I recently began a new career as a writer and I am working to turn my advice blog into a radio show. After spending 16 very unhappy years as a corporate lawyer, I am shocked at how happy I am now that I’ve decided to focus on my passion, rather than making as much money as possible. I believe in the old adage “do what you love and the money will follow,” although as my husband points out on a nearly-daily basis, the money seems to have a hard time following me at this point.
Last night was an exceptional evening: I attended a writers’ party for the new online newspaper launching in Portland in mid-July to which I’ll be a contributor. I met some wonderful people and had a great time. Even better, I saw that one of my favorite writers/actresses had replied to a tweet of mine and then she direct-messaged me and agreed to retweet one of my blogs.
I know it sounds silly but these little things help keep you going when you wonder why you gave up a lucrative profession to do something sort of ridiculous. I went to bed last night feeling very upbeat about my future and looking forward to a great day of writing today and putting the final touches on my theme song “The Next Chapter.”
Today I woke up to a Twitter fiasco. Apparently someone with whom I am associated had a major falling out with the writer/actress and she was warned about me. Then, all sorts of people I don’t know starting tweeting very negative crap at me.
I’ve promised myself not to react but it is very difficult. I am known to have a rapier wit and a cutting tongue, so you can imagine how hard it is to not go ape-shit on these people. What is your advice for staying the course, not letting negative people distract and depress me and avoiding lashing out in response to negative shit on social media?
Sorry, I can’t relate to this at all.
First some straightforward advice, then some observations. I know you almost never use Twitter except to promote your blog, so you are not yet familiar with what a cesspool it is. In my opinion, the biggest problem with (anti)social media is that people can say whatever they want anonymously and without repercussions.
My advice to you is to continue what you are doing and to limit your use of Twitter to posting your blog. Don’t read the nasty tweets, and certainly don’t reply to them. I’ve looked at your Twitter feed and I am majorly impressed by your fortitude. If it were me, I would have gotten in a few jabs based on their looks, photos of their homes and the sheer number of tweets they send out.
Too erudite? Try this:
It seems likely these ladies aren’t engaged in anything meaningful, what with the amount of time they spend hiding behind a computer screen with a fake name and wishing to Goddess they had a different life. Take a moment to think about it: don’t you kind of feel bad for them?
So the advice is pretty simple: unless criticism is a valid critique of your work instead of just a hate-filled lashing out by a lonely and unfulfilled moron, ignore it. Don’t respond, because then you’re wrestling with a pig, and as you know, you both will get dirty but the pig fucking loves it.
As for being “distracted” or “depressed” by all this bullshit, have you forgotten what you are trying to do? You can’t possibly be so naive that you think you can seek publicity for your writing and your radio program and avoid this sort of sad nonsense. Put on your big girl panties, build a bridge and get over it.
The difference between you and the people of whom you speak is that you use your real name and you put your own garbage out there. That’s brave, but it makes you a target for those who are too frightened or incompetent to follow their dreams.
Or maybe the most they can dream about is getting out of West Texas, divorcing their cousin and winning a shopping spree at TJ Maxx. Whatever the case, you said you are finally happy after 16 years in a career you despised. The truly unhappy, the truly stuck, can never celebrate anyone’s efforts to break out of the mold and do something daring. For some folks, your hubris shines a light on their own inadequacies.
Of course, you could fall flat on your face and never go anywhere with this dream. For those who taunt you on the Internet and clearly don’t “get” your sense of humor, this will be a happy failure to watch. Like rubber-neckers on the highway, some people enjoy seeing other people suffer.
But even if you utterly fail and in a spectacular fashion, at least you tried. That’s more than you can say for every anonymous coward that tweeted you, so filled with anger that you have worked with someone they despise or made a joke they found offensive. I mean really, have they seen the Internet? Oh well, being offended is a full-time job for some people.
A quick note on that: you triggered some people because of your flippant use of the phrase “dead baby.” You have to remember that there are people out there who have suffered losses you couldn’t begin to imagine. Unfortunately, those losses make certain subjects unpalatable. But most humor is tragedy plus time – that’s difficult for some to grasp.
Lastly, I’d remind you that you have engaged in this type of behavior yourself. Remember your mean tweets to Leann Rimes and Kirstie Alley? Yes, that was some time ago and you’ve since learned your lesson (being blocked was helpful, no?) but you’ve dished it out, sister.
Time to learn how to take this shit or reactivate your Oregon State Bar membership and get another lousy lawyer job. Now stop bothering me; I’ve got a meeting with my manager next week and have much prep to do. Lighten up, toughen up and go find yourself a thicker skin.