Sometimes I think I’m the only reasonable person left on the internet. I know, it’s funny because we all know I’m batshit crazy, right? And yet… When I left fandom (read Twilight) I really thought that would mean the drama quotient in my life would go down. I mean really, who’s crazier than a group of 30-40 year old women in love with a teenage werewolf!? It couldn’t possibly get worse than the loons I dealt with there. And yet…
So here’s the thing I don’t understand. Why is it so hard for folks online to avoid being douches? It’s not like it’s really tricky. Let’s see: don’t cheat, don’t talk smack, don’t act like that clique of girls in 6th grade who made my life a living hell. Is this really too much to ask? And yet…
I would like to think that a community of online authors would be able to understand this. The code of Indie art (music, theatre, writing, anything) is collaboration NOT competition. Other authors aren’t the enemy. Their success only speaks GOOD of what you can accomplish. The enemy is the publishing houses that keep trying to push us out of the markets, the mainstream media who won’t review our work, the published authors who look down on us because somehow they think our success means less than theirs (note, I don’t mean all published authors, just the douches).
I see people cheating just to win contests online. Do you feel good about yourself? Do you take pride in that win when you know you don’t deserve it? Does it mean ANYTHING now? Whether it’s a $5 gift card or a major writing award if you cheat it means you suck. Don’t do it.
I see people trying to hurt their fellow authors. Grouping together to mass 1 star a book by someone they don’t like. Let me tell you something. Bullies have never, ever gone on to think “Wow, I feel really great about being an asshole.” Nope, they look back and either feel regret or they’re the real deal and turn out to be sociopaths.
Don’t like some one? Shut up. Smile and move on. Find people to fill your time and life with who are worth your energy. Surround yourself with positive support and spread that support around. This isn’t middle school and your aren’t the Prom Queen. Grownups talk out their problems and then move on. They don’t retaliate in petty small ways. If someone hurts you the best way to respond isn’t to hurt them back. Deal with it head on, say your piece and then get back to writing.
I’m not always perfect, and I’m sure there are folks who will come back and say “But you did X, Y and Z.” Yes there have been times I’ve fallen prey to my pettier instincts. I’m not perfect. No one is. But for the most part I try to be transparent and sincere. I support my friends and either confront or ignore the bullshit. What kills me is the back stabbing ridiculousness.
When my six-year-old gets mad at someone she tells them they can’t come to her dance party. When people online get mad they unfriend you on facebook and then unfriend your friends who have nothing to do with it, then they talk smack and put time and money and resources into trying to pull you down. Honestly, I’d rather be friends with a six-year-old.
Who here’s been cyber bullied? Or Indie-bullied? I can think of 2 specific instances where I have. But again, I left fandom to get away from that. I never expected to find it here.