Here is one of my insecurities: I hate people watching me write.
I write and rewrite. I rearrange the words and syntax. I’ll write hundreds and hundreds of words, then delete the whole lot and start again.
It’s this process that helps me work out what it is I want to say.
I’m fairly certain this is normal.
When people start watching me, looking over my shoulder, taking an interest in what I’m doing, it unsettles me. I don’t want them to see my half-formed thoughts on the screen or on the page.
Writing demands a response. We see the words and we form judgments. We have no choice in this. We relate to it, or don’t. We agree or disagree, approve or disapprove, accept or reject, are interested or bored. You get the idea.
When people view my words before they are ready. Before the words say what I want them to say, I feel …
I was going to say violated but that is too extreme.
I was going to say exposed or naked, but those words won’t do either. They imply that by looking, people will see what is really there – the real me, warts and all. Unfinished thoughts aren’t a form of nakedness. Nakedness is a form of truth, but unfinished writing – well that’s more likely to be a form of untruth.
When people view my words before they are ready I feel embarrassed because the words aren’t ready to be looked at yet. And I mean REALLY embarrassed. My stomach knots inside of me. I feel like I’m naked with a million cameras and eyes on me (okay, so maybe the naked analogy DOES work). I fold my arms and hug them into myself. I wait tensely until whoever it is goes away.
Then I feel angry.
And then I feel guilty for being angry with people who are “just taking an interest”.
So there you have it: embarrassed, angry, guilty. That’s how I feel when people look at my writing before it is ready.