June 11th, 2011

What do you do when another writer upsets you?

On Monday, I blogged about one of my 16-year-old autistic daughters having a (thankfully rare these days) tantrum, in which all reason went out of the window. 

By an uncanny coincidence, the very next day, a couple of writer friends of mine got involved in what I would describe as the non-autistic equivalent. 

Those of us on the group's email list had to endure an ever-more-spiteful (and frankly, childish) back and forth in which the two parties, both of whom considered themselves the innocent victim, proceeded to question the other's talent and moral character - seriously, Nazi's even came into it.

Two of my other writer friends became collateral casualties - one, when he refused to get dragged into the argument, the other when he tried to step in to clarify the situation for the benefit of folks who weren't at the group meeting.

Here's the thing: People will upset you sometimes, that's life. Just ask Senior Management. I upset her all the time. I know for a fact that I've unintentionally ruffled the feathers of some of my writerly friends and colleagues over the last few years, and some of those folks have upset me, but getting dragged in to a public slanging match helps no-one. 

I stayed well out of this week's silliness. I consider everyone involved a friend. It's a shame they didn't handle things better (and in private), but it's a bigger shame that the group will probably lose some of the newer members because of it. If I didn't know these folks so well, I doubt I'd hang around either.

When someone upsets you, the best thing you can do is walk away. Come back later, when you're head's clear and you can communicate in a rational, cool manner, but the moment you feel your hackles rise, step away from the keyboard, otherwise it'll end in tears.

How about you?

What do you do when another writer upsets you?