Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate
This weekend Kathleen Hale shockingly admitted to stalking and harassing a blogger who gave her book a poor rating. The Guardian gave her a platform to tell the entire internet about it and everyone was shocked and dismayed, even more so because she seems to believe she was justified. In case you didn’t know, you should never ever stalk someone. It’s threatening, it’s uncalled for, it’s criminal, it’s harassment. That’s how you end up with a restraining order. Don’t do it.
But I’m not here to talk about the Hale’s terrible behavior. I’m not even gonna link the article here. If you would like to read it and discuss it, Twitter will be happy to give you the link to the article and is an open forum for you right now and, trust me, everyone is riled.
What I’m here to talk to you about is critics.
If you’re an artist, you have them. Not everyone is going to like your work. You may, in fact, have a critic that seems to have a personal vendetta against you. I hope you don’t, but you may. I don’t know.
And you know what? No one enjoys hearing someone doesn’t like their work. No one likes to see a one star rating of a film or a book or movie they invested their time and energy into. That’s like someone telling you your child is ugly. It feels like a slap in the face. If you’re someone who takes things very personally, it may feel like a personal attack. I get it. The thing is, people are ALLOWED not to like your book. They’re allowed to think it’s stupid; they’re allowed to tell other people they think it’s stupid. That’s not a crime. That doesn’t make them a bad person.
I know, but it doesn’t necessarily feel the best either, does it?
Do you know what you do in that situation?
You keep making your art.
You write another book. You record another song. You draw something else. You create more art that you love.
“But, Caitlin, you don’t understand! They said things about my book that are untrue! They didn’t like my main character even though she is lovely! They said I tackled a topic totally wrong. I DISAGREE WITH EVERYTHING THEY SAID! OHMYGOD WHAT IF OTHER PEOPLE START LISTENING TO THEM?!?!?!”
You write a sad poem in your journal about everything, listen to “Shake it Off,” and keep going.
The haters are going to hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.
But you have to be okay with that. You have to expect that. You can’t let that get into your head.
Especially, ESPECIALLY, if you’re traditionally published. If you have gone that route, that typically means an agent has believed in your work, an editor has believed in your work, a publishing house has a believed in your work––and if you focus on the small population of people who say, “THIS IS STUPID. THIS ISN’T GOOD WORK!” Then you are valuing their opinions over the opinions of everyone who believes in you. Do not do that.
Shake it off.
In other words:
BUT THAT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS