I’ve been writing my own blog for almost 4 years now, and it’s funny how things have changed during that time. When I first started writing online, my biggest fan was my mom. As anyone would guess, she nodded in agreement with everything I said and thought I was ahhh-may-zing.
But as time went on and more people started reading, angry comments and criticism starting pouring in. Fortunately, it has never been a big deal to me. I mean, I’m not writing for The Atlantic or trying to win a Pulitzer Prize here, folks. I do write professionally, but my blog is unapologetically casual.
So yeah, I occasionally use words like “cray” and “gazillion.” If you don’t like it, then by golly, you can stop reading any time. Or keep going and grit your teeth. The choice is yours.
Let me be clear: I don’t care.
Either way, blowing up a website means getting new critics every day. And over time, the chorus of disgruntled readers has grown in size.
Still, I’m not sweating it. In fact, I’ve learned to enjoy the angry comments, especially the unintentionally funny ones. For example, I’ve been called a gold-digger more than once (LOL). A common theme in my hate mail is that I’m an out-of-touch elitist (Say what?). People constantly accuse me of not being a good mother, even though they’ve never met me or my children (Sigh). I was even accused of not vaccinating my kids the other day (Eye Roll). Oh, and my favorite – I love it when people call me greedy (100% True).
How to Deal with Online Criticism
If you’re just starting out in the realm of internet freelancing, it can be tough. Angry and disgruntled readers often take life’s frustrations out on you in ways that you’d never expect, and it can be disheartening. But it doesn’t have to ruin your day, nor should it make you stray from writing in your own true voice. Want to deal with online criticism like a boss? Follow these simple tips:
Celebrate the Fact that You’re Doing Something
When you put yourself and your work out there, it’s only natural that not everyone will be a fan. And that’s okay, right? Some people may not like your writing style. Others might think you’re boring. Some people might think you’re a total bitch (That happens to me…..a lot). Remember, you’ll never please everyone.
Instead of letting negative comments get you down, celebrate the fact that you’re doing something. I mean, you’ve put yourself out there in ways that others can only dream of. It takes a lot of strength and courage to publish anything you’ve created for all the world to see, and you deserve some credit for that.
See also: How to Freelance Writing Changed My Life
Don’t Feed the Trolls
When someone anonymously insults you, your first instinct is likely to fire it right back at ’em. However, that’s usually a bad idea. Trust me, I know. I’ve done it a hundred times. Fortunately, I am usually smart enough to delete my comeback before hitting “submit.” Usually. But, sometimes I can’t help myself and I say things that just invite more criticism. And the one thing I’ve learned about trolls is that they’re kinda like Mogwai. When you feed them, they multiply.
Know That People Hate Success
One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people hate hearing about success. At this point, it’s happened to me too many times to be a coincidence. For example, when I write about the mistakes we’ve made and stupid things we’ve done, I usually get supportive comments. But, when I write about our 50% savings rate and how I quit my job and quadrupled my income, the comments get pretty stupid. Sometimes they’re even nitpicky about things that have nothing to do with the article itself, which is a key indicator they basically wish they were me. (Kidding!)
When you reach a certain level of success, you’ll probably notice that some people have a different attitude toward your writing. Instead of taking it personally, it’s important to keep things in perspective. The fact that people even care what you have to say to begin with is reason to be proud, even if they don’t like it.
See also: How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs
Keep Your Eye On the Scoreboard
Hurtful comments about your creative endeavors can be painful, but they don’t really matter in the long run. Everyone has their share of critics, but their opinions only matter if you let them. If I had a dollar for each time someone criticized my writing in some way, shape, or form, I would be rich!
Have you built up a healthy readership? Is your website earning money? Are people paying you to write? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you are a success. Period. If people continue to tear you down after you’ve proven yourself, simply point to the scoreboard. You’re winning.
The Bottom Line
If you’re building an online career, you should know that criticism only gets more intense as you grow in popularity and expand your reach. Instead of letting it get you down, wear your criticism like a badge of honor. Remember the days when you only wished that someone would read what you had to say, and consider yourself lucky that you’ve finally made it.
Also remember, angry comments can sometimes be learning opportunities. Every reader is important, and there are times when their criticisms are warranted. At the very least, use their anger to build a thick layer of skin. From one writer to another, I can tell you, you’re going to need it.