Nerds lead pretty exhausting lives:
Oh, what’s that? There’s a seventh book to the series I’ve been reading? Better run out and get it. Wait, there’s a movie visually interpreting the other six books? I need to see that! But before I do, I need to buy this lemon squeezer because it has been printed with the image of this beloved series. Except, did I see that my favorite actor playing the starring role in the movie about the books is going to be on all of the morning talk shows today? Don’t mind if I do…
And so on. And of course, nerdy interests always multiply. Once one picks up one book, movie, or television show, there are four others waiting in the wings, or the queue, or in an Amazon shopping cart. They say the coward dies 1,000 deaths. For nerds, we live 1,000 lives in the worlds of other people’s imagination.
I mean, think about it. J.K. Rowling was scribbling on a napkin her ideas for Harry Potter, and now there are wedding napkins made with the color schemes of the four houses she created in her books. We nerds live in several worlds at any single time. It’s actually a wonder that we’re able to pay enough attention to this one.
But I’ve learned something trying to write my own novel, my own world. You have to decide to stop living in other people’s imagination before you can listen to your own. Of course, there will always be bits and pieces in your writing that come from somewhere else. Characters that smack of an archetype, prototype, or another character altogether. After all, good writing means good thievery.
But you can’t go on living in other people’s worlds forever. You can tell yourself that there are enough fantasy/sci-fi books out there. What’s one more, what’s yours? Just to add to the overcrowded bookshelf? I’ll just read all of the books in that genre, you think, I’ll see what they are doing and model my work after them…when I get around to writing my work, that is.
But you can’t rob the world of your vision. We need more Captain Jack Sparrows, Hans Solos, and even Moriartys. We need whatever you are writing about. We need your book. So, stop inhaling the worlds around you and start breathing life into your own. Get writing.