Public Persona- Private Person
I may write for public consumption, but that doesn’t mean I am public domain.
This morning I received a very disrespectful comment. At first, my reaction was utter shock. How can someone say that to me? Why do they believe that they have the right? My second reaction was one of outrage. My personal stance is to never engage in a comment war- a very good stance indeed. My third reaction was to passive-aggressively say something sarcastic that could be taken either way (nice or snide). Lastly, I decided not to reply at all or approve the comment.
While I will not call this person out or even voice the comment I received, I do have to say something about it. I write a strong message in my stories. Empowerment. Respect, both for ones self and others. And it blows my mind how easily readers feel they have the right to say whatever they wish to me. I liken it to going up to a complete stranger and saying nasty shit. As my readers well know, I take respect seriously. So at seven in the morning, instead of enjoy the last of sleep’s warm embrace, I am shaking from how emotional I feel.
The Hunter’s first chapter was all me- the majority taken from my blog postings or straight from my head. I was personally giving a plea to my readers, a plea I hoped they would read, understand, and empathize with. Not just for me, but for my fellow writers as well.
A part of each of my characters comes directly from me- so when you bash one, you are also bashing a segment of me. So I take personal offense. I feel like you just told me my newborn is ugly and stupid. Cort received my writing and insecurity. All writers are insecure in some form. We write for public consumption- meaning the public has to like it or they won’t read any more. So when I receive negative feedback it negatively impacts my confidence.
I can take constructive criticism. It’s par for the course and necessary so that I don’t get a big head and arrogantly go down a path of destruction. Then there are the personal attacks, which I just cannot fathom. Even my nearest and dearest do not know me well enough to personally attack me since I keep my emotions and thoughts closed off. They are private, between me, myself, and I. So when a reader or stranger personally attacks me, and it is personal. As they do not know my person, then how can they attack me? Why do they believe they have the right?
I cannot please everyone. Hell, I cannot please half of you. Most of the time I cannot even please myself. Why? Because we are all individual and see things through our own eyes. Never will two people see the same thing in something- it’s impossible.
Some may hate what I do to a storyline thread, others may praise it. Some may hate a cover of mine, some may love it. It’s up to interpretation. But what it is not up to… is any of you. This is my creation. This is the world and the characters and the stories I’ve imagined from nothing. And while it saddens me that I might disappoint you along the way, I refuse to change for anyone.
I could cater to specific fans, but it would only alienate the rest…. and since ultimately it is my name on this work of public consumption, I’m the only one that has to be okay with what I produce.
There are a few things that I must take into consideration when writing. I must stay within a character’s personality traits, their ethics, and their preferences. It is my duty to put them through their paces and make them earn their ultimate HEA. The title must impart the premise of the story, give you an idea of what lies within the pages. The covers must maintain a theme and color scheme (M&M series) (red/black/white/gray), must relate to the title (you cannot have a badass title like The Hunter and have a romantic cover, how silly would that look? It would be like having a book titled Blade but it’s a bodice ripper image) and contain a picture best describing the character. Note: Best describing the character as I’ve envisioned, seeing as I’m the one that created them in the first place. Each cover must blend, but also stick out among the crowd of their peers. Also, many readers may not realize this. We do not just pick a picture off the internet and use it. We must pay for the right to use the image- and it is not cheap. We also have to find a representation of a person we know inside and out, but is entirely fictitious- their clone may not exist in real life, and if they do, their image may not be for sale. It also has to be an image that can be altered, an image where the writing (title, author, series, etc..) doesn’t disrupt the image’s integrity. Then you have to pay someone to design your cover. So insults to any of the above are insults to the author, the cover model, the photographer/artist, the cover designer. That is a lot of people to insult over your personal tastes, I might add.
I will never apologize if my stories, covers, who ends up with whom, or the order in which I write my stories. But I will say is that receiving negative feedback that is more personal in nature and is more of a personal tastes of the reader’s is not constructive and very demotivational.
I am a writer, and we operate on emotion. Certain emotions feed our need to create, and the output is determined by the emotion. Obviously I am not a sunshiny girl, which is evident by my writing style. Which belies the readers reasoning to outwardly challenge me on my own works.
I love reader interaction, the good and the bad inspires me to strive. The bad motivates me to do better. But the personal… well, that just makes me feel sad.
It saddens me that I have to write this posting today. It saddens me that I’m sure the person who dealt me the offense may not even realize it, but for the life of me, I’m unsure how they could not. It saddens me that when they read this they will know it was about them. But that isn’t entirely true either. I receive these types of comments multiple times per day. Whereas the comment was directed at me, this is not directed at the commenter- truly.
My reason for posting my thoughts was simply to express that you should watch what you say- you never know how it will be interpreted by the receiver. And as you may not have meant it as it was taken as it was, it’s not up to you on how the other person feels. It is their right to feel as they do, and no one should dictate feeling.
Live a life of respect for yourself and your fellow creatures. Because hurt feelings just… suck.