The process of writing feels a lot like wandering through the halls on my first day of freshmen year, just searching for my people. Trying to find a place to belong and willing myself the courage to try and make new friends along the way. Every morning when I queue up my spreadsheet full of hundreds of potential writing topics, I find myself thinking about the likelihood each topic has for connecting with new friends.
I ask myself…
- Will this help anyone?
- How can I make the reader smile? Laugh? Feel good?
- Will this encourage them to feel less alone on this crazy journey of life?
I try to unlock my past experiences and stand with my arms wide open — just hoping to find someone who might need a giant bear hug of human connection.
Then every once in a while — BOOM!
A bully rushes down the hallway and tries to put you in your place. They leave comments on your work, harass you on social media, and write baseless stories. They say things like…
Writing about sex is easy money.
Sex writers aren’t real writers.
…and my new favorite, “only a pu$$y hides behind a pen name”
I’ve never felt compelled to write about this particular experience before, and I didn’t necessarily intend to address it this time, either.
Then yesterday, I came across this article by Jezebel Feast. After reading it, my perspective softened and I remembered what we tell our kids all the damn time when dealing with bullies…“hurt people, hurt people.”
People who are thriving don’t spend their day discrediting, slandering, and belittling others.
…and I’m not about to kick someone when they’re down.
One more thing…
I haven’t been here very long, but I’ve already come to love so many of the people who have been brought into my life through this freelancing journey.
They’ve supported me and had my back, and they refuse to let bullies win.
If you don’t like the way someone writes, what they write about, or how much money they make — look away. Stop reading their work, unfollow them, or block them.
We’re adults and this isn’t high school.
In this crazy-ass year of 2020, haven’t we learned that love and empathy always trump hate?
P.S. Every penny this story earns will be donated to stompoutbullying.org.