I’ve been making a lot of appearances on radio and YouTube shows, and answering questions for online interviews, and almost all of them have one question in common: What advice do I have for new writers?
Mostly, I’ve stuck to one answer: Keep on writing. No matter what anyone else may say about your work, never let their remarks stop you from writing. You have a story, a voice, and it is as worthy of sharing with the world as anyone else’s is.
But today I’d like to expand on that answer just a little. Trolls. Ignore them. Totally. Completely. Absolutely. They bring nothing useful to you, not even the same level of amusement the cat has with the mouse it has caught but not yet killed. In the writer’s case, the online troll is not even worth the time it takes you to kill it.
When confronted with the online troll your best bet is to block it (yes I said it, it does not deserve being treated like you would a normal human being) and move on. Facebook, Twitter, even your own website/blog provider has tools that allow you to block them and never hear from them again. Use it and do so without ever engaging your troll in the first place.
Nothing good ever comes of such an engagement, you’ll never convince the troll that they are wrong about you, or whatever issue that was being discussed when they appeared on your online feed, because they simply don’t care. In fact, the troll lives only to attack others in order to make themselves feel better about their own sorry existence. In a sense, they are mentally deranged individuals and no matter what you say or do they will simply ignore you and continue attacking you.
The best thing you can do is give them no oxygen. Attention, oddly enough your attention specifically, is what they crave most. You are only feeding them when you respond. So stop feeding them. And don’t go chasing after them somewhere else online either. That’s still feeding them.
And the temptation to go after them in their own house will be very strong. It is a human response to hit back when someone has attacked you, especially when you feel the attack was unprovoked or unwarranted.
I know all of this because I’ve gone through it the last two years and it took me awhile to learn the lessons above. I’m kind of old school that way. Hit me with a stick, I drop a thermonuclear bomb on you, etc. etc.
And I had some real winners in my troll box to deal with. Mike Glyer (not-so-lovingly referred to on this blog as ChynaMike, Lord of the House of 770 Vile Aromas), Camestros “Don’t Call me Toby” Felapton, Aaron Pound (an attorney for a Federal Agency who blogs about SF/F) who is so charming he once advocated physically assaulting a woman he disagreed with online in a tweet that I have a screenshot of in case he tries to deny it, Jim C. Hines and Paul Weimer and a few others I’ve had the “pleasure” to encounter.
But not too long ago I finally decided to shut off the oxygen to my trolls and suddenly they just don’t matter to me anymore. From time to time I hear that they are in their own little hangouts – along with their ever-shrinking circle of troll friends – like Beavis and Butt-Head, laughing at each other’s little “jokes”.
And you know what I think about that? So what? Who cares? Let them. Because outside of their cosmically insignificant circle of like-minded morons no one cares about what they say anymore. Certainly no one whose opinion matters to me in the slightest.
You want to know what 99.9% of this world’s population does care about and is eagerly awaiting to hear? Your next story. Which you won’t be writing if you are wasting your time chasing after these blathering buffoons. So stop doing it!
Go write your next story! That’s exactly what I am doing instead of wasting my time on these useless individuals and their infantile foolishness.
Now that I have finished When The Gods Fell (Due out on September 4th) – and while a few more anthologies that I have submitted to for you to enjoy will be coming out over the next few months – I am starting a (for now) five-book children’s science-fiction/fantasy series, Timeless, inspired by my eldest grandson and my next sci-fi/fantasy novel, Firstborn’s Curse.
I’m writing, all part of #PulpRev, and I have many stories to write and share. So do you.
So why are you still sitting there reading this? Quit wasting time.