How much privacy do we need or want?


When we started using Dropbox our productivity soared.
Instead of emailing ideas back and forth, we could easily create and share them in documents.
Once we started writing in earnest, it raised a question.
Writers are nosey people, it’s a given. To be a creator of stories, you tend to be drawn to any kind of human drama, interesting spectacle, or, to quote Number Five from Short Circuit, ‘inpuuuuuut’.
So if Dropbox helpfully informs me that a file has been changed, when I’m sitting at my computer, I naturally wonder what Iain’s up to.
We had a chat about this. A “do you mind me looking?” kind of a chat.
It turned out that neither of us did especially mind.
We agreed that if someone was standing behind you, watching you write, it would be horribly off-putting. Somehow, knowing that every time you hit ‘save’ and commit to Dropbox it’s available for viewing by your writing partner is not at all the same.
We both understand what a first draft is all about. We agreed that there’d be no critiquing until we’ve finished a piece, so there’s no sense of pressure or embarrassment.
In fact, I’ve noticed that it can be quite motivating in some perverse way. There’s a sense of keeping pace with each other. “Ooh, Iain’s done 3000 words, I’d better crack on”.

So: doing it in (semi) public. It can be quite rewarding.