Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group: My Great Idea is Already Taken

Good grief I have at least four things I'm insecure about in my little writing world these days.

1.  I picked up an intriguing YA science fiction book not long ago and settled in for a happy read, when in the very first chapter my world fell apart. My Super Awesome Science Fiction Idea that is like the Big Thing in my story Star Tripped- yup! - it's already been thought of. And written about. And just released.  I'm finally over the sobbing stage. I'm hoping maybe my idea is different enough that this won't be a problem. Maybe. Very insecure about it, though. Way too insecure to mention which book just rattled my entire writing world.

2. My family is going camping this weekend up in the mountains. Which means no internet. Yay! And no electricity. Yay - wait! Wait! My laptop battery will only last 3 hours. And then what shall I write upon? It's been so long since I used pen and paper. Can I still do it? Yes, it's pathetic, but this insecurity is making me anxious.

3. I bought a new laptop with Windows 8 on it. Yay for new laptop! Boo for Windows 8! It's very disorienting, and thus, it makes me very insecure. When writing time is a precious commodity, the last thing I need is a weird uncomfortable computer experience. I know I should just buckle down and get used to Windows 8, just like I'm trying to make the transition from Microsoft Word to YWriter (free software, yay! Unfamiliar software, scary!) But writing pushes me out of my comfort zone enough; I don't need to have computer and software issues pushing the zone, too (the apps keep switching on me! The trackpad has developed a will of its own!).  So I think I'm going to exchange the laptop for one with Windows 7. Just so you know, Dell will sell brand new computers with Windows 7, you just have to call and specifically ask for it. (Ssssh, the salesperson admitted he didn't like Windows 8, either). (Or you can become an Apple person and avoid this issue entirely. Tempting. Apple users never seem as stressed as Windows users).

4. I had a sudden inexplicable urge to write a story about Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch), today.  I suppose because I haven't written anything about mythical creatures in a long time, and mythical creatures are my one of *things*, you know. Sasquatch and I have a long history going back to several traumatic and overly-imaginative childhood events (that's another blog post for someday), so this sudden urge is a little scary and mysterious and potentially insecurity-related.

Thank you, Alex Cavanaugh, our founder, and all the other members of Insecure Writer's Support Group. I feel better now that I have all this off my chest.  I think I will go light a few fireworks to celebrate!

Did I freak you out mentioning Bigfoot? Or Windows 8? Do share.

32 comments:

  1. Carole Anne CarrJuly 4, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Good luck with the pen and paper, wonderfully freeing after the computer.

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  2. First ((hug)). It will be alright. Second, there's nothing new under the sun, so keep writing and revising until your story is completely yours. You can do it!


    Third, I just got a new lappy with Windows 8 and I'm enjoying it. It was a brainbend for a few days, but the essentials are the same, and I'm on track now. Plus, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Office 2013 for a few tiny features (like "Pick up where you left off") that are rocking my world.


    Enjoy a few days with pen and paper. It'll give you some new perspective on your process, hopefully.

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  3. I hate it when I think of an awesome idea, only to discover it's already been done! Happens way too often. And I'm way too reliant on my laptop. I think a return to pen-and-paper would be good for me! Good luck with it :)

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  4. I hate when it looks like someone has already written my shiny new idea. Just remember that your characters are the reason people go on these journeys, not the plot. So make sure your characters are different, and the story will be different. Good luck!

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  5. I used to be so afraid of getting my "shiny new ideas" crushed when I realize those ideas aren't as shiny and new as I thought. But I think with a lot of outlining and crazy imagination, any idea can be different enough to stand on its own.

    Using pen and paper can be a huge relief! I try to journal at least once a week, and it's nice not having to get obsessed about copy editing or going back to change things (I can scratch things out if I must). Enjoy!

    ~Wendy Lu

    The Red Angel Blog

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  6. Ooh, I relate to #1. I had a whole cool plotline set in a fictitious Beijing (after visiting there in 2010) and then Meyer's Cinder was launched. Gah! But it turned out okay, because it pushed me to write Ruby's Fire, the sequel to Fireseed One, which I was dragging my heels on. Serendipity.

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  7. Mencara MitchellJuly 5, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    My first IWSG post was about finding out THAT NIGHT that the brilliant hook of my novel had been done by a TV show and was so identical in details that it made me look like a thief. Except I don't have television and had never seen the show.

