Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG)

Good Morning, All! I hope everyone had a very fun and safe holiday weekend. Mine was fantastic. It's the first summer I've spent in my new place (been here about 4 mos) and I kid you not, I had a 360 degree fireworks show. Some of the big ones were going off directly over my house. Place sounded like a war zone. It was awesome! :D 


Okay, so it's IWSG day (the day brought to us by the wonderful Alex J. Cavanaugh, where we can vent, swap stories, encourage, and help guide one another through this crazy journey called writing) and I'm actually co-hosting this month. (Yea me!) To be honest, it's the first IWSG post I've done in a LONG time (and that's partly bc I've been kinda neglecting my blog off and on for the past year) but this is the perfect way to get me back into it. 

So today I wanted to talk about something I know a lot of us are nervous about, and that we'll all have to deal with at some point in our writing journeys:


Dealing with Negativity, Hate, Bullying, and Specifically for Us Writers, Bad Reviews.

So here's the thing. The internet isn't going anyway. Online bullying--be it nasty reviews, body shaming, or just other forms of negativity--is a big problem and one that will continue to grow. As artists that put our work out there for others to see/read/experience, we can pretty much count on some negative feedback at some point. (Even J.K.Rowling has haters. I know. I feel ya. I don't get it either--they must be insane--but it's true.)

Over the past year or so I've actually become a fairly strong presence in the TWD online community. That stands for The Walking Dead, for those who don't know. Anyone who's followed me for a while knows I'm a total TWD junkie and consider myself a mega-fan. Just a guilty pleasure for me, though I'll admit that while the show airs (Oct-Nov, Feb-Mar) I get a whole lot less of my own writing done because I'm consumed with, you know, other things. Hehe.

While gaining quite a few followers in this community, I became a target of some pretty heinous hate. And it wasn't just a random, hating troll I could write off as a side effect of the internet. No, it was a woman from my own fandom who just decided to be threatened by me and started hurling all manner of insults and accusations, every one of which was unfounded. I won't go into the whole drama but suffice it to say, it was pretty bad. And did I consider leaving the online fandom? Meh. I think it goes through every person's mind in my situation, but overall no. I'm with the amazing Jeffrey R. Holland who said, "We are not of them who draw back..." (Source)

But I learned some valuable lessons from my experience and wanted to share them. To be honest, most of us writers don't get TOO much hate unless we see a great deal of success. But since we'll all sell at least a billion books in our lifetimes, we'll all have to deal with this eventually, right? ;D

So here we go (sorry that was a lot of intro):

1. Learn the difference between hate/bullying and expressing an opinion. If people are simply saying that they disagree with something, or your book just wasn't for them, that's not hate. That is simply a difference of opinion. And while this might be hard to wrap your head around the first time someone says they couldn't stand your protagonist, you should actually be happy about differing opinions. You're still getting reviews and publicity, and it shows that you've written a character that someone has opinion about. At the very least, if your character got under they're skin, your character was NOT forgettable.

2. If you are in fact dealing with a bully rather than just a (obviously misguided) opinion, learn to distance yourself from the hate. I don't mean in a denial sort of way, but rather take a step back and see the bullying for what it really is. Check out this quote:



And it's really true. If someone is attacking you personally without actually knowing you, or even attacking your story without giving any valid reasons for their dislike, they're argument immediately becomes invalid. So shrug it off. This kind of negativity is generally a form of projection. Those who watch Dr. Phil probably know what that is. It's psychology 101. 



And in my case, I found out months later that most of the things this hater had accused me of (me: "Where is she getting that from? It's ridiculous!") were things that she actually struggled with herself. Ah. Suddenly makes sense. And validation for me. (Yea!) So look at the negativity for what it really is and don't take it personally. 




Truest words ever. (Source)

3. Finally, be confident. Even if you aren't confident, be confident. This is the fake-it-til-you-make-it part. Because what you think about and dream about eventually comes about. So be confident, develop a thick skin so negativity literally slides right off your back. Be positive, encourage, and always buoy people up, no matter the situation or their reaction.

