Friday, April 27, 2007

Freelance Writers: How to Turn Negative Comments into Cash

The Wrath of the Poison Pen


The web is rife with vitriolic rants. It's a medium, unfortunately, that encourages the worst behavior in some.

As a freelance writer, the more you churn out, the greater chance you have of someone spewing venom your way. This can crush the spirit of even the toughest freelancer. I'm starting to get more and more of these because I've been writing and publishing a lot lately - on my blog, to free article marketing directories, etc.

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BUT, instead of letting it get me down, I've created a system of rules that turns negative comments into cash - in a roundabout way. What are the rules?

1. Thou shalt not respond: Instead of wasting my time - which is money when you freelance for a living - responding to these, I just read them and let them go.

On the few occasions where I have responded, I haven't felt much better. So, I figured, why waste my time. I look at it this way, people who have the time to viscerally attack my writing - without making any salient points to the contrary - really aren't worth my time.

If you write for a living, you literally don't have time to work up such anger over someone's writing -- so much so that you sit down and spew out an attack. In my expereince, if you have this kind of time, then you're not making a full-time living writing.

2. Use it to spur me on: This is a mental tactic. The more people criticize, the more it makes me want to do better. After all, success is the best revenge.

Let me say, I don't mind when someone disagrees with what I wrote. It's when there are personal attacks, or those comments that just seem to come out of left field for no apparent reason, that drive me batty. Correction: Used to drive me batty.

After I made my resolution - around the beginning of the year - I've noticed that it takes me less and less time to "get over" one. I have a pretty quick temper, so things rile me pretty easily (don't worry, I'm working on it).

But, "stress kills" as my 13-year-old nephew is fond of saying. As an African American woman, I'm all too aware of how prevalent stress tends to affect my health anyway. So, I "relax, relate and release."

3. Search for the grain of truth: When I'm feeling like a really big girl, I look for the grain of truth in what some ranter has written.

I recently got a comment on one of my articles on Digg.com. The poster noted that my website was "crowded." And, it wasn't said in the nicest way.

In spite of how pissed off it made me, I thought, "you've been meaning to clean up the site for some time, Yuwanda," so this poster is not too far off the mark. I just wish they'd been nicer about saying it is all.

AND, I didn't write a word back. Good girl, gooooddd girl, Yuwanda.

So, the next time someone points their poisonous pen at your much-beloved work, tell'em to go to . . . I mean, ah, use it constructively - find a way to turn it into cash!
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1 comment:

BloggingWriter said...

No-one likes criticism, but it takes a big person to find the grain of truth and do something about it. Give yourself a pat on the back for being able to do that :)