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When Paranoia Gets In The Way Of Potential


I wonder if all writers feel that word as intensely as I do.  I’d be interested in finding out.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering on the word over the past few days.  You see, regardless of feeling it, I’d never really put much thought into it.  I’ve known from the get-go that I am paranoid about my books.  In a world where people can hack anything…why wouldn’t I be?  In a world where I have had my things stolen or broken into in nearly every place that I’ve ever lived…why wouldn’t that be a legitimate concern?

I’ve told many a person that I would let someone babysit a child that I don’t have before I would hand over a copy of my book to them.  I meant it then; I still mean it now.  It might sound ridiculous to some people, but to each their own.

I was struck with a thought (or more than one, really) sometime over the course of the last 48 hours.

Am I concerned about my books, or am I concerned about myself?

Is my paranoia impeding the potential of my work?

I believe that it very well may be.

When briefly discussing my revelation with R via text…she said something along the lines of, “As long as you’re not guarding it with your life, I don’t see a problem with it.”  That might not be right, but it was close enough and I don’t feel like scrolling for ten minutes attempting to find it.

My response was, “I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing.”

She then proceeded to say that it wasn’t what she meant; she was talking more of a physical protection.  Something about a dark alley and someone trying to steal it; I stash it and take a bullet.

Now…what R doesn’t know is that, in my head, I was contemplating all the places of my body that I would take a bullet for the protection of my book.  I feel ridiculous, of course.  If someone was going to shoot me, I highly doubt they would let me pick the spot of bullet impact (or, perhaps, caliber?).  Nevertheless, I still thought about it for awhile and came up with a list of a few places.  My series is about assassins; I’ve done a lot of contemplating/thinking about spots of the body and what lies beneath said spots (how much damage it could potentially do, etc.).  I was serious as I thought about it; it was not some joking thing.  I think that’s the most worrisome part about it.

Would I die for my work?


Am I adamant about protecting it?

You betcha.

Now that we’ve got all that settled…Where does a person go from there?

Do I need to start drawing up contracts or something before allowing people to take a look at my books?  That’s an insane thought.  I write books, not contracts.

I need feedback on them.  Good ole’ unbiased feedback.

Would people – friends or family, even – be offended by that?  Or would they understand?  I don’t know.  It’s hard enough for me to ask someone to spend their time reading them to help me with the feedback thing.  But then throwing the word contract into it?

Maybe people not wanting to read my books is all in my head.  Maybe I’ve gotten so carried away in all of this that I haven’t realized…a few people have offered.  I’ve pretty much shut down all of them.  When I want people to read my books…why in the world am I doing that?  Would contracts be a feasible way to ease my troubled mind?  What in tarnation would they even say?  Yes, I am so flustered that the word tarnation just came out of my fingers.  I’m not hanging my head in shame and confusion over that; I’m too focused.

I guess what I’m asking is, “Is this level of paranoia normal?”

Or, “Am I alone in this craziness?”

Or, “What in the world should I do here?”

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

You don’t need to leave comments about me being crazy; I’m already aware.

It makes life interesting, what can I say?

8 thoughts on “When Paranoia Gets In The Way Of Potential

  1. You took the words right out of my mind! Seriously, I’m not even kidding, just two days ago I was considering deleting my novel outline app. I was afraid that the developer had built it to steal novel ideas. Yup. I was like, no? You will NOT take credit for my crazy mind’s blabberings.

    It’s normal though, I think. These are the thoughts that come out of our minds and they are ours forever (sometimes). When I think about someone stealing my work, I honestly feel the same way, maybe a little less intensely, that I feel when I think about someone stealing my son. I’d probably be the one with the gun though 🙂

    • I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one!
      Seriously, I don’t think that’s crazy at all (about the app). I would’ve thought the same thing. Well, come to think of it, I probably would’ve been so paranoid that I wouldn’t have used it in the first place. Haha

      But that’s exactly my point. You spend SO much of your time/energy, just…EVERYTHING getting those words out. The thought of it being stolen is beyond terrifying. And I don’t think it’s so out of bounds to want to prevent that from happening. It’s a feasible concern, in my opinion.

      You and I are on the same page about the gun. I never took that into consideration when playing through that alley scenario in my head.
      That makes me feel better, so thank you!

    • 😀 Thanks Sam.

      I’m glad to know it’s not such a horribly offensive thought.
      It seemed to be the only thing in my head that brought me (a little) peace on the matter. Now, if I could go back in time and give one to my mother…

      Just kidding.
      Sort of…

      • When it comes to our mothers, I don’t think any of us really kid when we say the things we say. Mothers defy definition and explanation. 😉

      • Haha, that’s definitely true (about defying definition and explanation).

        And if I were to make her sign a contract about anything, it would just be not to tell anyone anything about it.
        Though she will deny it up and down all day long, my mother loves to talk. XD

  2. Feeling overly protective of your writing is a normal response. As for letting others read what you have written, I think there needs to be a level of trust with those with whom you are sharing your writing, which I feel is very akin to a parent letting someone look after their child. After all, one’s writing (as like a child) is a creation borne from oneself, is a part of who you are, and something that you have nurtured over a long period of time. OK, this might be a overly dramatic comparison, but I would think friends and family with whom you intend on sharing your writings will understand and appreciate the time and effort you have placed in your writing, and wouldn’t be offended if you had asked them not to consciously or unconsciously steal any of your ideas. Then again, it’s only been fairly recently that I’ve publicly stated my own novel writing aspirations, letting friends read what I had written for constructive feedback.

    Of course, all this talk of paranoia possibly getting in the way of potential could make for an interesting plot line for a story… =)

    • I didn’t think it was an overly dramatic comparison at all!
      It seems less dramatic written the way that you said it than it does in my head (and I’m not a dramatic person – I suppose we all have our exceptions for things in life).

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I really think I needed to hear someone else say that it wouldn’t be offensive. I guess it was just the thought that your family and friends are supposed to be the people you can trust in life (and them with you), and I assumed that asking for such a thing would be the equivalent of shouting, “I have zero trust for you,” which is not necessarily the case. Even putting the word [necessarily] in there seems like saying the same thing. Then again, what you said makes me believe that understanding would be the prevalent feeling involved on their ends. After all, if they care about you, that SHOULD be the response.
      I try to ask myself how I would react in situations if the roles were reversed, but then I tend to ignore what I decide because I can’t answer anything for another person.

      Ahhh…I’ve spent a very long time immersed in a world of assassins and spies. It’s possible that has added to the paranoid feeling (or possible that it hasn’t, and that my paranoid feeling added to the story). As for a paranoia centered plot line? Whew…I don’t think I need anything to exacerbate that feeling for me. 😉

      Thank you again for the feedback. I really do feel much better now.

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