When Paranoia Gets In The Way Of Potential

Paranoia…

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?

No.

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?

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