“There’s a human being on the other end of your tweet. So please type with kindess.”– Kat Edison, The Bold Type
Wow, I have run the gamut of writer emotions this week. Earlier this week, I had an article published in The Independent’s Voices section – my first national byline! And I got to write about bisexual visibility, which is an issue very close to my heart. Exciting, no?
And the response was (overwhelmingly) great. I got lots of lovely, kind and positive feedback. Then I made the crucial mistake of reading the comments on the article posting itself. While some were supportive, others were dismissive, deliberately chose to miss my point, or were outright prejudiced. Probably the hardest one to read was the person who implied that by talking about LGBTQ+ visibility, I am actually part of the problem.
I didn’t get much done for the rest of the day after the article went live, because I was so distracted by what those few unpleasant and loud people were saying. For a while, my anxiety spun out with fears about pissing off the wrong person and getting doxxed. I started questioning if I could actually be a journalist if people who know nothing about me were going to say mean things about my work.
But slowly (after a large glass of wine and a good night’s sleep) I started to feel more okay about it.
Nothing You Write Will Please Everyone
I’ve long known this to be true, but it hits differently when you’re being critiqued on a national platform about something that means a lot to you. But seriously. You cannot please everyone, and that’s okay!
I talk about issues that are political and divisive. LGBTQ+ rights, women’s issues, sexual violence – these topics make people uncomfortable and honestly, that’s okay. My goal isn’t to be palatable to everyone, but to say things that matter.
Whether you’re a journalist, a fiction writer, a blogger, or something else entirely, nothing you write will please everyone. You don’t have to read the comments, the tweets, the reviews at all. And if you choose to, you get to choose which ones to engage with. Remember you can also stop and close the window and walk away at any time. It can feel so, so hard to do so – believe me, I know. But you don’t owe everyone’s opinions a space in your head.
Do you stand by what you wrote? If so, you’re doing great. Remember that your job is to speak your mind, get to the truth, and tell stories that matter. Your job is not to please everyone.
And if you don’t like something a writer put out there? That’s okay! You don’t have to! If you didn’t like it, chances are it wasn’t for you. But when you’re expressing your opinion, please type with kindness.