And remember, people. We are the writers of our generation. We are creating the stories and inspirations of tomorrow. And we are not of them that draw back.


Source

Happy IWSG Day, Everyone! Hope it's a great one! 

P.S. Voting for the IWSG Anthology Contest genre runs through 7/8. Click HERE if you're interested in participating. ;D 

93 comments :

  1. I despise confrontations, even cyber ones. I had my first nasty attack ever on Twitter on Sunday, I was floored. I didn't engage. And the person didn't make another comment which was good.

    Good Post!

    Thank you for Co-hosting LK!

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    1. That is generally the best way to go about it, Cathrina. Just ignore. If they keep attacking, just block. Engagement only fans the fires, so you did everything exactly right. I hope you continue to have good interactions, rather than bad ones. The internet is so fun when people let it be. Thanks for visiting! ;D

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  2. You know, my husband dragged me into The Walking Dead. I even liked it...until that last episode. Ugh. Anyhow, I love your attitude and advice. It's crazy when you analyze the psychology behind hate. We're all just insecure people trying to feel confident in our sphere of influence.

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    1. Very true. Some of us just handle it better than others, apparently. ;D Yeah that last episode was crazy. Like I said I'm big in the fandom. I haven't read the comic books, but I still know what's in them, so I knew it was coming. Most of us are just trying to survive until S7 now, which I think will be amazing. :D Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. Ugh. I'm so sorry you had to experience that.

    "If people are simply saying that they disagree with something, or your book just wasn't for them, that's not hate. That is simply a difference of opinion." <---Yep.

    Excellent post and excellent advice!

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    1. Thank you, Dear. And you know, while of course it wasn't a fun experience, I'm really not sorry I went through it. Hard as it was, it taught me a lot, thickened my skin, and really made me more confident once I got through it. So I'm okay with it now. Thanks so much for visiting! ;D

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  4. Why do people do that?
    You're right that when people attack you, they are attacking something they don't like about themselves. Instead of dealing with their hangups, they bully others. Ignore it and move on.
    Thanks for co-hosting today and welcome back!

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    1. I don't know, Alex. People are people I guess. Just gotta shake your head, ignore it, as you said, and move on. Thank you! And thanks for allowing me to co-host! ;D

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  5. Besides blogs on or adjacent to the IWSG, I don't really comment on anything online. Everyone has a trigger and its way too easy to get caught up in an argument that just makes me frustrated and angry all day. It's not worth it. You're not going to change anyone's mind on the internet.

    www.cdgallantking.ca

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    1. Agreed. It's the political-correctness of our time. Everyone is offended by something. I think that's why it's important to know how to deal with it if you're going to be online a lot. And ignoring it is the best way, not engaging, etc. Thanks so much for visiting, C.D.! Hope everything is going well for you! ;D

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  6. Good advice. I haven't encountered that level of negativity yet, but I hope I can let things slide. And I love The Walking Dead as well, but I have to wait until this fall to catch up on Netflix. Sigh.

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    1. Ooh you haven't watched S6 yet? You're in for quite a ride. It's one of the best seasons they've had yet, in my opinion. And you're kind of lucky to be able to watch it all at once and right before S7 returns (unless you won't be watching that live either?) because there's a monster cliffhanger we've all been dealing with all summer. Can't wait for the show to return! ;D

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  7. I've never watched the Walking Dead. I can say I'll give it a try, but honestly I'm not sure. I'll try. Meanwhile, thanks for co-hosting. Sorry about your negative experiences. All over the world people are doing despicable things to each other. I don't get it.

