Cyberbullying: It can happen to you and end with you.

According to Wikipedia: “Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.”

We say,

     “Teens are out of control,”

     “How could they do that?”

     “When will it stop?”

I say,

     “With us.”

There is this confidence that possesses us when we get behind a computer screen. This anonymity and invincibility, that no matter what we do, we are untouchable. If someone does something that we don’t agree with, what do we do? We post it on Facebook, with screenshots, and or go to our blog and blast that person, rather than talking to them directly, privately.  We let ALL of our friends know one side of the story our side, so they can judge and attack that person. Sometimes we “take the high ground” and don’t mention the name of the person, but we give enough of the story so it doesn’t matter, everyone will know who we are talking about. Just remember, there are three sides to every story, you side, their side, and the truth.

This behavior isn’t limited to teenagers, and in recent months I’ve witnessed too many instances where grown adults are cyber bullying others. If you target someone online, and maliciously attack them, that is cyber bullying. Unless they have done something to you personally, what ever happened between them and someone else is none of your business. Part of bully behavior is ganging up on someone. Blasting someone because they offended your friend is not only unnecessary but rude.

People make mistakes. Standing up for what is right is completely different than crucifying someone for errors. People will attack you for no reason, that doesn’t mean you have to gather all your friends and return the favor. I don’t know about you, but I want to teach my children to be kind, gracious, forgiving, and generous. How can we do that if we don’t lead by example. I’m not saying let people walk all over you, if you are being harassed, report and block the person. You will feel 100% better not seeing the negativity. It’s exhausting to be a miserable person. It sucks all of your energy. It’s so not worth it! I decided a long time ago, that I would not surround myself with negative, dishonest people. I’ve had to walk away from a lot of friendships that weren’t healthy for me. But I feel like a stronger positive person in doing so.

I’ve been composing this post in my head for close to a month now. If we continue to idly stand by and allow people in our industry, (writers, publicists, bloggers and publishers) an industry that I LOVE, to behave this way, we are condoning it. Over time, it’s not going to be the happy community it is now. This needs to be said and we need to stop ignoring it. It is an issue not just in high school.

This is going on in everyday life. It starts with you and me.

So you want to be a writer

There are a few things that you should know first. The glamorous life of a writer is not always so glamorous.

1. You can not write a novel in a 9 days like your favorite New York Times Best Selling Author on your first try. Like she said, she didn’t sleep in that period and ignored her family holed up in a room. I imagine she also had a detailed outline that she followed closely that was already plotted out, and most likely she’s been doing it longer than you have. Making the decision to write is easy, actually writing takes time, dicipline, and dedication. (And more than likely that wasn’t what she sent to her editor. first drafts are never best drafts)

2. You must determine your style. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline every character, chapter, and arc of the story? Or do you know the main points and fly by the seat of your pants? Do you need everything in an organized fashion, with time lines, post it notes and detailed flow charts? Or do you have rumpled pieces of paper with scattered notes all over your desk? The only style that is right, is the one that works for you. Because we are human, we are all unique, don’t let someone else tell you how you should write, listen to their advice, see if it works for you, but ultimately you must determine what makes you productive.

3. Be passionate about what you write about. Believe in you subject, yourself, and your words. When you put your heart on the line it’s OK to listen to the critique of those who might not understand it. Ultimately you decide whether they are right or not. You decide to heed their words or stand by your own. Don’t apologize for following your heart, and don’t regret if someone changes your mind. All it is, is perspective.

4. Do NOT be afraid to take chances or risks. I’m not saying to jump in blindly, but don’t let fear or rejection hold you back. I’ve heard aspiring authors say that they would never give their books away. This philosophy to me is nieve. When you are an artist and especially just beginning you should want as many people to experience your creation. Not everyone is going to get rich off of their first novel. Not everyone’s story is Amanda Hocking or Stephanie Meyer. You have to work every day and even though some may consider them over night successes, it took them a while to get there. And they took a few chances and risks.

5. No matter now hard it gets don’t quit. This is what separates the say-ers from the do-ers. It’s easy to come up with a concept; it’s hard to implement it and fill in the points from the beginning to the arc, to the end. Sure, step away from it if it becomes too much; I stepped away from The Ocean for sixteen years, but I regretted how long it took me to come back to it. There are enough things in your life that you will regret, don’t regret chasing your dream.

So go out, write and create, good luck and I look forward to reading your words.