Are Facebook writers’ groups worth it?
In most cases, I would argue no. That response is based on the fact that I used to belong to about seven of them.
Don’t ask me why. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time for some reason. Or so I would imagine.
For a while there, I did post a survey question or two per group per maybe half-year. Nothing excessive or even all that involved, I know. But those Facebook writers’ groups were potentially useful every once in a while.
As of a week ago, however, I decided they just weren’t worth the effort. That conclusion came after posting a question about what female writers get wrong about male characters.
Considering the debacle that came from my question the previous month about what male writers get wrong about female characters, I thought very carefully about my wording. How could I avoid people calling me a sexist pig for asking such a question?
Apparently, I shouldn’t have bothered considering the ridiculousness that ensued.
While I initially had two female writers indicate interest in the post, my very next response came from a male writer who instantly came across as being full of himself with:
Hi. I have a degree in literature and teach multiple levels of creative writing classes.
I don’t ever notice female writers writing male characters badly. It’s male writers who consistently rely on stereotypes, turning female characters into nothing more than sex objects. Making them stay home in the kitchen. Having them sound stupid as compared to the male protagonist.
What books is he “consistently” reading? Seriously. I really want to know.
I don’t remember everything he wrote because he went on for about 200 words, puffing himself up the whole time for being so very modern-minded. According to him, men were just too sexist to recognize that women held equal value.
To me, he came across as a pompous windbag, but I decided to be nice to him anyway. So here was my response to his response:
I was a literature major and teach creative writing too! [Exclamation mark purposely added so as to not bruise his fragile ego.] Honestly though, I always thought the reason why male writers don’t depict female characters correctly is because women are more complex and men are more straightforward.
Well, apparently my fellow lit major read “straightforward” as “simple” and took major offense. Hence his immediate reply of “Well, that’s a sh*tty response!” followed by a few lines of berating me for being so very wrong.
At that point, I’d had enough of him and went right for my natural snarky side with, “Wow! Right to insults when someone disagrees with you, huh? Sounds like mansplaining to me.”
I figured that, since he had bashed men up and down to begin with, the term “mansplaining” was in his normal vocabulary. And in that, I wasn’t wrong. Though the exact results were still surprising.
After one more back-and-forth, he proceeded to tell everyone else on the thread not to talk to me because I was sexist. Then, when I attempted to ask him why he’d gotten so mad at my initial response – this time in a much more mature fashion. I promise – he proceeded to tell me that he was “intentionally not reading any more of your comments” and to “Please stop tagging me. I won’t respond.”
After that, a woman much more calmly but still self-righteously rebuked my initial post, essentially calling me a sexist pig. And, at that point, I’d had enough.
I deleted the post, removed myself from the group and have been much more content ever since.
Because, you see, that’s not the first time people got thin-skinned and/or self-righteous on those Facebook writers’ groups. Not even close. It seems to be their standard state of existence, actually.
Posts like “Someone left me a 1-star review on Amazon. What do I do?” will get dozens of replies about “Don’t let the haters get you down!” and “Don’t pay it any mind!” instead of something constructive like:
Consider their comments, reevaluate your writing and grow from it accordingly. In the end, you can determine that they’re completely inaccurate. But it’s still worth wondering about first.
After all, nobody ever gets anywhere good from never once considering negative feedback. And isn’t that the point of a Facebook writers’ group? To challenge just as much as support each other?
But apparently not. Apparently they’re just one more online realm to waste time virtue signaling.
Which makes them useless.