“Don’t give up if people are attacking you”

During the recent Ubud Writer’s Festival in Bali, Indonesia, where I was a guest speaker, I was asked by the literary magazine, Kill Your Darlings, about what I wished I knew about being a writer back in the day:

I’ve been a journalist for over twenty years, and if you write about political issues, works that are critical of state power, you are going to get a lot of backlash. You get all the hate mail, death threats—a lot of praise as well from some circles. It forces you to grow a thick skin. You may get attacked a lot, and that’s something I’ve been forced to get used to.

The best piece of advice I’ve received is to not give up even if you do get attacked. Your instinctual reaction would be to withdraw, to curl up in a ball. If you feel that you’re right, and hopefully other people agree with you, then don’t give up. Don’t give up if people are attacking you because often the most powerful have a good incentive to silence those who are criticising them. And they might give the impression of being powerful, but they’re actually very insecure.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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