They say everyone has an opinion. As a songwriter, though, you deal with an aspect of modern life that people even just 15 years ago didn’t have to deal with: how quickly an online consumer of your music will offer that opinion.
It’s not just the immediacy of opinions, though. If you’re involved in the creative arts at all, it can be shocking — if you’re not used to it — how harsh, callous and hateful those opinions can be.
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How do you deal with haters? And what’s happened to common decency when it comes to expressing a dislike for music?
It’s an important aspect of being in the arts these days, and I don’t suppose it will change much in the foreseeable future. So how do you deal with negativity?
If you’ve been posting or streaming your songs online, and you’re having a hard time coming to terms with people who express hate for what you do, I offer some advice:
- Stop reading comments. Easier said than done, but do what you can to simply quell the interest in what others are saying online. This is not the same thing as saying that you shouldn’t care what people think. But there are other — and frankly, better — ways to get people’s opinions.
- If you must read and respond, always take the high road. Never let someone’s hateful comments allow you to respond in kind. No matter how harsh they are, reduce it in your mind to the essential “point” they’re making, and then respond as if they worded their comment respectfully. You’d be surprised how much this can disarm an online troll.
- Don’t take someone’s negative comment as evidence that you’ve written something bad. Everything you ever write will have those who love it and those who hate it. A bad comment, on the face of it, is not evidence that your song is bad.
- Be courageous, and keep your longterm vision. You became a songwriter for a reason, and one person’s (or even thousands of people’s) opinions shouldn’t be allowed to sway you from that vision.
Online bullying is horrible, there is no doubt. The people who do it can be amazingly normal in most other aspects of your life, and it simply makes you shake your head to understand why they allow themselves to descend to the levels they do to express hatred.
The worse thing you can do is succumb and descend to their level. Be strong, remember why you’re doing this, and keep moving forward.
If you’ve dealt with online haters/bullies, how have you dealt with it? Please feel free to comment below.
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