In which blogging makes it real

I often feel like something hasn’t really happened until I’ve blogged about it.  It isn’t that I need your input or advice, but it’s more that I process through talking or writing, and I can’t really move past something until I’ve talked or written about it.  I’m not the only person I know who is like this…I promise!

About a month ago, a web article I wrote in 2007 was picked up and published on Yahoo!, who bought out Associated Content earlier this year.

This is the first time something I’ve written has received a large amount of negative feedback.  It wasn’t just that the feedback was negative–it was that it was directed at me, as a person.  It wasn’t just, “eh, I disagree,” which I expect to get on an opinion piece.  It was, “This is a stupid, fat, lazy American–I feel sorry for her husband.”  That’s a paraphrase–many of the comments were much more cruel.

The piece was something I wrote as a new web writer–less than 3 months after starting my writing career online.  There was one typo.  It was an opinion piece.  And I recognized that not everyone would agree with my opinion.  But I never thought people would take their disagreement and turn it into a personal attack on me.

And it’s especially hard because I write with my real name.  That’s my choice…but this is the first time it’s really come to sting when I’ve seen such terrible things associated with me.

For awhile, I didn’t read the comments.  They were upsetting.  But then I felt myself drawn back in and read them again–there were more, and they hurt just as much as the first batch.  Why didn’t I just stay away?

Marcus says that I have to let it go and move past it–that the nasty things that people are writing are a reflection on them–they have nothing to do with me.  But I feel like they do, because they’re there with my name.  What if you read that, see all those terrible things, and think those things are true about me?  What if they change your opinion of me–the way you look at me?

I know…in my rational mind I know that is ridiculous.  Someone calling me a lazy, ignorant American doesn’t make it so.  But I’m embarrassed nonetheless.

Some days, I think maybe I’m not cut out for this, this writing.   My skin isn’t thick enough.

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3 thoughts on “In which blogging makes it real

  1. Kelly, we’ve only met once but I’m sure I know you better than random commenters on Yahoo, and I can say that you’re definitely not stupid, fat, or lazy. Marcus is right, try to let it go, as difficult as that may seem.

  2. Maybe try to look at this from the perspective of whom this audience represents. I’d gather that an overwhelming majority of people who read web articles, don’t leave comments. They get the information they want, value what they find, and go. Very few take the time to leave the comment, “Great, just what I needed!” because, well a vast majority of web-readers are busy people and have lives.

    So that small percentage who do comment – what kind of people do they represent? Would these same people take the time to write a letter to the editor over a similar article in a magazine? My guess is that they wouldn’t. They want the quick fix, the self-gratifying post that makes them feel good temporarily. Which of course, wears off quickly, so they just find themselves the next article that they can berate and puff themselves up all over again. Think of these people as self-absorbed gluttons, feeding off the new social dynamic of the web. I also half wonder where they get their time – lazy themselves perhaps? Does this audience’s opinion really matter you?

    Look back at your purpose for writing the piece initially. Which audience did you intend it for (think very specifically)? Can you be certain that the feedback you are getting is really from this intended audience? Are people pulling your article out of the context of the intent is written?

    Despite the comments, do you still stand by your opinion? Do you still believe that the specific audience you wrote the piece for would appreciate and value your insights? If so, keep your chin up. Don’t let a few loud-mouths discourage your strengths as a writer.

    The other side to this – perhaps you could use this negative event to spur you on into other genres of writing. You could use this experience to focus your writing efforts in other directions.

    Just a few cents from a fellow web-writer.

  3. My favourite quote of the moment “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” Hamlet quote (Act II, Sc. II) seems quite apt.

    Ignore internet people who like to go after one person in a pack, they are cowards who really have nothing better to do with their time, Marcus is right they are making themselves look far worse than you. Just keep away and keep your dignity and your sanity. Love you Kelly.

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