Today I’m going to do something I don’t do often. I’m going to talk to the writers out there, and dealing with hate and the genre.
In the scope of what it takes to write romance, you’re going to hit the wall when someone you know will not take the news of what you write well. There are a lot of stereotypes that come with the genre, and those are often applied to the authors. We’re sex crazed, we’re kinky, we’re always having sex or in an orgy. The reality is a lot less glamorous. But who cares about reality?
Not long ago I got an email exchange forwarded to me. The person who forwarded it to me is very near and dear to my heart, we’ll call them Person 1. The other is a person I like, but I only know this person because of the other, we’ll call this Person 2. Person 1 is very proud of my writing, and despite having a few chats about my desire to not tell anyone and everyone, completely ignores my wishes and blabs it anyways. In a way, I’m not that bent out of shape. Honestly, most people are so taken aback by Person 1’s support, they wouldn’t dare say otherwise to my face. So I’ve had a lot of support.
The difference is in Person 2’s response. Anyone who knows me for more than ten minutes probably goes away with knowing I’ve had a very mixed background. This includes being a bouncer at a club, working audio at concerts and being a licensed minister of an established and prominent church. No, I’m no longer a licensed minister, I can’t marry or bury. Person 2, in this email exchange I was not originally apart of, brought up the fact that they could not believe someone who started out working with the church, now writes porn.
Do you see where this is going? It’s been almost two weeks since I received this email, and I still have not responded to this email with questions for me. Nothing I can say comes off right, I’m not very happy with Person 2 and I’ve let Person 1 know that I’d rather not see emails like this, if they would just ask me the pertinent questions that didn’t have to do with my personal life, things would be fine.
The whole point I’m getting at is, how do you deal with this? It’s going to come up. I can tell you what I did. Because Person 1 and I have a close relationship, I let them know that the email was hurtful to my feelings, and while I know they meant some of the things they said in fun, in the context of the exchange it was anything but humorous. Person 1 and I talked that day, we both admitted our failings in the instance and we’ve moved on. But, I still cannot even email Person 2. This is going to cause some problems unless we talk about it, because I do have to see this person in the future.
Eventually I am going to have to handle this. But how do you deal with it moving forward? I’m investing in a thicker skin every day that I write. But this was my first "real" slap in the face. I knew it was coming. It’s part of the process that eventually someone doesn’t like what you do, or you get hate mail, or any number of things, but you always remember the first, right? It just stinks that mine happened with someone I like and have had a good relationship with in the past. It would be nice to ignore that it happened, or even avoid this person, but that’s not me. I have this ugly habit of attacking things head on, even when I probably shouldn’t.
Moving forward, I think it will be easier to handle. I hope that in all of my dealings I can be respectful of other’s opinions, be them about my work, lifestyle or whatever, and walk away still as confident in who I am. I know that I take things personally, I’m sensitive and for a while it’s going to suck, but there’s hope for me yet. Grace and dignity, and all those wonderful things you want to be.
So, Dear Readers and Writers, how do you handle the harsher criticism? Be that from family, friends or strangers.