So last night I realized my perspective was off. While looking for feedback on my last post about finding ideas, a fellow writer suggested I watch this TED Talk from author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. It’s an interesting take on the creative process, and a lesson we should probably all take to heart, at least in some regard. *I won’t spoil any of it by delving into it further, for the moment, but really, give it a watch. It’s less than 20 mins.
My thoughts yesterday were only that I needed to find more ideas, that I didn’t have enough in my “stockpile”, or the more accurate term I like, due to its deep, dark imagery, “vault”. Then last night while at my writer’s group, I listened to the twenty other writers in the room discuss their projects, and realized how different we all are from each other. Everyone in that room was working on something different; novels, screenplays, short stories, poems, the genres differed, the perspectives were biased from personal experience, and the writing styles were all different. One of my novelist friends cringed when she heard a few of us talking about screenwriting and moved away to find a conversation more suited to her. We support each other’s work, but don’t talk about it much when we’re together, in part, because of the differences. So I laughed as she turned away because it reiterated to me that although we share a common passion, writing, we are not in the same boat.
I was looking at the work of others and comparing myself to them. This is where I went wrong. My life is not the same as a writer at the turn of the last century. I’m not spending my time in an opium den, allowing lucid hallucinations to dictate my work. My life isn’t even similar to the majority of the people I was in the room with last night, so why would I ever consider to compare my work with theirs? Foolish notion…and hence, the perspective change. As a screenwriter, hearing that someone has written twenty-five scripts should not make me rise to the challenge, because in all honesty, how many of those stories were worth telling? I don’t want to be a writer that just spews out scripts for the sake of quantity. I write a story because I have a passion for it, not just to bolster my numbers.
We each do what we can with what we’re given, or hopefully try to. We all hope to achieve some part of the greatness that others have, but comparing ourselves to them is not only counterproductive, but unnecessary. We each have our own stories to tell, we each have lived a different life, and it is this variety that makes us unique and incomparable.
I wish you all the best!