Monday, March 3, 2014

Haters Gonna Hate. Where does that leave me?

I've had a pretty positive experience so far with Wattpad. With each chapter I post, my readership grows and grows. It's rather exciting, to know that I was brave enough to put my work out there, and it has more than zero views!

Then there are the comments I've received. I have had some light criticism, but this has been constructive and helpful and delivered with a dollop of glowing praise and support. I spent so long being reluctant about interacting with others on the internet and in real life over my work, but on Wattpad I am comfortable enough to let my voice be heard.

Revenge of the Troll

They're back and now they live on the internet!
However, this past weekend I had my first purely negative comment. It said my serial near-future novel on Wattpad, RoboNomics, is boring. The troll, as they will now be known, declared that they will no longer be reading it.

Now, for anyone reading this who is a writer, you'll already know that our kind does not need trolls. We already have our own demons to deal with: self-doubt and the dreaded censor that mucks with our work. Not to mention the countless rejections from actual reputable journals. So my first emotional, knee-jerk reaction to reading this comment was to fall down that hole and abandon writing in the process.

But then I took a moment. I took a deep breath and decided that I'd rather be angry than self-pitying. Angry gets a bad rap, but it can be a productive emotion. And that's what I needed. I needed anger.

So I went with my second reaction. To evaluate the comment and the person who made it. From what I could determine, the criticism was not constructive. It added nothing to my work, but was aimed to play on my weaknesses, my perceived flaws. I then found out that the troll in question did not have a user picture but rather a default picture, and that they had published one thing on Wattpad which they then unpublished. Also, what's the damn point of stating in a comment that you're about to stop reading a book? There is none. If you don't want to read it, don't read it.

So I decided the best thing to do with such an uncalled-for and pointless attack on my work was to get it out of my life. I deleted it and 'ignored' the user (the Wattpad equivalent of block). I tweeted about my experience to release my negative emotion about the whole thing and reminded myself that my book has over 1,000 unique reads, and that some peeps are just plain jealous.

There may be more trolls in my future (although it'd be nice if there weren't), and I might have to deal with such useless negativity again. But now, at least, I have a strategy to follow to diffuse the emotional trauma and to banish the troll.