A few years ago, I had a great idea for a book I wanted to write. I never wrote it.
A few days ago, I watched a movie featuring the two lead characters from the book I never wrote. Turns out, someone else wrote it. And they did a good job.
Now I will probably never write that book because I have seen the characters I had imagined brought to life by somebody else.
I’m not angry or bitter or really even all that surprised. A brilliant idea is only brilliant when brought to life. Ideas need action. There is nothing I can dream that someone else can’t dream. Worse yet, there is probably nothing I have ever dreamed that someone else hasn’t already dreamed as well. Probably better.
And so the trick is to start working and keep working and not stop working until the dream is brought to life. It is a story or a play or a poem or a painting or an invention or whatever. Your idea needs action. Do it now. Someone else is doing it. You need to do it first or you will be watching someone else who has done it better.
Or watching someone do it worse. There have been a lot of demon and angel-themed noir-ish fantasy books lately. The good news is that, unless it’s an invention or scientific discovery that has a provable true or false state, especially if it’s in the arts, two things that start from similar or even the exact same impetus can be different than rather than better or worse than each other.
Writing from the same starting point can certainly carry two different people in very different directions. But when you see what you wanted to make already created, it takes the steam out of the pot.
Erm. Which is not to invalidate your point. Just to expand it. Even if someone has “used” your idea already, that idea probably isn’t used up. And in order to make your contribution, you must do something. I absolutely agree with you there. And I struggle with it just about every day. And I do get bitter, angry, and depressed…
I’m trying not to waste time on the bitter, angry, depressed part. I go there often but don’t want to stay there.
I think this post was my way of cheerleading myself forward, and putting an idea to rest that I spent too much time not acting on.