Please Don’t Look At My Writing

As a writer, this may be one of the strangest statements I have ever made. “Please don’t look at my story, I’m ashamed of it.” No writer should be ashamed of their thoughts and ideas, yet I am sure most of us have to deal with this often. At the moment, I have to share a study with my roommate. He is just one person, and his desk is at the opposite of the room. However, whenever he is sitting there, whether it is playing games or talking to people on Skype, I get this horrible feeling I am being watched. I am afraid that he will turn around and look at my screen while I am writing and see what my story is about. I can’t write unless he’s gone.
It is terrible, actually. Why can’t I write when there is someone in the same room? He isn’t even looking at my screen, yet I always feel he is going to judge me for it. It may be because I like children’s stories and he prefers epic fantasy, but I don’t think he would mock me. Sure, we often joke around about my strange imagination, but he is never mean about it. I should want people to read my stories, right? Then why am I so afraid of it?
It is because I am afraid of being judged. It is because I aspire to become a writer in the English language, although it is not my native tongue. I am afraid that everyone will pick up on it and mock me. It is actually petrifying – but it shouldn’t be. As writers, we will always face criticism. We will always face mockery. We shouldn’t let it stop us, though. My dream isn’t gone. My will is returning. Even better, I finished the second manuscript in my nine-part series about three days ago. Maybe this will go away one day. Maybe I will be able to let those I know read my work. Yes, publishers are not that terrifying to me. What’s worse is the judgment of those we love and care about. But if they are worth it, they won’t judge.

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11 thoughts on “Please Don’t Look At My Writing

  1. First of all, it is quite admirable that you are trying to write in your second language.

    I think insecurity about writing is really common. I don’t even want to tell people that I write sometimes, because I’m afraid of the question, “What do you write?” and then I might have to share something. In many ways, it seems silly. So what if writing is something that I enjoy? There are lots of people who enjoy it and even make a living from it.

    But, I think the main issue is that when we write and tell stories, we are putting our heart out there. We are writing something that is important to us. I think Ernest Hemingway had a great point in his quote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” It’s hard to put our hearts out there, because few things hurt more than having your heart broken. It always feels safer to just protect it. The ones who can inflict the most damage, are those we allow closest to us, so we desire to hide our passions from them.

    Hope you don’t mind the long comment… but this post was something that really resonated with me.

    • Of course I don’t mind the comment! Thank you so much for posting it! I completely understand what you are saying… We don’t want to get our hearts broken – to be honest, the only ones who can actually break our hearts are those we love. Still, writing is about showing what is inside of us and presenting it to the outside world. It is terrifying, yet so rewarding at the same time. That quote is beautiful.

  2. I understand where you are coming from. I use to be like that when I was first showing my family my work. I persevered and it got easier over time. I think it’s just something you have to get use to.

    • That’s definitely true. Personally, I’m not afraid of showing my family what I’ve written, but sadly, they don’t even understand most of it… It really helps to show it off, though. Thanks for the reply!

  3. The only way I can tell English isn’t your first language is because you speak (or rather write) it better than most native speakers. I am the same way though. The thought of people I actually know reading my writing terrifies me.

  4. Can be very different letting someone read a finished story you’re happy with to one that’s in progress… also can be less intimidating letter a total stranger read it than someone you know…
    My parents and my school friends simply didn’t like science fiction/fantasy, so it was a long time before I let anyone read some of mine. I still have to accept my father is never going to like anything I write; which is awkward because he still tries to take an interest. It’s a very awkward bind!

    • Thank you for commenting! I understand, people who won’t like the writing probably shouldn’t read it either. Thing is, I write children’s fiction (in English) so firstly, I don’t know any children and secondly, even if I’m happy about is, almost no one around me is able to grasp it… It’s the generation gap. It’s a little discouraging when someone tries to like it but just can’t…

    • Thing is, Dutch eight-year-olds don’t speak English and I have no idea where to find actual young English speaking proof readers… They are not old enough yet to be online (well, not on the right forums) and they certainly don’t live here… To be honest, I’ve never let anyone proofread before, mainly because I trust the publishers’ judgment to reject it if it isn’t good enough, but that attitude isn’t helpful.

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