by Matt Weik
I mentor a lot of new writers in the health, fitness, and bodybuilding industry. A common question I get asked is how to deal with critics who disagree, bash, or hate on your work. It’s a great question, because I’m sure you as well as myself have read an article and thought to ourselves that we didn’t agree with it. Did we go off the deep end and write to the author, find him on social media and blast him in posts on his social platforms? No. But, unfortunately there are people like that out there. So, how can you prevent this from happening?
Give up and stop writing
If you are worried about what people will think of a topic you want to write about, then just give up and light your laptop on fire. Writing is a form of entertainment as well as education. I’ve published many articles exposing brands, industries, people, etc. and was hit from all sides of the spectrum. The good, bad, and ugly. But, you know what? I didn’t care. I had someone extremely high up in the fitness and bodybuilding industry call me and say I should retract a certain article I had published or write an apology for it. Hell no. Because I’m exposing part of this shady industry and bringing light to a topic I should retract it so the nonsense can continue? No thank you. In fact, you should respect me for having the balls to talk about it at all while you sit back and watch it happen.
You have an opinion just like your readers do. People can choose to read your work or they can choose to dismiss it. Either way, you need to realize that you’re going to be criticized by your peers and everyone around you for your opinion—regardless if you are 100% right or wrong. If that keeps you up at night or you get bent out of shape by comments made about your article, then don’t even write. Being a freelance writer or author is not for you. And that’s fine, it’s not for everyone. But, regardless of the career path you go, you will always have critics. You will always have haters. You will always have people who want to see you fail. In the end, those individuals are really your biggest fans because they watch everything you do and read all of your work. So, what else could you ask for?
Heck, when Geoff Roberts and I had Central Bodybuilding Radio, there was a listener who told me I looked like someone from a boy-band. Most people would take offense to that, Geoff and I just laughed about it. It’s someone’s opinion, what am I supposed to say? Either thank them for the compliment or call them a d-bag? Regardless, is their opinion going to change my life or make me lose sleep? Nope. Maybe for some they’d be offended and get all flustered? You need to block out the noise and keep doing what you’re doing (regardless of your career choice).
Why so much noise?
I’m often asked why a writer catches so much flack about a published article. It could be an article about a bodybuilder who won a show they didn’t deserve to win, a new innovation within the industry, exposing shady situations or circumstances in an industry, or anything else that could be controversial based on someone’s views or opinions. Or, maybe they’re involved in what you are publishing and want to keep it hush hush so they try to attack you to make it go away?
There’s going to be noise no matter what you write about. You could be reading this article and be outside of my niche industry and be nodding your head that you see this in your own industry with publications. It’s not just our industry even though it seems like the health and fitness industry is more vocal than some of the other industries out there when it comes to dismissing people’s opinions.
One thing to take into consideration is that some articles might hit very close to home if they aren’t a direct shot. For instance, I wrote about people who are constantly making excuses why they don’t have time to exercise or eat healthy meals during the day. They tell me I don’t know what their day looks like, or I don’t understand how busy they are, etc. And they’re right, but they’re still all excuses why they can’t versus making these things a priority. Many times, these are the same people trying to justify why they are the way they are. Majority of the people claiming they don’t have time to exercise are the same people watching moronic television shows for several hours at night that bring no true value to your life (oh, I bet that statement is going to make some heads explode). But this is part of the process.
You want to make people feel and think about situations and life. My goal with writing is to bring tremendous value to those reading my work. I’m not looking to paint a picture of rainbows and unicorns—that’s not the world we live in. I’m me. I’m real. It’s a love me or hate me positioning, and either way I’m embracing it. I will write straight informative pieces, and then I’ll also write pieces that shed light on things I don’t agree with.
Who are you again?
We all need to keep things in perspective. The same way I don’t have the credentials to diagnose illnesses like a doctor, those who have zero credentials or even knowledge of our industry shouldn’t raise hell if they don’t know what they are talking about. I wouldn’t post on a doctor’s article that their theory for using a certain medication is completely wrong and that all medications are terrible and don’t get to the root of the issue, etc. I don’t have knowledge on the topic—it’s purely opinionated. I don’t have a medical degree. And I’m not a pharmacist to know how a medication truly works.
Stop worrying about what keyboard commandos are saying about you or your work. You will have people bashing supplement companies for bogus products. You’ll have people exposing fake-natty’s who take offense to you calling them out for their deception. Anytime you put yourself or your work out there, it leaves room for criticism. It’s part of the game. You either embrace it and tune out the noise or it consumes you to the point where you spend more of your time thinking about the comments than your next article to help bring value to people’s lives.