Author Etiquette - Dealing with Negativity

by Jennifer 26. December 2017 09:45

Good day dear readers. Welcome again to another Author Etiquette. As the year draws to a close, we’d like to offer you our heartfelt holiday wishes. We know that this time of year is stressful for many, so please take care.

On that note, there’s been quite a lot of tension in the air. Whether it’s because of the holiday stress or other issues, negativity has run rampant in our SFF community. At times, it’s a simple misunderstanding. In other cases, it seems as though there’s a full out war between different people and factions. Sometimes, the two parties can come together and forge stronger relations. In many cases, the negativity is a wedge that drives people further apart.

Negativity is one of those things that can be either good or bad, depending on the context and the recipient. It can be used as a tool to help someone improve their writing, or it can be used to destroy someone’s sense of self worth. Negativity can be both received and given, intentionally and unintentionally.

We will look at several aspects of negativity and how to deal with it.

What is Negativity?
Negativity (adj) is defined as:

  1. The expression of criticism of something.
  2. Expressing refusal to do something.
  3. Lacking positive attributes.
  4. Encouraging or noting an unhealthy or unbalanced outlook on something.

We will concentrate our discussion on definitions 1 and 4.

I’m sure that everyone has dealt with someone who is critical of a specific thing or just about everything. Whether it be your clothing, your writing, or how you speak, that criticism could be taken as constructive for a while, but eventually, it begins to grate on you. Once those people are identified, most people distance themselves or try to have limited contact. The reverse is true if you are the person being critical of others. You might think you are being helpful, but in the long run, you are setting up a situation where you alienate those around you. Or, people do not take your criticism seriously after a time.

In our SFF community, there are people who regularly jump on others, whether for attention, to de-legitimize a position, or other purpose. They often have an unbalanced outlook on certain things. Often they have a small group of supporters who will eagerly jump onto the dog pile once their leader has given them a target. Much of the community tries to avoid those trolls as much as possible.

Where Can Negativity Be Found?
Negativity can be found anywhere: at home, at work, during your commute, in personal correspondence, and especially in online social settings.

Sometimes it’s deserved such as, messing up a work presentation, learning a new crafting technique, or when you said something rude. A quick short rebuke is nothing to be worried about even if it might make you uncomfortable.

Many times the target has done nothing wrong except be female, LGBT, POC, or expressed an opinion that someone else didn’t like. It can escalate quickly from a mild disagreement to cursing, death threats, or worse. This is especially true in social media where people can hide behind false identities to harass the victim. Some people have had to leave jobs, move to another town, and involve the authorities when negativity grows too large.

What to do When Faced With Negativity
Everyone faces brief periods of negativity from time to time. Sometimes it is deserved, but other times you might be the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. When faced with negativity there are several steps that can help resolve the situation or help protect you and those you care about.

Evaluate the situation.
Have you done or said something that deserves the negativity?

Find out where the negativity is coming from.
Is the negativity coming from an individual or a group?

Evaluate what the other party wants.
Does someone want an apology?  Is there something you can do to make it right? Or are you at the mercy of the storm?

Decide to fight or walk away.
This can be a personal decision or you can ask for legal help or even help from friends and family.

These suggestions can be taken in any order and can be re-explored as new information arises.

Gut Instincts
Many times our first instinct is to fight or argue when faced with negativity. Sometimes it is the right response, but not always. In some cases, arguing with the other party can give them more fuel to use against you.

If you need to write out a response immediately, do so on physical paper, or in a word processing program. This protects you in multiple ways. First, you don’t accidentally hit send at any point while you are writing. Second, you can fully explore your own range of emotions where no one else can see it. Third, you can always copy it over to your social media or email later. Fourth, or you can burn, delete, or shred it if you so desire.

Many times, once you read back over what you have written, you realize your rebuttal will just make things worse.

Apologize
Over the past few months, there have been several letters of apology from companies, celebrities, and others. Some letters have been done well, addressed the issue, and outlined what the person would do to prevent the action from happening again. Others have been less than what they should have been. Every one of us, whether you are working as the mouthpiece of a company or as an individual, has had to apologize for something. For some people, it’s a very difficult thing to do and very few people do it well. If you are the recipient of well deserved negativity, APOLOGIZE. It’s the first step to making things right.

