- Fame doesn’t equal money – Despite the 10,000 likes, 2,000 comments, and 1,000 shares on your posts, you may be broke. Many of my fellow writers are moonlighting two-three jobs just to put food on the table. Besides, you’re not famous, okay? Maybe your article gets recognized online and celebrities on instagram quote your poem, but your work going viral does not equate to you being famous.
- Say goodbye to your pride – Have an eternal dilemma about making yourself not read the comments on your writing despite knowing some will help you write better, but some will only hurt you. Then give in. Then regret it after seeing comment after comment claiming to be constructive criticism, yet calling you “Stupid, shallow, whore, slut, fat, talentless.” But still, you will keep on reading, keep on doing this to yourself.
- Be prepared to have your writing taken out of context – Humans have unique experiences, thus we also have differing perceptions. When one writer wrote about Feminism in India, she received the following responses: “You are an unpatriotic, exaggerating liar!” said one Indian reader. “You come from a backwards part of India and it’s not true that you get victimized here because I’ve never felt that way,” said another. The thoughts you want to convey may not always be what your audience receives. You can take a cue from our fellow writer, Jane*, who had the fortune of meeting an anonymous troll who stalked her, found her private contact info, and harassed her for days on end all because he/she disliked an article Jane wrote.
- You become a byline – Every time you write, a tiny part of you goes into your art. Every sentence, every word, every syllable we write comes from personal experience, a place in the deepest nooks of our ribcage. That said it’s easier to be rude to someone online. The Internet offers an imaginary barrier between you and the person/content you are talking about. This is why many people aren’t afraid to attack someone below-the-belt on Facebook.
- You’ll probably cry – Writers are but the simplest of humans, and we are known to be sensitive. The only writers I know who are not affected by pressure and online trolls are tabloid writers who exploit art for money. Close your laptop and try not to let it get to you. (Actual truth: it will still probably get to you, sometimes.)
- Insane pressure – Writing is not a joke. As quick-and-easy as writing may seem to most people, it takes actual skill to be able to spin something fresh and creative every week while having the threat of writer’s block perpetually looming above you. Let me quote Oshin on this, “The work that we submit is super personal and honestly, we pour our hearts and souls in whatever we write… Also, the pressure and expectations when your work is on display for the whole world to see is unimaginable.”
- Criticism is a good thing – What stops a semi-narcissistic artist from going over her head? Criticism. 10,000 likes has nothing on a couple of reviews about your skills. But don’t beat yourself up. Allow it to humble and better you. Our managing editor, Ioana, says, “Criticism was here before we were born and while it can affect how we run, think and feel, it’s another face of the same coin: if someone hates us, then we touched them.” Don’t be discouraged or disheartened by people’s opinion, no matter how negative, positive, or harsh. If your work sparked a discussion, that means people read it and reacted to it because you managed to reach an innate part of them.
- Your art is your weapon – Heed this advice by fellow writer Tanvi – “Our ability, as writers, to take something so poisonous, and turn it into art; that’s something they’ll never be able to take away from u” Remember the mean girls from high school? Turn that bad memory into a poem. Remember your alcoholic father who abandoned you and your mother? Turn that pain into beauty. Your real life struggles, however messy, can become a masterpiece and can aide in your healing. And what’s better? You’re helping others heal, too. Every rape survivor, every bullied kid, every lonely human in this community gets to read your writing because of this wonderful platform you still can’t believe you were blessed with. Your writing may be the reason why a real human being decided to stay another day on this earth and try one more time.
- Inspiration breeds inspiration – What you give to the world becomes magnified. You could easily use your rotten problems and experiences as an excuse to be a victim. However, you are courageous enough to boot up your laptop each week and write about it instead. Not only can your words brighten up someone’s darkness, it can also give birth to a new poem, or a song, or a digital painting from the hands of our talented readers. Who knows? Someone reading this right now may just be the next J.K. Rowling. Our bank accounts may be empty, but our souls are full!
- The community is full of support – Not only do we, as staff writers, get overwhelming love and encouragement from our fellow writers and editors, we get it from readers, too. We can no longer count how many times our readers have generously messaged us and thanked us for how we have inspired them, touched them, or indirectly helped them through a personal ordeal. It’s not simply us either. When you look at the comments section you’ll see strangers of differing ages and nationalities, from all walks of life, connecting with each other because they relate to a piece of art. Sometimes friendships are made, but even if mostly it’s just two people engaging in fleeting online interactions, your art becomes the bridge for people’s hearts to cross and meet in the middle.
- You’re immortal – The secret to staying young? Create. They say once you publish a piece of writing, it lives forever. This rings especially true if done online. Each passing year you may grow old, but the art that sprouts from your mind will remain frozen in time, waiting to be seen, read, and enjoyed by future souls searching for a bit of ingenuity, attempting to prove to themselves that they are not alone in this cruel world. And they aren’t. So what will your legacy be? An anonymous message to a person you hate? Or an art piece that has the potential to change a person’s life? The choice lies in your hands.
*Name changed at request of fellow writer.
Sade Andria Zabala is a twenty-four year old Filipina surfer sometimes living in Denmark. She is the author of poetry books War Songs and Coffee and Cigarettes. Her work has appeared on places such as Literary Orphans, The Thought Catalog, The Rising Phoenix Review, Hooligan Magazine, Germ Magazine, and more. In her spare time she likes to eat words and drink sunlight. You can purchase her books here.