Why Do Writers Shame One Another?


People suck. It's a phenomenon we've all observed a million times over, especially on the internet, because anonymity has emboldened the worst of us to come out in droves and make other people feel like trash.

It's a phenomenon I've observed in the writing community over the last month or so as writer after writer who I consider online pals either quit writing, quit social media, or quit both all for the same reason. In fact, I can think of three such cases without even spending much time on it. To my knowledge, all three of these writers operate in different spheres and Twitter circles. I can't recall ever seeing them interact with each other. Which tells me the problem is far more rampant than we may even realize.

Like, why?

Jealousy, the aforementioned anonymity, you name it, writers have a knack for shaming each other if the other part isn't doing something exactly the same way they do it.

There's just no point. There are a million ways to publish. There are a million different approaches to creativity. And unless your inspiration comes from sacrificing puppies in a cauldron of boiling tapioca, then there's not a wrong way to do it.

So stop ruining other people's creativity.

The problem is, if you're reading this, you're probably not the problem. And even if you are, you probably don't see yourself this way. You're pointing the finger at someone else, like, "Yeah, so and so is the worst about that," but you're pretty sure you're doing everything right.

So stop.

Here's the correct way to give advice:

"I'm so glad you asked! Here's something that worked for me because _______, so feel free to give that a try, but everyone is different. I'm glad I can help, and I'd be happy to answer any more questions and help you figure out what might work best for you."

Here's the wrong way to give advice:

"I know you're not asking, but you're doing everything wrong, and you'll never be a true writer because _________."

Not acceptable. It simply isn't.

Stop making writers hate wanting to be writers.

If you see it happening, the correct response is mute, block, or ignore. Reacting only gives the troll the attention they so desperately crave—they want everyone to see their genius. Don't give them that. Starve them out. Eliminate the spotlight.

The writing community can be a powerful, even unstoppable force. But we have to work together. Let's be better. Let's not tear each other apart.

Let's put an end to divisive pedantry and a beginning to collaborative camaraderie.

Let's start today.