I've been freelance writing for several years, slowly building a client base and increasing my pay as I went. During this time, I've been lucky to have worked with some amazing people. Clients who know how to treat a writer.
Let's face it--that isn't an easy thing. Writers need lots of this:
Or, at the very least, not this:
99.99999% of all clients seem to realize that when you yell at a creative person, you tend to block the very creativity you need. But there's always that tiny percentage who love making people miserable. They're like the mean newspaper editor in a movie.
My worst client ever was like that. When I started working with him (for him, in his case), I was genuinely excited. The per-article rate was extremely high and he didn't seem to have very many writers, despite his many ads searching for them.
I noticed right away that his tone was quite a bit harsher than usual. But I'm a Southern girl. We're a bit...sensitive to that.
It only got worse. He'd fire hateful, threatening group emails out over small things. He'd reject countless articles, calling them, "a mess." Finally, it occurred to me that his cruel rejections were causing me to lock up at the keyboard. With every sentence, I'd hear his mean voice in my head, telling me I suck. Then it started seeping into my other writing, including my fiction. That was when it was ON!
As writers, we will be forced to deal with criticism. We'll grow from it. But when we find ourselves dealing with a toxic critic...and that critic harms our creative spirit...it's time to walk away.
Or, if you're Mary Poppins, open your umbrella and fly away.
Have you ever dealt with a toxic critic?