I want a tinfoil cap. Seriously. It might be the only way to thwart the collective unconscious.
The collective unconscious theory is that all humans are kind of plugged into each other in the ether and so a number of people will have the same ideas at the same time completely independently of each other. Been there, done that, and it’s like a punch in the gut every time.
A few years ago, I had this really cutting edge idea that was dark and edgy. Too dark and edgy for what was being published then. I opted instead to work on some other projects and–you guessed it–while I was working on these other projects, other authors sold similar ideas.
This hurt and I even had an editor mention that other authors are doing something similar. I think I whimpered.
Compared to my next blow from the collective unconscious, this is small potatoes. You see, I had this awesome, cool beyond belief idea that no one had done yet! It was so incredibly unique that I emailed my writing buddies telling them about my brainstorm. Everyone agreed it was awesome and unique and had never been done.
Then a few months later, one of my writing buddies emailed me to let me know another author had sold a series with my totally cool idea.
To be completely, totally clear, there was no way either of us could have known the other’s idea so there was absolutely no chance of anything deliberate happening. It was just one of those collective unconscious things that occur to me too often.
This premise, BTW, is unique enough that if I try to do my idea now, everyone will say I copied her and I didn’t! This is where the fact that I have to work a full-time job and that I’m a slower writer really, really hurt me. In a different world, I could have sold this idea first. Instead, I’m left probably not writing it at all.
Someone please send me a tinfoil cap ASAP.