When a Writing Social Media Group Is Not a Good Fit: How to Weed Out the Negativity
As writers, we need connections on social media to find critique partners and places to share writing knowledge. But sometimes those connections are not helping advance our creative needs.
We’ve all been there- a social media group whose focus is a genre or writing topic of interest. But the posts content is for members only. So, you ask to join the group and the moderator accepts.
Then you watch your incoming feed.
Great Social Media Experiences
I’ve learned so much being a part of some groups. There are writing groups related to detective plots, fantasy plots, trauma, geek trivia, how to self-publish, query edits, pitch contests, and on and on and on. I can find people willing to give critiques that are meaningful. I can contribute what I have learned along the way, from manuscript submissions to pitch contests.
Sometimes, the feed content makes your jaw drop open.
Reasons a writer’s group may not be beneficial for you:
- The culture within the group may be a really poor fit
- Maybe the focus is on too much negativity.
- Maybe members excoriate someone who posts a particular question or lectures them.
- Maybe it’s too much political garbage you were hoping to escape.
Some groups leave newer members afraid to post, so they become stalkers- watching the feed, hoping to glean knowledge but not interacting (I may have done that!). Sometimes, the members hold on, hoping to eventually make use of the exposure on days when links to self-published book pages or author pages are allowed.
Face it, this is a really toxic writing environment. You will gain very little from being a member of such a group.
Protect Your Inner Creative Self
Don’t discount how the negativity of those groups could be negatively impacting the already emotionally difficult journey of writing.
How to assess the fit of a social media group
Ask yourself some questions:
- Are posts and critiques generally helpful or negative?
- Do you feel more positive or negative about your writing goals after reading the feed?
- Are you afraid to post questions or comments to the group?
- What do you really expect the group to do for you? Is it worth the exposure to negativity and online bullying fears?
For another good discussion on the impact of negative social media see (here) and the potential impact on a writers’ view of themselves.
Quit the group
It’s really, really important to know that if a particular group on Facebook is a poor fit, it’s OK to leave the group. Find other connections that more align with your creative and social needs- places to help build your craft up and support your creative journey. There are few, if any, online social media groups that are going to help you sell your books or make connections if you are afraid to engage in the community.
HOW to quit a group
How you leave a group is as important as why. The best method? Just unfollow or unlike. That’s it.
Don’t leave a goodbye rant and negative critique about the group. I’ve seen many groups open that kind of post up to a frenzy of bashing, name calling, reposting negativity about the writer, etc. Even though you may have great disagreements with the group, you never know who might remember your name, what screen shots have been kept, or what bridges you might burn.
Honestly, there’s enough negativity these days, reassessing your social media feeds, cultivating the supportive groups, and weeding out the negativity can do a lot to bolster you own creativity, reduce writer’s block, and decrease burn-out. It isn’t about ignoring people with opposing opinions. It’s about not surrounding yourself with angry negativism or becoming a social media target for someone else’s bad day/attitude/need to carry on the negativity. It’s about finding other authors wanting to share and grow our craft.
Consider what your social media exposure is doing to your creative self. Protect your creative journey by considering cleaning house, staying connected with resources that truly build your writing journey and remove yourself from those that tear you down.
For more tips on writing and maintaining a healthy writing environment, see here.
Another great resource is the award winning Writers in the Storm (gotta love that name!) blog.