Creative Truth: your idea will be taken. Here’s what to do about it.

You’re fucked. No other way to say it.

And to be honest you know you should’ve seen this coming. Did you really think you were the only one to come up with this idea? Just who the hell do you think you are?

Actually, you are everyone who has ever had an idea…ever.

Every one of us has felt the euphoria of a new idea taking hold, the wild fantasies of what it could become if we nurture it.

And nurture it we do.

We pour endless time into it. We lose sleep. We miss out on making memories with friends and family; even our peace of mind starts to fade.

And even though we know it could all fall apart if the slightest thing goes wrong, we can hardly wait.

It’s like opening your gifts on Christmas day, knowing one of them is a genie’s lamp that could make your wildest wishes come true and another is a bomb that will blow up in your face. You’re terrified of the consequences but hooked on the possibilities.

And then judgement day comes. Your idea stands tall and proud and you’re ready to release it into the world and… It’s already been done before.

Sometimes months ago, sometimes years, sometimes decades. Someone else has done it and worst of all, they did it really fucking well. How can you compete with that? How can you make your idea so good that people choose it over the one that’s already gained ground in the real world?

Maybe you should just give up?

No, fuck that.

You’ve spent too much time on this. You’ve told your friends and family about this — everyone is invested in your success. You’ve seen its future, and the road isn’t smooth and the end isn’t certain, but you can feel its potential.

Focus on that. Your vision, your destiny. That’s how you keep going.

Have faith in the process. Have faith in yourself.

Because before your competition did it, someone else did it too, and someone before them, each more uncertain than the last. They all did it anyway.

Did you know that “The Running Man” by Stephen King and “Battle Royale” by Koushun Takami both did televised fights to the death, with the latter even involving young children with disturbed former contestants serving as mentors? Did that stop Susan Collins from writing “The Hunger Games”?

No matter what area of life you find yourself in, no idea is taken. Not really. Ideas aren’t like fireflies. You can’t trap them in a jar and say, “this is mine, I own this. You can look, but you can’t have it.”

Ideas are like the air we breathe. They’re all around us, filling us with life.

Sometimes we share the same air, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Imagine if we said to our family and friends, “I’d love to breathe today, but this air has already been breathed before and I don’t want to use something that’s not originally mine.”

Ridiculous! For creatives, nothing is as nurturing as ideas, and though they may have been done before, they haven’t been done by you.

Just like the air you breathe, the ideas are made uniquely yours when they are filtered through you.

So do your idea. Or do theirs but do it better. Or do it differently. Either way, just do it. Because those who came before will never stop existing and you can’t let them intimidate you into obscurity. It’s better to stand on the edge of greatness with wings spread wide, daring to fall and die, than to never leave the nest and try.

Sincerely,

Ryan Reudell

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