To create a believable apology first you have to acknowledge your action or words that caused hurt to others. If you did it or said it OWN IT. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give people reasons unless you are asked later. Do not at any point try to remove the blame from your own actions. Do not try to justify what you said. Do not place blame on someone else. State what you did or said and say “I’m sorry.”

Next, outline ways you will use to try to prevent the same action from happening again if possible, even if it is being aware of your own actions. If you need assistance with some actions, do call professionals in to help.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting you are wrong and saying you are sorry. It’s better if you also acknowledge what you need to do/avoid in the future.

When to Fight Back
Here’s where things get tricky. As I said before, most of the time, our first instinct is to fight back against negativity. It might not always be a good idea, but sometimes it is. When you receive negativity that is not deserved such as innocence, mistaken identity, or social injustice, you can choose to fight back and there are several ways to do this. However, be aware before you fight back, that it can be exhausting and time consuming and you might be fighting on more than one front.

First, before you start, know what negativity is being tossed your way, who is doing it, and try to get an idea why. Who, what, when,where and why are your best friends in this situation. While you might not be able to plan too far ahead, you can at least choose how you approach the situation. Always remember, when confronting an individual or a group, discuss the ISSUE, never attack the person.

Proof
In some cases, you can defuse a negative situation by offering undeniable proof that negates their claims. Allow the person to review the evidence and hope that they see reason.

Listening
If you’ve ever worked in retail or customer service, you know that sometimes people just need to vent. Usually, you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes just acknowledging that you hear them breaks the tension.

Tanking
So I’m taking a page out of some of the best RPG games here. Sometimes you just have to wade in and take the damage in order to get through the other side. It’s hard, it hurts, and you’ll probably need some recovery time later. Pair up with support from family and friends to help you get through.

Fighting negativity can be exhausting and not everyone can do it. For big issues, it’s best to have multiple people taking up the fight that way no one person becomes exhausted. It’s also okay to fight at your own pace. Sometimes, it’s a bunch of tiny little skirmishes that finally brings down a bigger adversary than one large battle.

When to Walk Away
Not every fight against negativity can be won. And not every fight should even happen. There is nothing wrong about walking away from negativity. It doesn't matter if you do not have the time, energy, or desire to fight against it. Walking away does not make you a coward. It means, you just aren’t going to deal with it. It is always your choice.

Even if you have started fighting, you can always walk away at any point. For any reason. At any time. You do not owe anyone an argument, your time, or even your attention. If at anytime you begin to get tired, walk away before you start making mistakes. You can always come back later.

If you are the victim of a negativity campaign, always remember that blocking, unfriending, and muting are your best friends. This way, your harassers are unable to contact you or view your posts.

Your Safety
Simple negativity can escalate quickly. If you are threatened, screenshot and save those files. Posts can be edited on many social media platforms so screenshots could be the only way to verify that harassment and threats have been issued.

While it might seem redundant, do notify your local police department if you have been threatened. Notify the social media platform and provide screenshots of the threats. Do what you need to do to protect yourself.

Unfortunately dealing with negativity is something that many people deal with on a regular basis. We hope that this guide can help you navigate the storms that you face in the future.











Tags:

Comments

12/28/2017 8:52:29 AM #

trackback

Author Etiquette Series List

Author Etiquette Series List

Apocalypse Ink Productions |

Comments are closed

Apocalypse Ink Productions

A small press publication house specializing in dark speculative fiction.
Join the Google group.

Latest Releases

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/5MinFrontCover200.jpg
Five Minute Stories Podcast
Buy Now. More Information.


The Cross
Cutting Omnibus
Trilogy

Buy Now. More Information.


Famished: The
Gentlemen Ghouls
Omnibus

Buy now. More Information.


Karen Wilson Chronicles
Omnibus

Buy now.
More Information.


AIP Firsts
eBook Bundle

More Information. Buy now.

The Flotsam Trilogy
Omnibus

More Information. Buy now.


The Sheynan Trilogy
Omnibus
More InformationBuy Now.

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/IndustryTalks200.jpg
Industry Talk

More InformationBuy Now.