Dealing with critics.
Someone recently commented on my last blog post, and I started to write a reply. But then I thought about it. I didn’t want my reply to get buried as comment #63, so I decided to kick it to the top of the blog with a main post.
If you’d like, you can read the original comment. The whole thing is polite and well-written, but I disagree, obviously (or I wouldn’t be taking the time to reply… at length). Anyway, that’s probably enough preamble. Here’s my reply.
You’re incredibly sensitive for somebody who posts to the internet under a pseudonym.
Not really. You don’t see a fraction of the bullshit I receive. I just ignore most of it. So calling me “incredibly sensitive” is pure hyperbole. I have fairly thick skin, but I’m also human. What you seem to forget is that I’m allowed to have emotions. But in reality, I don’t lose my temper very easily. It’s usually spectacular when I do, but it simply doesn’t happen all that often.
From what I can tell, you hold very firm to a philosophy of “if you don’t like how I do things, just don’t bother me because it’s all free anyway.”
No, I hold to the philosophy of “if your criticism isn’t constructive, then keep your fucking mouth shut.” More importantly, I have zero tolerance for complaints, precisely because I do this for free. In my real job, I have to put up with complaints all the time. Why? I get paid to put up with bullshit. That’s why they call it “work.”
Moving on… It sounds like you’re saying that I have to put up with 100% of the bullshit I receive, simply because I put myself in a public forum. Unfortunately, you couldn’t be more wrong. I have my limits, and they’re not unreasonable. You just happen to see when I snap. What you don’t see is the day-to-day low-level bullshit that I simply ignore as background noise.
I’ve also watched you eviscerate the poor bastards that dare to say anything negative against you. Wow. Shouting down opposing views in a forum full of people that, historically, always take your side. Way to go, Bill O’Reilly.
I go out of my way not to shout down opposing viewpoints. I think I do a pretty good job, too. For instance, this response to you. I’ve answered other critics with equal civility. A few others, not so much. I tend to ignore the true fuckwits (I didn’t respond to that comment… just wasn’t worth it). If you look at the critics and my responses, I tend to give what I get.
So now I’m writing to tell you that “I really enjoy your work. It’s well written and engaging. You act like a bratty little girl every time somebody criticizes you.”
I’m glad you enjoy my work, but I think you have a narrow and biased view of my reaction to criticism. Like I said, you don’t see even a small percentage of the bullshit I receive. I put up with more crap in a week than you have to endure in a year.
To put things into perspective for you, “routine” story feedback is 30-50 messages a week. A new chapter will draw 8 or 10 times as much. Most of that is positive, but a small percentage is not (~5%). Do the math. That’s about one complaint a week—even more when I post a chapter.
So, imagine what kind of whiner I’d be if I complained every time someone criticized me. You’d see a flaming blog post about once a week. Instead, you see one about once a year. Don’t believe me? Check the Wall of Shame here on the blog. When was my last flame? Yeah, that’s right—about a year ago.
That hardly qualifies as a bratty little girl. Sorry.
Hormes finished with:
I tried not to be “passive aggressive” here. Oh, and definitely denounce me in this forum so that all these other needy posters can continue with the emotional handjob.
I think you did a great job of not being P-A. You were polite, direct, and critical. Believe it or not, I appreciate that. I disagree with you, but I don’t think my disagreement counts as denouncing you. My apologies if you feel otherwise.
Last but not least, I don’t think readers who praise or defend me are giving me an “emotional handjob.” That’s like calling Democrats un-patriotic for questioning Bush. Both comparisons are self-serving and unfair, used more to score points than make a real argument.
You’ll have to do better than that, Mr. Hormes.