A few days ago I was reminded just how “touchy” some individuals can be. Someone made a religious remark on a social media page – a remark that was incorrect, proven by historical evidence and fact. Since I personally knew the person who made the remark I commented on it with the correction. What ensued next was that person, as well as another person I didn’t know, attacking me and publicly “shaming” me on that platform.
The fact that the original remark was religious doesn’t matter. It could just as easily have been a political remark. And, I didn’t say anything I felt was provocative. I was simply trying to correct an error and I pointed out the historical facts, which anyone could look up easily. But, some people don’t care about the facts. They have an agenda that is all their own.
Why am I bringing this up? Because as an author you’re in the public eye, and as a non-fiction author you’ve got opinions you’re putting on the line. Those opinions will come through in your booklets and other products as well as online in your social media and on your website.
You may believe that you’re safe because you’re writing about house-training your new puppy, but believe me someone out there one day will think you’re doing it wrong, or that house-training a puppy is cruelty to an animal, or maybe they’ll just want to bring you down because your method didn’t work for them and they’ve got an ax to grind anyway.
And if your booklet is of a religious or political nature – even from a historically proven perspective – you’re really asking for trouble!
How many times have you heard about a comedian taking the heat from the mainstream media for a joke that was poorly timed – such as a joke about a tragedy and the tragedy was still pretty fresh in people’s minds? There have been plenty of such cases.
How many times has a movie script been canned because producers didn’t feel the movie going audience was ready to see the film? I know of a film that was never released because it finished production on the heels of 911, and although the film had nothing to do with 911 in its story, there was a terrorist attack in the film.
You may feel that the producers made the right call in the case of the film, and that comedians who crack jokes about tragedies have poor taste and should be chastised, but my point is that nobody in the public eye is exempt. Whether it’s an average Joe who is offended by something you wrote (even if you didn’t mean it to be offensive) or a mainstream reporter looking for a hot story – sooner or later it will happen to you.
What can you do? The only thing you can do is grow a thick skin, don’t take it personally, and keep going. Your views are your views and they are what make you unique. Without them you wouldn’t be able to write. You’re never going to get everyone to agree with you so there is no point in trying. You’re going to offend people when you put your writing out there and some people are very easily offended.
If you’ve made a mistake or said or written something you shouldn’t have, apologize. But, if that’s not the case and someone takes issue with you anyway just let it slide. There’s no reason to waste your valuable time and energy on it. Getting into a battle of I’m right and you’re wrong will only sap your strength and energy, and it might even depress you. It will certainly derail your focus from more pleasing activities and things you need to do. It’s not worth your time and trouble.
In my case, I was writing to someone I had known for years and thought was a friend. I was surprised by their attack on me but I didn’t allow it to hurt me emotionally. I just kept going in spite of the things they said. And I would have done the same thing had they been writing something about one of my booklets or products. In fact, I would do my best in that case to use their comments to my advantage for marketing purposes.
Grow a thick skin, don’t get emotional or take it personally and keep going!
To your riches!
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