“Everybody ain’t yo friend”–A lesson from Mama that you can apply to your writing life

While scrolling through Twitter yesterday morning–as I am want to do before making the wordsauce–I stumbled upon a conversation about blocking offensive tweeters. OR maybe it’s more accurate to say that I stumbled upon the precious feelings of the tweeters who have been blocked. For those who don’t know, Twitter, while it can be a fun and diverting place, can also be pretty toxic. Knowing this, the great code gods of twitter invented a magical block button that can send twitter assholes hurtling into internet oblivion, never to be seen again in your precious and carefully cultivated social media space. I follow quite a few feminists, kinksters and perverts to whom this block button proves invaluable. It has even become a form of self-care to not only block tweet-holes, but also announce to your followers who you’re blocking and why. Personally, I can attest to the effectiveness of this practice because I often have to ask what’s going on because trigger inducing things rarely appear in my tweetstream (I have more things to say about triggers and trigger warnings, but I’ll address that some other time…like never). Blocking is a privilege that I exercise readily and regularly on twitter and I make no apologies for it.

So apparently, people feel some type of way when you block them. I mean, that makes sense. You’ve been rejected. That doesn’t feel good. I get it. I don’t deny you those feelings. But here’s the thing, I give zero fucks about your feelings of rejection. Those are your feelings. Have them. I don’t care. But have them in the blocked zone that doesn’t impact my virtual or real life. I see nothing wrong with this. But today I was confronted with the reality that blocked peoples feel ostracized and they should be allowed to interact with us even though they have differing and sometimes offensive views, because dey iz peoplez too. And why we gotta be so harsh? Can’t we stand to hear differing opinions?

And through all of this, all I kept thinking about was a pep talk my mother gave me on the playground whenever someone didn’t want to play with me.

“Everybody ain’t yo friend. Now quit crying.”

Am I the only one who got this pep talk from their mom?

RTs say no, but if I step back and observe my peer group and the world around me, I begin to wonder if we are in the minority. Especially in the romance community.

Social media has removed the fourth wall and readers have access to the minutiae of their favorite author’s every day lives. We know what they eat, what cocktails they like to drink and what TV shows they love to watch. Authors share their journey to their next book, their diet and fitness programs. Some may even include charming anecdotes about their kids or significant others. Speaking from experience, this sort of interaction is surprisingly satisfying. It allows us to get right up close with the person who writes the books we love and in some cases, develop a friendship. This is the up side to social media.

But then there is the ugly side.

Every day some new drama between a blogger and an author crops up. This author gets in her feelings about a particular review. That author feels a particular genre is useless filth that shouldn’t be published. Street teams and rabid fan clubs target a rival author and drive down their ratings with one star reviews. And most of this stems from, “this or that person said this horrible thing about my book!” or “I can’t believe you didn’t like my story for such a stupid reason!” And can I just say…grow the fuck up. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t feel hurt by negative reviews. All of us are. But here is a bit of truth that you already know….

Everything ain’t for everybody.

Sometimes your story will be misunderstood for superficial reasons. Sometimes writing is going to feel like screaming into a void and that’s just fucking part of it SOMETIMES. But never assume that just because you wrote a book you are entitled to praise from everyone who reads it. Once you publish those words and send them out into the world they are no longer yours. If you feel the need to defend every review or discussion about your book, maybe you should take a step back and reevaluate why your ideas weren’t received the way you intended. But mostly, I want you to do this in private. By all means, have those feelings. Wallow in them if you must. But save those venting sessions for your girlfriends and get them off the internet. The internet is forever. It’s a career ender and I don’t want to hear about any of you rage quitting your writing because of that stupid thing you said that one time.

So I’ll leave you with this.

Sometimes people aren’t going to like you. Everybody ain’t yo friend and that’s okay.

You’ll be fine.

I promise.



p.s. If any of of this offends you, please feel free to block me 🙂

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