Monday, October 24, 2011

Doth Mine Eyes Deceive Me?

"Or is that a foil to my genius hovering over my shoulder?" 
My Utopian Writing Spot. ;)
There comes a time in every writer's life when she is sitting at her keyboard and absolutely cannot write. Not because she has Writer's Block, not because she is physically impaired. No. Because she's met her Kryptonite. Or, as we old-fashioned people say, her Achilles' Heel.
For some it might come in the form of an empty spot where their mug of coffee usually abides.
For others it might have something to do with their nails being too long and clacking during the typing process which is most distracting.
Who knows? For some of you it could even be because you have the Broadway song, "Popular", stuck in your head and can't seem to make it go away. ;) But I can tell you what my Arch-nemesis is. What makes me cringe and puts a massive road-block in my brain? What is the worst impediment to my wit? What can cow me within a moment of its appearance? Ready for it? Okay, but I'm warning you, it's disturbing!

.....Someone reading over my shoulder.....

There! It's out and I feel muchly better. ;) Seriously, I could have a perfectly smashing idea banging against the sides of my brain to be let out onto paper or Microsoft Word or anything else, but the moment the face of an inquiring person peers over my shoulder, the Thing is effectively shut up in Jane Murdstone's metallic handbag, or locked in an airtight box, or strapped to The Rack. In essence it is Temporarily Destroyed.
I don't know what this People-Watching-Me phobia stems from, unless it be a creeping feeling that I am unequal to the task of transferring my thoughts into words. Or it could be the fact that during the writing process I am susceptible to every form of self-doubt, feeling silly for writing something mildly genius, or any number of other problems.
Whatever the case may be, I cannot write with someone's eyes on me. It bothers the dickens out of me [no pun intended. :P] and I have to get rid of the person ASAP if any progress is to be made. ;) The first method of warfare against Inquiring Minds begins with a cold stare at the computer screen, entirely ignoring the person. If that fails, I resort of tapping the keys loudly in an irritated sort of fashion. If that fails, I turn and stare at the Inquiring Mind and ask with cold civility, "What are you doing?" If this too fails I turn pointedly back to the computer screen or piece of paper and say, "You know I can't write with people watching me." And they usually leave without further protest.
I admit it. I am not an angel when genius burns. Not by any means. But it is partly the fault of the Inquiring Minds who, did they care to inquire into Memory's hall, would remember my aversion to being watched while scribbling. :D
What's you Achilles' Heel? And how do you get over it?


Sierra said...

I have a few actually! And one of them is the same as yours, people watching, another is when my room gets messy, that is usually an easy fix though

Rachel Hope said...

I completely understand what you are saying, I have the same trouble, especially when I have my brothers leaning over my shoulder reading every word I write in a silly voice. I could just scream ! I'm sure you are kinder than I, I usually do scream at the person.
Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one with this paranoia .
Rachel Hope

Carilyn said...

Oh, yes!! It is a self-conscious thing on my part, I think. Esp. when writing comments on blogs (or writing anything, I guess). I dislike it very much when someone is reading a comment I'm writing, and they say "Oh, that's weird!" or start laughing. It makes one feel strange and annoyed, unfortunately.

Luckily for you, everyone seems to understand, and share in, your calamity. ;) Do not fret; you are not alone. =D


Unknown said...

I completely sympathize with you. I have the very same phobia as well as a couple other ones. I hate it when people come over to where I'm sitting (which happens to be in the dining room. Not exactly the best place to write) and stand behind me. It creeps me out! It is a fear and somewhat of a sixth sense (seeing as I know they are there even if I can't seem them) which I obtained from reading too many Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers books as well as crime solving TV shows. Can you see how passionate I am about mysteries? Plus, it is very distracting. Another one of my phobias is when my younger sisters start playing the piano right behind me and interrupt my train thoughts. *sighs* Phew. I suddenly feel much better. Thank you so much for this interesting yet very therapeutic post, Rachel. I enjoy reading your blog immensely!

Esther Brooksmith (wisdomcreates) said...

Oh, my, that is too funny. I thought I was the only person who felt this away about someone reading over my shoulder. I have gotten better about it recently...partly thanks to your blog (encouraging me to let my work be seen). Sometimes, however, a budding story is not ready to be pulled open and displayed to the public. In such instances, I find it works well to reduce the screen (or put my arm over my paper), turn to the person, and smile very sweetly at them.