P.17: Manuscript Trust Issues and NaNoWriMo

One of the things I’ve come up against, as a writer who wants to be a part of the writing community, is sharing manuscripts — electronically.

I don’t like doing it. I even feel weird doing it. I’ve only been willing to do it with my writing group and a select group of friends so far… but strangers on the internet?

NaNoWriMo is going to be a new frontier in this internal debate that’s taking place in my brain. As part of NaNoWriMo, a lot of people like to share ideas and review each others’ work. I love sharing work and being part of communities — I just don’t like the electronic aspect of it, especially when it comes to complete strangers.

One side of my brain is saying they’re my peeps, fellow aspiring authors, and that I need to trust them and share… and the other half of my brain is saying, “they’re strangers on the internet!”

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t think I’m the next JK Rowling or Steven King, but when you spend a lot of time writing something, it becomes your baby.

And we all get overprotective of our babies, at least at first.

We all hear all kinds of different plagiarism horror stories throughout our life, and I’ve always taken these issues very seriously. But those are all anecdotes, and not grounded in don’t-share-your-manuscript-electronically studies.

I’d love to figure out how to reconcile these competing thoughts in my brain — my love for community, but fear of electronic sharing. My first thought is to do some writing in local libraries that host NaNoWriMo events, meeting people personally — and take it from there.

So, what do people think? Am I right to not want to share electronic copies, or do I have to stop being a helicopter parent over my manuscripts — and let those babies fly away, so more people can read them?