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    1. Me either, Joylene. It just takes too much energy to be heinous and hold grudges. I don't know how people do that and still function. But apparently they do. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ TWD is a rough show. Obviously I love it and will always campaign for people to try it out, but you gotta love dystopian and zombie gore. I know it's not for everyone. That said, I really do think it's a good thing for writers to watch. It's very character driven and has some of the best characters and plot twists I've seen. So of course I'd recommend it. But I'm not un-biased. ;D Thanks so much for visiting!

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  8. Thank you for co-hosting!

    I'm also a big TWD fan. Stinks that someone within the community would turn like that. I have a "spot you got it" mentality. If someone keeps picking at me, it means they are insecure about themselves. Not always easy to see at the time but usually easier to see with some distance. I'm glad you were able to see that in that person. I'm so sorry you had to go through it with her.

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    1. Aw thanks, dear. Even though it was hard and there are parts of it that still suck, I'm actually not sorry to have gone through it (though I'm glad to be on the flip side). It taught me a lot, gave me a thicker skin, and really conditioned me for the internet age, I think. But thank you just the same. I really appreciate that. Always glad to make the acquaintance of other TWD fans. :D Any predictions on who got the bat?

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  9. Not a big TWD fan, but I see merit in it. When I do catch a show, I enjoy it.
    It used to be that common interests brought people together, but in this "me" oriented society we live in, people are so selfish about the strangests things. You can't like something I like unless I like you or whatever...
    So far negative reviews haven't bothered me because I'm still in that phase of "you actually read my book?"

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    1. Lol. Yeah, I'm only semi-out of that phase too. I've gotten a few negative ones, but really not many. Thanks so much for stopping by! :D

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  10. A critical review of a book is OK - not something anyone wants, but it's fine for people to dislike our work and say so. They should be genuine reactions though, not just nasty remarks which have no connection to the work.

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    1. Agreed. And that's where the hate comes in. When there's no genuine reason or they're just attacking to attack. At that point, their review becomes invalid. Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great day! :D

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  11. Great advice. I especially like "fake-it-til-you-make-it." I'm sorry you had learn through a series hard knocks. You've turned those low blows into strength. Thank you for co-hosting IWSG, I got a chance to meet you and learn something at the same time.

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    1. No problem. Great to talk with you too! As I've said above, I really don't regret the experience because it's made me stronger. I'm glad that's coming through. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great one! :D

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  12. Definitely a good way to get back into blogging! :)

    Big TWD fan here!

    I recently had to step back from an email conversation - not writing-related - that was going to lead me down the rabbit hole of negativity and drama. Like my husband says, "You can't reason with crazy."

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    1. LOL. Agreed. The internet is so fun. Such a great way to network and meet people you otherwise wouldn't. But there's a lot of crazy out there and that's one definite drawback to being an internet junkie. :D Always great to meet fellow TWD fans. Thanks so much for stopping by! :D

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  13. What you said reminded me of my brother in law. He use to level all sorts of accusations at my wife's family, things that didn't really seem to make any sense. And then we began to notice that the things he complained about were actually things he was guilty of doing.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG!

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    1. Yup. Classic projection. It's unfortunate, but once you can recognize and define it, it's easier to deal with. Hope things improve for you on that front. Thanks for stopping by! :D

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  14. Hi, its so sad that you had to face online bullying. Its disgusting the levels some people stoop to. Some people just deserve to be ignored.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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    1. Agreed. And 99% of the time, that's the best way to deal with them. Just block and ignore. :D Thanks for stopping by and co-hosting! ;D

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  15. I always try to remember that everyone likes different things. Isn't that why we are a great people? Well, I think it is. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Yes of course it is! I agree. And those differences should be celebrated, not put down. But that's one great thing about the internet. I've met some of my closest friends that way. So I ignore the haters and stick with people who bring me joy. :D

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  16. You know what you said was very helpful and enlightening not just for reviews but life in general. When people attack it is reflection of them. I need to remember that in the midst of attack. Thank you.
    Happy IWSG Day
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Of course, Juneta! (Love your name, btw.) Thanks so much for visiting. Have a wonderful week!

