Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trolls, E-bullies, and Pot-stirrers

We've all been there. It started on the playground with the meanie-head that pushed you off the swings because they didn't like your pigtails. Now bullies are much more aggressive and utilize emotional abuse. Trolls, or people who search the Internet looking for a fight, are some of the worst offenders (of bulling and using emotional abuse). E-bullies (electronic bullies) are equally menacing. However, the culprit usually knows his or her victim. Pot-stirrers, well, they are a combination of trolls, e-bullies, and so much more. They like to create, manipulate, and expand problems that do not really exists.

Now that bullying has left the playground, it becomes a relevant topic for any venue, the writing community is no exception. I belong to a writing community called Figment. I have been a member for about 13 months. Within my time there, I have not encounter many trolls, e-bullies, or pot-stirrers. However, there were and still are instances of bullying on this site and others.

Bullies don't want their victims to feel good about themselves, or in our case, about our writing. But here's the thing: bullies attempt to terrorize their victims because they are lacking something, in our case, probably writing skills, or it may be something completely unrelated. Either way, it doesn't really matter what their problems is--what matters is the problems they create for you and how you respond (mentally/emotionally, not actual electronic communication) to them. For someone to mercilessly attack someone else or their work indicates that they have a problem--I know I already said this, but it's important.

So, how do you respond? For starters, ignore them. They're not worth a moment of your time. Ignore their negative responses and influence. Don't obsess over the hurtful words of one person. Instead, look at the wonderful reviews and responses that you have received on your writing.

Don't worry, we've all made the mistake of trying to help the trolls, e-bullies, and pot-stirrers understand the errors of their ways. Try to avoid any contact with them--they are not worth your time. Put their negativity and arrogance aside and do what you love. Write!

There will always be critics of your work. Positive and constructive criticism is an amazingly helpful tool and should not be ignored. But the 'advice' from the trolls, e-bullies, and pot-stirrers in your life are not worth a second glance.

Now it's your turn! Let's talk about the success stories of overcoming bullies and/or how your writing has improved through constructive criticism in the comments!


  1. I'm my biggest critic...but doubt kills dreams, doesn't it? :)

    1. I have the same problem! I'm a bit of a perfectionist who has let many a dream die because of doubt.

    2. From your posts about publishing, you seem to have at least beaten down the inner meanie-head.

    3. I have, but it has taken a lot of time. After I published two academic articles in an online journal, I started to get a bit more confidence in my abilities. I knew that I needed to let myself try and fail before anything good would ever come to me. I loosened up and tried to get away from that perfectionist mentality. Once I did that, I was able to improve enough to publish those short articles, but I still have to remind myself that the first dozen drafts don't have to be perfect!

    4. I think it was Ernest Hemingway who said that every first draft is basically crap. I'm not convinced he's entirely correct, but it certainly has an element of truth. No first draft-hey, no book-is perfect. I guess we should both remember that. What journal did you publish in?

    5. He was probably being hyperbolic to make a point that there is a lot of room for improvement in a first draft.

      The journal is called Student Pulse. If you google that with my name, the articles should come up (one is about Globalization and Computer-Mediated Communication and the other is about impression management).