I wrote my first full-length screenplay in 2015. Like most newbie writers, I thought it was the best 140 pages I’d ever written, knowing for sure I’d produce it one day.
Fast forward two years. I’m helping a fellow screenwriter friend produce her short film. Yep, she had the same title, same premise, same protagonist, same location. What?! Did that mean I was unoriginal?
My mind even went to that scary, paranoid space of whether she had stolen my idea, but this was ludicrous. We wrote the same story at the same time. I realized 1) the title is not so original, 2) the plot was not so original and, 3) there is some cosmic synergy between creatives. There has to be. I pushed my feelings aside, had a good laugh about the coincidence, and moved forward to support my colleague to complete her film.
Later, I discovered the book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. In this motivational love letter to all creatives, she suggested ideas and stories float in the cosmic universe. It’s up to those creatives whose antennas are free and clear to receive them. These stories want to be born and are looking for creatives to bring them to life. But it takes more than just writing them. It requires the energy and commitment to complete them. Though my colleague and I wrote the same story during the same time frame, her creative energy manifested it to life.
I’m fascinated with this creative cosmic force, that somehow our universal is filled with endless ideas, conspiracies, thoughts, fables, concepts, inspirations, and our minds are just antennas to receive these messages. Our pens and keyboards are mere instruments to produce and deliver stories to help us commune, connect, and hopefully help our human race advance and survive.
Another example – I ranted in my journal how humorous it was to my husband when I procrastinate to write. I’d be cleaning the house, and he’d ask me why I wasn’t writing. I’d tell him, “I am, I’m just brainstorming,” as I feverishly scrub the tub. I procrastinate by insisting that a particular ritual needs to occur – the right light, the mood, the right time of day, the right cup of tea. Writers are great at writing excuses.
Soon after this conversation, my fellow writer, Shea, sent me a TikTok video. Low and behold, she created a video detailing the same concept of a writer’s procrastination, down to getting the right pen AND cleaning chores. It was uncanny, serendipitous, and somewhat scary.
But wait, it gets better. Later that day, I was watching “The Simpsons.” Ironically, it was about how Lisa Simpson was trying to write a screenplay for Homer and Bart. I watched the animated version of Shea’s video, which was mocking my written words – all in the same day!
Perhaps my screenwriter colleague was more committed to the story than I was. Maybe we all have the same ideas, but it will always be our original voices that separate them. Regardless, creativity feels like it’s also a race, for whoever gets to the idea to the story finish line wins. Sure, there is a coincidence, but I’d like to think the universe is also showing support – that we are all in the same boat of procrastination and creativity.