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  17. I'm with you on TWD addiction. It sounds like I'm glad I don't hang on the fandom boards though :O Thanks for hosting, and I'm glad you know not to take other people's psychosis into your own head.

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    1. No problem, and thanks for dropping by! Always glad to find fellow TWD fans! :D

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  18. I LOVE TWD! Now that Game of Thrones has ended I am in a tv funk until TWD returns in October. Can't wait.
    I shouldn't be surprised, but I still can't help but be that so much bullying goes on in a fandom that is supposed to be about fun and entertainment. It boggles the mind! But I know that the behavior is everywhere on the internet, regardless of the topic.
    I love the "We are not one of them who draw back" line. So powerful! I need to remember that one.

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    1. Thanks Dear! Always great to meet other TWD fans. And you're right: the bullying is everywhere. I think it's worse where there's more passion, and heaven knows TWD fans have passion. :D I hear ya about GoT. That helps me pass the time as well. Do you watch FTWD? It will be back in August. I don't think it's nearly as good as the original (no Daryl and such) but it will still help me pass the time until S7. Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by! ;D

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  19. I've seen the bullying but haven't experienced it myself *knocks on wood*. I lurk a lot and try to stay in the background too, so there's that. Sorry you experienced it, and thanks for the tips.

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    1. No problem. Thanks for stopping by, Gwen. Glad you haven't had to deal with bullying. Have a great week! :D

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  20. I've had a couple bad reviews, but luckily no bullying. My books have a lot of cussing, violence, etc., and they just didn't like it, which they are entitled to. Sorry you went through that!

    P.S. Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Yeah bad reviews are part of writing, and it's good that it was just the content. That's a taste thing. At least they weren't bashing your writing style or characters or anything. That's great. No problem. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week! :D

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  21. You're very brave to get involved in a fandom. A few of the shows I love have crazy fandoms like OUAT and The 100. They're awful on Twitter and Tumblr. So many of those hate-spewers are just teenagers who forget it's just a TV show. I'm glad you had the confidence to move beyond the haters.

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    1. I agree. Many are teens. The ones who aren't have a teenager mentality. The one who spearhead the hate on me was a middle-age woman, surprisingly. But obviously not the most mature of individuals. In truth, I feel sympathy for her. Despite her hate, she obviously isn't confident in her own abilities, to the point where she lashes out at others. It's really quite sad. Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a great week, and continue to enjoy your shows, not matter what. :D

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  22. I've always said that I've been on fandom peripheries--the ones I've looked into just seem too crazy to actually be involved in. This is a great post! Thanks for the shot of positivity!

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    1. No problem! And yeah, fandoms can be rough. The most important thing is to just have fun and enjoy your show, no matter how you accomplish it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week! ;D

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  23. Firstly, thank you for co-hosting. You are awesome. Secondly, what a wonderful and powerful post. You are so right. We need to know how to deal with this. I would never have been able to deal with it as well as you had. I'm sorry someone thought it was okay to take her crap out on you. Wishing you the best.

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    1. Aw thank you, Murees. I appreciate that. Even though it was tough to go through it, I know it made me stronger, so I don't regret it. I have more confidence than ever, both in general and as concerns the internet. I'm actually thinking of starting up an anti-internet-bullying initiative. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great week!

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  24. Good advice indeed! It's hard to develop that layer of Scotch Guard, but I do try to follow that rule of only putting my best self out there in public.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. That's always the best thing to do, Samantha. By far. I'll admit that I've had my days when I've just felt like arguing with the haters, but I still spew hate or bully them in the way they do to others. And most days I just block. Really not worth the drama. And I would definitely never do that as an author. If you can put your best self out there on the net, you're already on the fast track to success. Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great week. :D

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  25. What an absolutely brilliant post Liesel, so inspiring, thank you! :)

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    1. No problem, Angela! Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you have a fantastic week! :D

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  26. I love your post, and I'm sharing it with my teenage daughters :-) Thanks for this!

