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More Writer Don’ts

Living online makes it very easy to interact with readers. Social networking tools, from Amazon reviews to friend-based webs like Facebook, put a writer in touch with fans–and not so much fans. Once again, it’s very important to differentiate between what the internet makes easy and what is smart behavior from a writer.

Seriously.

I have gotten into some pretty heated discussions with friends on Facebook. None have resulted in cut ties. The only incident of “defriending” on my part involved someone I could only call a spammer who, IMO, misrepresented themselves. I did nothing of the sort with Mooney. I have been nothing but supportive until now. So, either he does not like criticism, or he does not want it to influence his book sales which might ensue from his personal relationships on Facebook.

When selling books becomes more important to me than defending what is in them, I hope that someone will dig up this blog post and show it to me.

Criticism is not fun to hear. When it is accurate, it hurts. But I think it is important to hear it.

When criticism is unfair, I refute it or ignore it, but I do not censor it unless it is excessive, offensive (in a social, not intellectual sense), or incomprehensible. Most of the bloggers I read follow a similar philosophy.

Read (for the rest of the content as well). Learn. If you are a writer, don’t let this be you. We’ll cringe in sympathy over the temptation, but we will not love you for the bad behavior when we find out. And in case you haven’t noticed, in this age when everyone blogs, we will find out.

Thanks to Abbie for the link.

Comments

  1. says

    Now I understand that criticism is important, although I didn't always. When I was doing political cartoons, I loved getting hate mail and angry letters to the editor on my behalf. Because if my cartoons weren't pissing people of opposite views off, then I obviously was not doing a good enough job at drawing my point. That being said, there was 1 spectacularly poorly drawn cartoon, in which the racist views I sought to pillory were interpreted as my own, that led to me getting formally censured. My first response was very angry and I wrote an editorial in which I called all my readers stupid idiots for not getting it when the fault really lay with me. Luckily my editors were wise enough not to publish my initial response, or the knee-jerk inflammatory cartoons I drew immediately thereafter that said more-or-less the same thing. Later, when I'd calmed down, I managed to pen a much nicer editorial in which I thanked my viewers for calling me out, even if it was uncomfortable.Now I generally seek out criticism, and when someone only has nice things to say about my work my initial instinct is to immediately distrust their opinion. I prefer ruthless bluntness,.at the very least it's more efficient.

  2. says

    I think writers and artists need to have a Bad Review application installed on their computers. Press a button when you read the review, and for a number of days or hours afterward, you can't send an email, comment online, etc. without filling out a long questionnaire designed to make you think very hard about what you're about to do. Even after that time period, certain text strings (names) will prompt automated soul-searching.And yes, criticism is vital, as is constructively addressing discordant opinion if you're trying to build a coalition to get things done.