“When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.”
– Mark Twain
If you’re reading this, I decided not to publish today’s original post. Initially I had a one thousand word angry rant that was going to go up. Now it’s in the trash. Instead of rehashing my beef here, I’m going to write a little guide to crafting hate mail.
How to write hate mail
Have an outline.
Most people suck at insults because they lack any kind of cohesive structure. They meander around and lose focus. By typing up your platforms of attack you can stick to the point. It gives your words an edge and turns anger into a weapon. Additionally, you can build on your attack, a subtle crescendo of slander is truly a sight to behold.
If you’re going to call someone out, do it the old fashioned way. Draft a letter. While you can post something to Twitter, the character limit is going to impose on your creativity. If you want to get clever with your insults, or make a compelling argument, you need to write a solid essay. “Wow. Just wow,” pales to the insults you can craft in a thousand word tirade.
Rest for a day.
After writing your scathing article, wait 24 hours before publishing it. It’s a good idea to rest up before your attack. Whenever I write something that I intend to either post or email to someone, I wait a full day.
Throw the letter out.
I once read a story about Abraham Lincoln. Whenever Lincoln was mad he’d write an angry letter to the person who had infuriated him. Instead of sending it he would put the message aside until he calmed down. Afterwards, he’d write at the bottom “Never sent. Never signed.”
With a handful of exceptions, I never post angry content. However, I’ve probably written at least two dozen scathing posts with the intention of publishing them. Typically, after I write something aimed at someone, I find that my rage subsides. I get all my anger out without ever letting anyone else know.
While I’m sure someone will say this is passive aggressive, I actually get a lot of use out of it. It’s also saved me from making myself look bad on more than a few occasions. For example, I had a client who hadn’t paid me for some work. I messaged them a few times and never heard anything back. This upset me and I drafted a long winded negative review that touched on everything from their failure to pay on time to a funny typo that they had made in their initial message.
Before publishing it, I waited a full day. The next morning, I felt a lot better and decided not to make my attack. I shrugged it off, that’s the price of doing business. Two days later I got an email from my client.
Apparently they had been having some business difficulties and were behind on all their stuff. Not only did they pay me, but they hired me for another job and paid extra to make up for any inconveniences. Had I criticized them, I probably wouldn’t have seen any of the money.
Anger is an emotion, it passes. There’s no sense in holding a grudge, or trying to get revenge in a public setting. If you have a problem with someone, take care of it one on one.