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    1. Aw, I'm flattered, Jamie. Hope they enjoy it. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a fantastic week. :D

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  27. Oi! That sounds like a rough spot. I haven't been bullied, though I don't know that I've been passionate about anything enough online to speak up about it. I'm glad you made it through, even though it wasn't fun. Thanks for sharing your great advice.

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    1. Sure thing, Loni. I'm so glad you've never been bullied. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week! :D

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  28. I love your response to the negative. Great advice for all of us. The online world can be hostile but the IWSG is all positive! A great place to regroup, rethink, and build!

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    1. I agree, Yolanda. I really haven't done an IWSG post in about a year, so I was glad to co-host and get back into it. It's been really fun and inspiring. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful week! :D

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  29. Hi, LK....

    New follower here. SO glad I dropped into your blog. I like what you had to say. Bravo.... Bullying of any kind is NOT ACCEPTABLE. I am glad you stood proud and managed to get through it without backing down. YAY, YOU!

    Thanks for sharing your story....

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    1. Sure thing, Michael. I hoped people might find it valuable and I've had a great response. I'm actually thinking of starting some kind of anti-internet-bullying initiative. Just giving myself more work which I really DON'T need, but I think it'd be a good thing. :D I'm sure I'll post about it once I get it together. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great week! :D

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  30. GREAT post Liesel! I don't mind a disagree or a difference in taste-unless it gets personal (or they just get it wrong!). Shake it off. And yes, sometimes a bad review is a real attention grabber. Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. Agreed, Nancy. Basic disagreement, as long as it doesn't degrade into hate, is a good thing for authors. It often means people outside their genres are reading their books, which = success. Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful week!

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  31. Sorry you had such an unpleasant experience, but your advises for dealing with negativity are great. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Olga. Glad you got something out of the post. Have a fantastic week! :D

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  32. Wonderful post! And very true. Walt Kelly, who wrote the POGO comic strip said "We have met the enemy and they is us."

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    1. Interesting quote. I like it! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week! :D

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  33. Thanks for co-hosting this month, Liesel! And what a great post to get back into the IWSG groove! I haven't had much experience with bullying and negativity regarding my writing; but, boy, did I have to deal with it as a third grade teacher! Your suggestions are excellent and are ones I worked on with my students. When you don't engage and are confident, you take that bully's power away. But these can be scary lessons to learn! Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge!

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    1. I agree, Fundy. Scary lessons, but once learned they can become a real empowerment. Sorry you had to deal with it as a teacher. It's gotta be worse where children are concerned. Glad you haven't had too much on the internet. Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful week! :D

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  34. Great tips on how to deal with negativity. Some people just get off on bullying and attacking people. Best thing to do is ignore them and don’t let them deter you. Thanks for co-hosting today LK!

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    1. Sure thing! And I agree. Unfortunately there will always be some miserable person who tries to spread their misery. Best to just not let it affect us. Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful week! :D

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  35. Great post! I love all your advice too. One thing I learned in a corporate training job I had years ago was to ask the question, why would a reasonable and rational person do what the do or say what they say? It's from crucial conversations. I find if I can humanize the situation, I can understand it and at least tolerate it better.

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    1. Great perspective, Erica. I agree. Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you have a fantastic week! :D

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  36. Excellent post! I dread running into that kind of negativity, and I'm sorry you experienced it. It's so sad that some people feel the need to resort to that kind of negative expression. Step back, brush it off, and move on is great advice. Thank you for co-hosting!

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    1. Your welcome! I had fun. Glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend! :D

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  37. Great point about bullying vs disagreeing. It's one thing to hate on a person, it's another to simply disagree with that. Seems a lot of people forget that nowadays. Also like how you point out how you deal with a bully makes a difference. Sometimes a bully is a bully because they like to rile people up. If you don't get riled, they leave you alone and move on. I like to reply with, "Great point. I'll keep that in mind." Fortunately, I'm pretty small potatoes when it comes to being a writer so I really haven't had to deal with negative comments. For the most part, everyone in the IWSG is very, very positive.

