One of the inevitable challenges that those who seek to put their creative work out there will face, especially in this age of social media, are the viciously negative comments that they’ll receive sooner or later.
Witness comments like the ones below that I got for an article I recently wrote about a Philip K. Dickian approach to social consciousness and political resistance:
Okay, never mind that the first comment has no grammar or syntax and makes no sense. And never mind that the second comment makes an irrelevant point. (The “D**khead” he refers to is a term for Philip K. Dick fans, and he’s suggesting that by censoring the word, that somehow doesn’t make me a real Philip K. Dick fan, even though the only reason I censored it is because I’m trying to prevent my site from getting penalized by Google since “d**khead” is on their official list of prohibited words.
The point of showing these comments is that any time you seek to put your stuff out there, you’ll inevitably get some mean comments like these. And the more of your heart and soul you put into your work, the more it can potentially hurt.
Even for those of us who normally handle comments like these relatively well (and I like to consider myself one of them) there are days when you’ll feel more vulnerable than others. Maybe you’re already feeling depressed or upset about something, for instance. And then you get a particularly nasty comment. And then it becomes the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for that day. It makes your hard work and good intentions feel wasted and unappreciated. You start to wonder what’s the point of working so hard to create meaningful content and trying to help people by sharing it. The repressed cynical part of you wants to say, “Fine, screw it. Let the world destroy itself. I’m tried of shedding blood, sweat and tears only to keep getting comments like these.”
Yes, it can happen to even the most positive and resilient of us from time to time.
But then, if you don’t give up, if you keep trying, keep creating, then every now and then you might get a comment like this (be sure to read the whole thing by clicking “See More”):
And what a difference just one comment like this can make. This one was left on an article about Luke Cage that I wrote a couple months back (I’m using it here with permission from the person who left it – thanks, Franca!). It’s one of the deepest, most insightful comments I’ve ever gotten.
So what I want to say – no, implore – people out there to do is, if you come across a creative work of any kind from an indie creator, and it really moves or inspires you in some way, don’t just leave it at that. TELL THEM! I mean, if you can. It doesn’t have to take much. Just leave a little comment. Send them a tweet (if they’re on Twitter), post it on one of the creator’s social media pages (if they have any), e-mail it to them, or use any available method that the creator herself has made available.
This doesn’t have to be for just indie creators, obviously, but those who are already well known or successful (ahem, Stephen King) tend to get enough adulation already. By all means, you should still send fan mail or leave comments for famous artists if you love their work, but if you really want your comments to make a difference, try doing this for struggling, independent creators, writers, artists, musicians, actors, etc. You could be making a bigger difference than you realize. Yours could be that one comment that, on a bad day, makes them think, “Yeah… I guess this is worth it after all.”