As I indicated in yesterday’s post, I’m going to take part in the Catch Me If You Can blogfest. One comment I received back was the fear of a WIP being stolen. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from a writer. There is a woman in the writer’s networking group I’m in that joined us a few months back. She was visibly nervous. She seemed scared to even talk about her book idea. She was afraid to join Facebook…come on, who isn’t on Facebook? Why was she scared? She didn’t want anyone to steal her idea. Last month, the same topic came up to our guest speaker, who is a screenwriter. Even I have felt anxious about how much of the content to Wild Oats (my WIP) I should share with others or even if I should do an online story like 12 Days (which is another WIP). Even the thought of “What if the copyeditor I contracted takes my manuscript and tries to pass it off as her own work?” crossed my mind. Unfortunately, the fear of stolen work is on the mind of almost every writer at one point or another. It’s not that we’re being irrational, it’s just that we’ve worked so hard and are so passionate about the story, it would be devastating if somebody had the audacity to take it.
However, I’ve learned that it boils down to this: Trust. At some point, writers just have to trust that another writer, editor, or agent won’t take it. The majority of us have pretty good morals. We don’t want that bad juju/karma to come back and get us. We don’t want to be sued. So, in most cases, you can trust that you can share without fear of pilfering. And for those who are a bit crooked or shameless, then stamp your copyright ASAP. If you work with an editor, get a written contract. Make sure it has language about who the story belongs to. If your fabulous manuscript winds up on the Best Seller list or Oprah’s book club and your name isn’t in the byline, then you’ve got the paper trail (and probably a lawsuit).
Also, we need to understand that fear is a spirit that is not or should not be in us. It’s crippling and if you let it consume you, you won’t be able to write that story. Or, if you do finish, fear can prevent the world from knowing just how fabulous you are. So, go ahead and join that critique group, hire that copyeditor, post a sample on your blog to tease your loyal following. Putting yourself out there is how you will discover your strength and weaknesses about your craft and can ultimately lead to a better story.
I dare you to try it…what’s the worst that can happen? Yes, I know it could get stolen, but do it anyway.
A few thoughts about fear…
You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.
— Mary Manin Morrissey
Fear is faith that it won’t work out.
— Sister Mary Tricky
FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
— 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
© 2011 by Dahlia Savage 😉