Here’s something I wish I’d realized many years ago.

You know that thing where someone is always trashing you, and you wonder who they’re talking to, and what lies they’re telling, and whether or not those lies are taking root in someone else’s consciousness?

Don’t stress it. Just let it go.

This is an imperfect world and in an imperfect world, you are never going to have a perfect reputation. Especially if you try to have a life as a writer or artist.

Most clients have the horse sense to realize that some freelancers can be jealous and backstabbing and publishers don’t hire and fire based on rivalries. They just want people to write and draw their books. If someone is trying to bring creepy unprofessional crap into the job, the client won’t appreciate it. While they may grin at the gossip du jour, these folks have been around the block and seen it all. So when someone tries to poison the well by trashing you, the client is going to listen, nod sagely, say “How unfortunate! I’ll keep that in mind,” and then get on with business like a businessperson.

The more of a drama queen the other person is, the worse they look. No one wants to carry someone else’s emotional baggage.

Everyone likes to hear a bit of gossip once in awhile, but few people like to wade through a constant stream of someone else’s shit. Eventually, people get tired of the stress from a gossip monger.

Keep a clear head, and don’t give your detractors ammo by reacting badly to them.

Unfortunately, some people will be certain I’m directing this post at them, and that may inspire them to have another meltdown. Whatever. Just about anything you post along these lines will make people with a guilty conscience think they’re being targeted. Double whatever.

People say really terrible things about almost every pro I’ve ever met. They also say wonderful things about almost every pro I’ve ever met. The truth for every person is somewhere in the middle.

If you don’t like someone, it is OK not to have anything to do with them. You don’t have to dig for a handful of dirt when someone is slinging mud at you. All you have to do is be the better person. Considering the competition, that’s pretty easy.

Sometimes the rumors are really nasty, particularly some of the sexist slurs people like to sling around…including the slurs from other women. It’s really tough to take.

But you know what? In the end, the work will speak louder than someone’s stupid rumor. Produce good work, and in a few years, who will care about some jealous backstabber’s Hyatt Bar gossip?

If they spent more time being better creators, they wouldn’t have to grab onto someone who knows how to swim, then try to drag ’em down with their drowning man grip.

Here, have a nice pic of my flowers, before the deer ate them.