The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Don't do me any favors

I want to say one more thing on my rant from before, then I'll stop and get back to writing about writing (or, more accurately, not writing about writing).

The thing that I see in the writing community that I haven't seen in other communities I've been part of is the condescending expert. These are the people who are successful writers and think that gives them reason to savage all the newbies. People new the the business ask stupid questions (and contrary to popular believe, there ARE stupid questions, though that doesn't mean you shouldn't still ask them) and these self-appointed forum police proceed to tear them to pieces and tell them how stupid they are. Their rationale is always the same: "I'm doing you a favor. You have to get used to this kind of abuse in the writing business." They say this as though the entire writing business is a tank of sharks waiting for some tender morsal to devour.

As a writer, yes you will need to learn to accept criticism and rejection. "You are an idiot" is not criticism; it's insult. And yes, writers will occasionally come across people who mistake insult for criticism. But so do butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. We all learn at a young age that the world is full of people who have to make themselves big by making everyone else small. And all of us, not just writers, have to learn to deal with them.

Kids who grow up with verbally abusive parents don't grow up tough. They grow up to be weak and self-loathing. Employees who are abused by their bosses don't do better work. They are more likely to slack off (or just quit and find a human boss). People are not "helping" by being vicious and nasty. They are just being vicious and nasty.

You deal with someone like this just like you deal with the guy who screams at you in traffic. You can scream back, but that doesn't fix anything. They aren't suddenly going to apologize or turn into nice guys. One of the best ways to deal with a bully is to ignore him. In some forums you can go one better and add them to your ignore list so you don't even have to see their tiresome, venomous posts (though you still have to read about people reacting to their posts).

You've heard the old joke about the woman who says to the stumbling man, "Sir, you are drunk," to which the man replies, "And you're ugly, but tomorrow I'll be sober." I'll get past being a neophyte, but you, sir, will be a jackass forever.

Oh, and in actual writing news, I got another article done: How To Recover Floppy Disk Data.


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