    It sucks when you realize that your novel is not the special little snowflake you thought it was. I had to mourn for a little while. After that I changed a couple of minor things and decided to plow ahead. It was not the only thing that made my book special, but it still stung.

    Have fun camping and I hope you get a picture of Bigfoot (or at least get a story outline).

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  8. Hey Margo! Oh no! Don't you hate that?? It's happened to me a few times when I had a shiny new idea and found someone had already done it later. My first novel, matter of fact, that I worked two years on, I later found a whole series out almost identical. Heartbreaking. And it can happen anytime. Sometimes it feels impossible to have a fresh idea. But on the flip side, sometimes it's helpful to know there's already an audience for that type of story and they may want more.

    have a great web-free camping trip! :)

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  9. I love the idea of a few unplugged days!
    I get #1 a lot, not necessarily because it's the same idea, but I see books being published in record numbers in my genres and I'm still editing and querying! I feel so slow...
    Bigfoot sounds intriguing!

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  10. I'm not sure I could possibly write a list about everything I am insecure about. No one would read a post that long! I do think that we have to keep writing no matter what, because if we let ourselves think about everything too hard, we'll paralyze ourselves. I love that Alex came up with the idea of letting it all pour out so writers can support each other. It's fantastic! And Margo, you needn't be insecure about your writing, that's one thing you can scratch off the list. :) Oh, and by the way, I've made you the blogger of the week this week! Thanks for all the lovely posts you've written here on your blog.

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  11. I think we've all been there! But it is a truly devastating feeling when you find a released book that is similar to yours...but sometimes even though the premise is similar, the stories, the writing, the voice can be different. So keep on writing!

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  12. What value can hardly ignore it.

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  13. Thank you for posting this :) It made me feel better to know that I'm not the only one struggling

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  14. Akossiwa KetogloJuly 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Oh Margo I know something about someone having already written about your awesome book idea. But maybe you will end up writing yours differently? you won't know until you try it. *hugs*
    Enjoy your camping.


    PS: Window 8 sucks indeed.

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  15. That's why I finally got brave enough to start sharing my insecurities - hoping there would be others in the same boat! :)

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  16. That is my hope. I haven't given up on this particular story. If I need to, I may have to come up with another idea (never easy, it does take time!) but the characters definitely can't lose out on their chance to "live" just because I need to get a more original idea for them to work with!

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  17. Thank you! Thank you! Off to check it out right away! And so true about how we could end up paralyzing ourselves thinking too much about everything

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  18. I like your flip side! - that's just the encouragement I needed.

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  19. Seeing a lot of books in my genre right now too and feel like I'm going to miss the boat!

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  20. Thank goodness no Bigfoot sightings! I don't need a story outline that bad! :) And thanks for the encouragement - we have to focus on the other things that make our books special!

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  21. But we need more books set in China - now you've got me intrigued. I'd definitely look for more books with a similar premise/setting as Cinder

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  22. That's it, exactly! our initial ideas can always be pushed/outlined/reimagined into something better. I'm trying to look at this discovery as impetus to put a new twist on the idea!

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  23. so true - it's the characters that are the core of it all. Thank you!

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  24. Unfortunately we were so busy traipsing around the wilderness I never did get my pen and paper out!

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  25. Oh, I like that "pick up where you left off" option - about time they finally added that!

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  26. I never got around to writing anything - pen and paper were never used - but maybe now that I'm back I'll still try it because "wonderfully freeing" sounds good!

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  27. Good to see you Akoss! And glad you are in the "Windows 8 sucks" camp too!

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  28. happy, because
    Insecure Writers' Support Group: My Great Idea is Already Taken

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  29. Oh, Margo! I wrote about this exactly thing today! I also just heard about a shiny new MG book (part of a HUGE series) that is so close to my own story that I didn't know what to do. My great idea--already taken! Okay, so there were some differences (obviously), and it looks really good. But my question for you--did you finish reading the book? The book in question for me is currently sitting at my library, waiting for me to pick it up and I don't know what to do!

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  30. wow! your great idea is already taken! happy to you

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  31. hi. it's been a while. i like the updated name for your blog - delusions, that's good. i guess i'm sort of at high altitude. does 6000 feet count?

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  32. I've had that happen to me before, finding a story like one I've been working on. It is very crushing. I hope you can find a way to get yours a bit differnet though, because I really like the idea you have for yours.

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