing but I’m enamoured by poetry that much I can pull myself out of the cycle.

        Maybe I should follow the articles guide see what happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, it’s just what I’ve found to be effective on my blog. I’ve found that super-sized pieces, unless I’m already into the story, I may not read the whole thing due to eye strain. Without better pictures of your hair, I can’t really comment on if it’s “too pretty”, but if my novels are any indication, I’m a fan of long hair and stubble. πŸ˜†πŸ˜† But if you choose to attempt to monetize your writing, it might be a good avenue to try.

        Like

      • It’s very sound advice. I know that adapting to that would work. I don’t put many short stories on here so I’ve never really adapted but it’s something I plan to do once I get back to story mode
        My hair isn’t really something you comment on its mostly I tell you it’d pretty and you accept it. There’s no discussion no argument just fact. Ahahahaha πŸ˜‹πŸ˜„

        I am in need on money so maybe using my writing could be a good step forward. we shall see 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for promoting an atmosphere of encouragement and positivity, both on your blog and throughout WordPress! I myself have only encountered negative or belitting authors maybe 3-4 times online, and never on WordPress. I am in line with you in that I would staunchly defend myself and other writers whom I admire and respect if they are being slandered. Writing is difficult enough; we don’t need curmudgeons souring our passion and harming our writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, exactly. I don’t see the point in slanderous posts and rants about what they feel is a knock on the craft. Art is art and its always going to be subjective. There will always be some that don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean that the work should be ripped. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  16. I haven’t come across offensive authors. I’m part of an online community where we encourage and lift each other up, strengthening and building our confidence and platforms through supporting each other in their literary practices. It’s a fantastic group of people I love and treasure dearly ^-^

    Liked by 2 people

  17. There will always be people around with different mind sets and old B. S. ,we cannot control them and change things. Yes agreed to your words that you need to defend but Sarah that is going to create more pressure on self. The ones who are there can defend themselves too and best way to defend self is by not giving anyone the right to tell them what and who they are. We need to be strong so that external outer forces don’t let the inner being be disturbed. Nothing saying against your thoughts but I have been reading your words and lovely post for months now and I know what emotions maybe you going by. But, Sarah you are stronger and let others know that they cannot shake you. Once you show up this the others will also learn a way to be stronger. πŸ™πŸ™. Extremely sorry if my words or thoughts somehow hurt your feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

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