Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Don't Touch That!

No one, and I mean no one, is allowed to touch my notebook. The mere thought of someone looking at my notebook makes me break into a cold sweat. When someone glances at my notebook or worse tries to touch it, I will throw myself across the top of it screaming, "No! Don't touch it. Don't read it!" I feel like I'll die of embarrassment if anyone gets a hold of it. Like it was my private journal or something. Really, I fear anyone reading it will think it's stupid. They'll think I'm stupid. Of course, it's only my family who would ever be in a position to touch the notebook anyway, and I know they don't think I'm stupid. I still can't stand the thought of any of them reading my notebook.

Once, the story is done, though, and all typed into the computer, I do a complete flip-flop. Then I can't wait to have someone read it. I almost feel like it isn't complete, it isn't real, unless someone's eyes besides mine have seen and acknowledged it. It's quite a weird shift and it drives my poor husband crazy when first I'm all, "Don't look!" and then, "Read this right now!" Sorry, my love. It's one of the hazards of being married to a writer, I guess.

What about you guys? Do you mind if people read what you're still working on? Are you crazy like me?


logankstewart said...

Hmmm... Sometimes. I usually feel that when someone reads my unfinished work then they are silently judging me, but not always. However, I enjoy reading parts of my unfinished stuff aloud to my wife as I'm progressing. I suppose it just depends on how much confidence I have in my story.

Great post!

Stephanie McGee said...

When I first started the book that took me 8 years to get a rough draft out (to be fair I wasn't writing consistently all that time, and I did abandon the book for a couple of years or more), I had a couple of different people reading as I went and providing feedback. My 12th grade English teacher and a co-worker at the bookstore chain I worked for.

But now, I'll talk about things with my mom (when I was still living at home) or in one-on-one conversations with writer friends, but for the most part I now get this feeling that I don't want anyone to read it until I've polished up the first draft. Once I fix the major plot holes that I can catch, fix some internal inconsistencies, etc., betas can read it.

Until that is done, mine are the only eyes to see anything I've written. Weird? Maybe. But it's how I roll. And no one should ever change how they roll unless it's absolutely counterproductive (or counterintuitive).

Taffy said...

I often wonder what the lady one table over at the pool is thinking of me as I scribble in my notebook. Luckily, no one can read my scribbles when I'm in writing mode (sometimes I can't either) so I've never worried about them reading my words. I stress more about what they think of my handwriting! :)

Terry W. Ervin II said...

I guess I've never worried about someone getting an early peak at my works, but everyone is different.

Angie, what do you do with the notebooks once the piece has been typed into the computer?

Angie said...

LOL, Taffy. My handwriting is horrible too, so maybe I have nothing to worry about after all.

Terry, you'd think I'd chuck them with how I feel, but I can't bring myself to do that. They are all stacked up in the bottom of my nightstand. I look at them occasionally to see when exactly I wrote a particular story, or how many pages per week I was writing at the time (I have dates where I begin each week.) Also, there are sometimes phone numbers jotted in the margins, or other random notes I want to hang onto.

Thanks for your comments!

Lisa said...

My hubby is the only one who can see my WIP (but only certain parts). I would die of mortification if anyone else saw it. I can't even bare it when my children sneak up behind my back and sneak a peak. Good to know I'm not alone.

AstonWest said...

Depends on the person, and depends on how far along the story is. Most of the time, I'm usually writing far away from other people, so it doesn't come up a lot.

Angie said...

You're definitely not alone, Lisa.

Thanks for coming by, Todd.

Theresa Milstein said...

There's something about notebooks. I'd freak out too. I don't like people to see my work until it's polished. Or my version of polished.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

As I'm writing the first draft I usually don't like people reading it. But after I have the complete story down and start on revision I love to get feedback.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I don't share my work before it's been finished and edited. I'm like you - no touching/looking before I'm done :)

Jaydee Morgan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I always have a silent freak attack when anyone goes near my notebooks!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Well, I don't have the notebook vs. typing thing - but yes, I totally get this post! When I'm writing, don't look at my writing, don't look at me, aah!!! I feel all those same things, and it's good to know I'm not the only one.
My kids, and sometimes their friends (if they sleepover and are here in the mornings) will try to read over my shoulder while I'm writing - aaahhh!! No!
Even if I know something is rough, I reach a point where I'm ready to share, but until then . . . no peeking!
The only exception is when . . . I'm writing an interactive silly story, where everyone gets to throw in an idea like the recent "Viking Barbie Warriors" tale we had going on at our house last weekend.

Angie said...

Thanks for coming by everyone. Tyrean, Viking Barbie Warriors sounds like a lot of fun.

I think writing always leaves us feeling a little exposed.

ali said...

Yes and No. For me, it's more the brainstorming. I love brainstorming with my hubby, but at some point I have to do the Ruby Rod thing (Fifth Element) and go zzzzzz zzzzzz because I just can't go there with him in all that detail.

I don't OWN the story yet. I need to get it down, before I can talk all the deets.

But I think you're right - living with a writer is like that. We're kinda weird. ;)

Velvet Over Steel said...

Oh my goosh, I feel the same way. I have a noisy boss who tries to get a peak at my notebook in my bag somedays. (I write in it over MY lunch break, outside usually.)

So glad I am not alone! :-)

Lindsey Edwards said...

Ah, the notebook. I agree on the no touch-y. My notebook is filled with odd scribbles, and although they probably make sense only to me, I dare not share it. Too embarrassed. My notes are not the genius one might think would come from a writer, but, I think many writers are the same way when it comes to their notes. No one is really supposed to see them after all, right?? ; )