Hackernoon logoDon’t Let The Trolls Trap You by@poornima

Don’t Let The Trolls Trap You

Poornima Vijayashanker Hacker Noon profile picture

Poornima Vijayashanker


In 2007 I was contemplating starting a blog. Then my good friends Noah Kagan and Dave McClure gave me the gentle nudge I needed to stop thinking and just start writing on Femgineer.

At the time, I didn’t even know I needed to have a voice. It wasn’t until recently that someone asked me how I found my voice. My response was that I never set out to discover it. I’ve let it just evolve over time. Writing what matters to me, because I didn’t think anyone was actually reading my writing.

I was a nobody.

I still am.

I don’t say that to be self-deprecating. I only say it because there have been lots of amazing people who have written more compelling content than me with wider audiences.

However, appealing to an audience wasn’t my goal back then. It was to satisfy the six-year-old in me who had made a goal to someday become a writer. That’s pretty much it.

What was important to me was to chronicle my journey. I wrote to capture my thoughts and experiences. Sometimes I wrote really silly things like this post, other times I wrote serious posts. Again my motivation wasn’t to appeal to an audience because I didn’t have one.

Slowly over time I developed a small following, and I realized that what I wrote impacted others. And that’s when I began to put more thought and energy into my writing. I became critical of my work.

I went on to self-publish two books. This was this first one and this was the second one. And if you’re curious about that process, you can check out this post.

What Has Changed Since 2007

Since 2007 a bevy of bloggers have come under attack. Incidents like Gamergate have made people think twice about putting themselves and their thoughts out there.

I understand.

It stings when people are critical of your work, but it’s also become scary to share.

Over the past 9 years, I’ve experienced a lot.

I’ve received critical commentary, unwanted advances, and more.

You can see them for yourself by scrolling through to the end of this video or this post.

So What?

I’m not going to stop doing the work I love to do. I’m not going to let my six-year-old self down, or all the others who are out there.

I write to capture my thoughts and share them with others.

If I stop, then I lose myself, and someone misses out on learning from my experiences.

If I stop, the trolls win.

Sure people will criticize, it’s easy for them to. They’ve got nothing to lose.

And when it happens, it stings, like a mosquito bite. But eventually, the stinging goes away.

Others will try to hold you back, to protect you, because maybe they tried, failed, or had a negative experience.

Thank them for their concern, but do what you need to do.

There’s probably more holding you back like…

English ain’t your first language?

Escribe en tu idioma!

We can use Google translate. It’s got some bugs, but we’ll get the gist ;)

And for some added inspiration check out my homegirl Jhumpa Lahiri’s recent book In Other Words. In it she beautifully captures the challenges of writing in a second language, and how she has learned to deal with them.

Worried about typooes or grammar?

Use Grammarly or get a buddy to proof your work.

Worried about being an expert or not knowing anything?

Start by sharing your experiences. No one can deny your perspective, and most want to learn from it.

Worried about being wrong?

It’s just part of being human ;)

It’s also OK to change your mind over time.

Don’t like to write?

Then pick a different medium to express yourself.

Just do your thing, and share it with me below, I’ll be your first person in your audience. I’ll give you that first high five!

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