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    1. Yeah I like that about IWSG too. Thanks for stopping by Jeffrey! Have a nice weekend! :D

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  38. Thanks so much for co-hosting this month, especially after being "gone" so long. I really appreciate your thoughts, and the lessons you shared with us on this post. It is so hard sometimes to have a thick skin when it comes to ones own work, so your words/experience are appreciated and heard.

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    1. You're right, Lisa. It is. But I think that as with everything else, it just takes practice. That's why I'm not sorry it happened to me. It was really icky to go through it, but I know I'll never be intimidated by online bullying again. Not that I'd wish it on anyone else, of course. ;D Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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  39. Thank you so much for co-hosting the IWSG July blogging session. I've just joined the group and I've just joined your blog. You've got some concrete advice here. Thanks for sharing. All the best!

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    1. Thank you so much, Victoria, and welcome. THis really is a great, positive, supportive group. I know you'll love it! :D

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  40. As authors, we have to develop thick skins. We'll get rejections, bad reviews, jealousy, negativity. But we have to learn how to slough it off. Bullying is a different story. We must stand up against it. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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    1. I agree, Diane. I'm going to start an anti-bullying initiative in the next few weeks. I'll put it on my blog when it's ready. I'm actually really excited about it! :D

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  41. Beautiful statements! Thank you for co-hosting and giving us these tips. <3

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    1. My pleasure, Deb! ;D Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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  42. Some people . . .

    Those are all very good points to keep in mind. Lots of people will not be in love with our work(you can learn from this feedback), but bullying/haters are a different breed entirely. Sad you had to go through that.

    Loved all the quotes :)

    My world revolves around TWD and GoT when they are on. My family just shakes their heads and moves on without me.

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    1. Lol. Always good to find fellow fans. I totally feel ya. I don't obsess about GoT as I do about TWD, but it's still one of my faves. We're in the long winter of the hiatus right now. ;D Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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  43. Great tips on dealing with online issues! I haven't personally been hit with trolls yet, but I know it's something I'll be dealing with some day.

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    1. Yeah, as I said in the post, the internet isn't going anywhere, so this problem is bound to grow. I'm trying to put together an anti-bullying initiative to combat it. :D

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  44. Wow - what a horrid thing to have to go through. Glad it didn't break you.
    And thank for for defining TWD - I'm that person - the only one left on the planet who has never watched a second of The Walking Dead. The title scares me.

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    1. LOL. No problem. It's not as scary as it seems, though it IS full of zombie gore and it's one of those shows where they're constantly killing off characters. :( Not for everyone, of course, but obviously I love it. ;D Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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  45. The way I see it those kind of people seem to start mouthing off when they are feeling insecure and/or their envious of your success. Don't waste your time with them. Give them the boot.

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    1. Agreed! Best way to deal is to just block and move on! They're not worth our time. ;D Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

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  46. The way I see it those kind of people seem to start mouthing off when they are feeling insecure and/or their envious of your success. Don't waste your time with them. Give them the boot.

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  47. Firstly thanks for hosting the IWSG this month. Secondly, sorry about the haters. Your advice makes so much sense - the most important one being to develop a thick skin. I think as a writer that's imperative. I have some stories too - about fans who suddenly became super snarky and then I realised it was competitiveness. So sad. Thick skin, thick skin...

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    1. I'm sorry you've had to deal with that as well, Kalpanaa. I agree, so sad. Especially in this industry full of voracious readers, many of whom devour several books a week, there's just no reason for cutthroat competition. We should be building one another up, not the other way around. Not true fans, though, if they're not being kind. Seek out the ones who are on the journey with you, and good luck in your writing. Thanks so much for stopping by! ;D

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