Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Red Pen

You know what makes me completely uncomfortable? I am talking uncontrollably squeamish, not just a compulsive-small-talk-until-the-elevator-reaches-the-next-floor kind of uncomfortable.
It is unbearable for me to watch someone as they read something written by me. 

The beauty of having blog is that I write alone, post my musings or B.S., whichever is the order of the day, then I just leave it there and whatever happens next is up to the world. You read it if you want to and I go on with my life, having cleared my thoughts and memories like Dumbledore with his Pensieve
Since there is mixed company and I have real-life friends who have are blog-loyalists, occasionally one of them will check it in my presence. It's almost like watching a car accident- you don't want to look, but you do, you want to make sure everything is okay, followed by: Are they laughing? Is there a spelling or grammatical error that is glaringly obvious? Shouldn't they be done reading by now? Are they faking a reaction because I'm sitting right here? 
And worst of all: What if they hate it?

I was in a situation at work recently, after having worked on a project, where I had to literally sit across from someone as they poured over every word I had written. I didn't know how uncomfortable I was watching someone read my work until I realized that I could not follow my instinct to get up and leave or hide behind a filing cabinet until they were done. I cringed, trying to gauge a reaction and pretended to find my legal pad fascinating as I waited for a response. Like watching a crucial at-bat, a putt in sudden death or a game-changing field goal, I didn't want to look for fear that doing so would ruin everything. If there is any part of me that likes facing confrontation, I still haven't found it yet. 

The experience was good for me, the response to my work was positive, and made me think that if I desire to write more seriously or professionally, I need to get used to some editing. Just don't make me watch, okay?

There is but one art, to omit. 
-Robert Louis Stevenson


tootie said...

I know how you feel. It's the worst feeling as you think, "Do they like it? Hate it? Oh no, they hate it!"

But just know that you are a really good writer!

Carrie said...

I definitely get this - it's awful when you've poured yourself into something and it gets "rejected"...ok, maybe it's more like "constructive criticism," but it certainly doesn't feel that way at the time.

Mel said...

I so get what you're saying here. Chef knows I have a blog, but I have to share the link with him because I can't bear to watch him read and criticize/tease me... even if it is just good natured...

Jessica said...

I know what you mean. That's why most of my friends don't know about my blog.

However, at school, I work as a writing tutor, so I'm often the one with the red pen (i prefer blue though!) marking up other people's papers!

Bluebelle said...

Oh my gosh, yes! I have to leave the room and go wash up or something if my husband starts reading my blog in front of me. As for anyone else, no chance.

Andhari said...

I know what you mean, so far I feel pretty nervous EVEN knowing people in my real life read my blog too. I kinda want that part of me undiscovered from them lol