I can’t stress this enough.
People like to think that writing is a solitary thing. I agree, about 75 percent of the time, when I’m gonna write - I’m gonna write alone. I alone am gonna pour over every word and I alone am gonna get random ideas in the middle of the night where I have to get out of the warm sheets and covers and search for my writing notebook in the dark even though it should’ve been next to me the whole time and I alone am gonna have no idea what I wrote the night before but just the figuring out the thought will get me thinking about a new one…
But you gotta share your ideas. With a select few. The ones that are interested in story-telling - but the ones looking to be taken somewhere. The ones that ask your process and are inside your head are worthy. No one else.
One of my favorite people to discuss writing with is also one of my best friends. I met him in a screenwriting course and he was just this random guy that I had been partnered up with the first day to share ‘three ideas with’ in the workshop. Four years later, he’s read every draft of my first feature, one of two people I’ve shared my second feature with, and asked advice on every idea I’ve probably had morph into the next idea.
I’ve been there for him in return. I produced the first short film he directed and cowrote it with him. I’ve read every draft of his other short films. I’ve outlined two feature ideas with him. We’ve basically used each other as our own muses for years.
The other day I came across a single image on tumblr that reminded me of an idea for a film of his. I immediately texted him and saved this image to my computer. I went over to his house after work and I think he thought I was being crazy talking about this drawing I saw. He had stopped working on this idea; He had put it on the back burner; we haven’t utter the character’s names for months; and he originally pitched the idea to me two years ago at a Dodgers game…it felt long forgotten about until I saw this image. So for me to rush over this excited, he humored me…but the moment he saw it - he felt it.
We busted out our tape recorder/iphones and recorded ourselves talking about what the image meant. We suddenly were developing things we never saw before. We suddenly outlined half the movie in under an hour.
A few days later we had a writing session. I have two hours of recorder conversation to go through with ideas layered with ideas. We’re excited and we both know we’re on to something because we both feel it.
Having a great idea is like electric. You can feel it’s kinetic energy in the room. It’s a force you can’t control. You don’t know you have it until you have it. That’s all I can say about that.
But the bottom line is collaborate. Share ideas. Talk. When I need someone to listen, I know he’s there - and even if he doesn’t have anything to offer me - the fact that I’m just talking about the idea - is good for me and you never know when your crazy friend is gonna bring you an image that is gonna change your direction.