When Community Hurts

While my previous post on this topic made clear that community is an important part of writing, there are some times this isn’t true. One of these times is when members of your community bring you down, or constantly talk about failure as a writer.

Often on my timeline, I see writers talking about how they need help with a scene, worry about their book being garbage, or pulling out hair over a sudden major plot hole. This is all normal writerly worries, and we can all relate.

What I’m referring to is this: people who constantly post about how they are leaving the community for good over and over again. People who threaten to take down their books, delete their accounts, or stop writing altogether because they’re so threatened.

These people will drag your writing down. They’ll make you feel guilty for wanting to continue because it, apparently, isn’t worth it. They’ll draw your attention to themselves time and time again, taking you away from your writing and bringing you to ask them to stay over and over.

If they haven’t left by now, will they ever leave?

If they stay, do they deserve that much coddling?

These are both questions I can’t answer, and neither can they. So my point is this: if you give them your undying attention, over and over again, trying to convince them to keep writing, then you’re not writing. You’re not being productive. And they are getting affirmation that they get attention for threatening to quit.

Helping them will make them want to threaten again.

So, leave them alone. Go and write. Fellowship with supportive, encouraging writers who question writing sometimes, but not enough to make a bad habit out of it.

Be a writer, first and foremost. Then, you can really make a difference.

5 thoughts on “When Community Hurts

    1. Agreed. I’ve had my fair share of bothersome friends and of writers like I mentioned above. It’s hard to find a niche, and even then, there can be drama. Hopefully we all can find like-minded writers who support us well!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Maybe the people who threaten such things have mental illnesses and need a support group instead of being left alone, ignored, blocked, or unfollowed. Sometimes people do complain to get attention, but did it ever occur to you that perhaps some people vent their frustrations on Twitter because they don’t have people in their lives who understand and can support them? Perhaps you are contributing to mental illness and anxiety by blocking them and then writing blog posts about them.

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    1. Feeding their addiction to attention isn’t going to help them learn to be self-reliant and motivated by their own desire to write. It isn’t even healthy to give someone who has mental illness attention all the time when they’re threatening to harm themselves, because the attention itself means they can try this behavior again and again and use you for their personal means. This is called manipulation, a form of abuse, and they should seek professional help. I personally have cut out friendships because people refuse to get help but come to me with suicidal ideation and treat me like a counselor. So no, I don’t think my post is off-base.

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