I hate people who read over my shoulder.

It’s one of the most distracting and irritating things to happen if you’re trying to work and you can see in your periphery that someone is watching you type. I don’t mind so much when I’m reading a newspaper or a magazine, though I’m always tempted to ask them if they want to buy their own copy. But reading whilst I’m trying to write it is just plain rude.

Maybe I should start from the beginning.

Because I sent my laptop off for repairs on Monday just gone, and I then realised just how difficult it was for me to work on a tablet without a physical keyboard, I decided that the best place to work would be the university library computers. So there I was, minding my own business and writing a two page synopsis (which has now turned into a four page synopsis, but that’s not the point). Random student comes and sits down next to me and begins work on his own essay.

About 10 minutes later, he looks over at my screen. I can see from the corner of my eye that he’s reading my work, so I open internet explorer and google for “Irritating work distractions” to get him to concentrate on his own work.
Five minutes pass, and he does it again. This time, I don’t bother with the passive aggressive, I just tilt the screen away. This doesn’t deter him either.
The next time he starts reading my work, I look over at him. He looks at me. We both know that he’s reading my work, and he knows I’ve caught him doing it. What does he do? Goes straight back to reading it.

Seriously. I’m trying to work on a fantasy novel, and someone I’ve never met is looking over my ideas. I feel apprehensive enough as it is just discussing my work with other people on my course, let alone with total strangers. I hate the feeling of being judged, which is exactly how I felt when he was reading my take on Lucifer and Michael.

This continued for about three hours before I got fed up and left.

I’m not usually precious about my work – I’m perfectly happy letting my housemates, coursemates and friends from home read and critique it. I’ve sent work in to perfect strangers for editing even when I know it’s absolutely terrible. And I’ve never been averse to drastic editing and cutting of my work either. But something about being there when it happens, and while I’m in the midst of writing it, is just so off-putting that I find I can’t continue working on it.

So this morning, when my laptop returned after only 4 days away for repairs, I’m sure you can all imagine just how happy I was that I wouldn’t be having to try and hide my screen again in the library.

What do people think. Am I being too fussy or does this irritate you as well?


2 thoughts on “

  1. I hate that too with an absolute passion. I even tell the husband and stepkids off when they do it! I don’t think you”re being precious at all. I think that creativity is very fragile and that you need to be able to play with ideas freely, take risks that might not work, write down absolute crap sometimes. You don’t want someone watching that. I hope your laptop’s sorted soon.

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