Higher Levels, Bigger Devils

I love basketball. I get geeked for the start of NBA season, and March Madness is my personal holiday. I read sports-oriented publications, and I stan for Bleacher Report and its app, Team Stream.

Since its inception, I have enjoyed the online publishing portal Medium; specifically, its sports section, The Cauldron. While all and sundry can post their thoughts on Medium as a whole, certain sections such as The Cauldron are invitation-only, and if you’re selected, you have to show and prove.

I have never written about sports in an “official” venue, and never played sports a day in my life (unless you count high school varsity cheerleading, which many do not). Still, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and apply to write for The Cauldron.

My first article was rejected; no problem. As a writer, I’m no stranger to that. My second article was accepted, and has been getting good buzz. While I’m pleased, I’m also nervous. Medium reaches an audience vastly larger than my deliberately limited, personal social media presence. Suddenly, my ideas were exposed to a totally different audience…and along with the praise, came the trolls.

WHOA. What…who…WHAT?! To think that my six-minute read about granting NBA media access credentials to bloggers would strike nerves…it was interesting, to say the least, and at times amusing. And, I have to admit, kind of heady: that my words would make such an impact, become part of an ongoing conversation, and basically be  taken seriously (which is infinitely preferable to being considered a joke). That’s part of why writers write: to make that impact, to drive conversation, to call attention to an issue.

I’ve had people comment just to say they won’t read the article (huh?). I’ve gotten complaints that I didn’t take a firm stand on one aide versus the other (I did that on purpose). All this reminded me that when you strive for greatness, you catch more flak with each success. Or, as my late grandmother used to say, “Higher levels, bigger devils.”

Many of us say we want success but aren’t willing to pay the price. Part of that price, especially as a writer, is public exposure, and belief that someone out there wants to hear what you have to say. The flip side of that is opening yourself up to attack by those who aren’t feelimg what you have to say, or disagree with your right to say it. One article (so far) isn’t much of a down payment, but it’s a start. And the bill will only get bigger.

Thanks for stopping by.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kalisha
    Mar 26, 2015 @ 04:02:59

    Higher levels bigger devils…the whole world makes brand new sense now!

    The first time I published widely on the Internet (and the last, for a long time) was an article I did for Clutch called “Dating While Smart.” It was one of those blow-offs I did on a night the rant was fresh. The editor did not even tell me it was posted, as the online publishing world can be…well. Anyway a few days later I had no clue where the nasty putdowns and insults were coming from in Twitter, my email and even my website. For any black woman to speak up for herself and her mind is a recipe for hater disaster. For some of the trolls, you would have thought I had slapped them. Others conjured the image of Ike Turner going in on Tina. It was like folks jumped in a psychic boxing ring against the brown chick who had to nerve to write online I was smart and wanted the best. Sadly, whites came to my defense. When the article was reprinted at xoJane, the women were actually in agreement.

    It was a blessing. At that point I saw the blog I myself long ago registered as much more empty than it should have been. I started writing primarily in WordPress on Negression. If I do seek out other realms beyond my own thing for my own readers, they are more encouraging sites for women who are serious writers, authors and bloggers- not random online worlds for your average Facebook addict stealing time at work to jump bad online. It may be a smaller audience, but I am in control of that.

    Keep writing!



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