Sometimes, in theatre, I’m scared to share my developing ideas with others because of the fear that someone might steal them from me. Not all the time–it’s not like life gripping fear. But it is a thought in the back of my head from time to time when I’m asked to share my ideas (plays) before the idea (play) has been completed. And in grad school, we are asked these questions on the daily. I usually comply. What the heck am I saying, I always comply and share my ideas because that’s what I’m supposed to do. Maybe you fear your ideas being stolen too? Maybe… Or maybe I’m just a paranoid playwright, who thinks wayyyyyy too highly of their own creativity. Or maybe, that fear is just a part of being a four on the enneagram.
What’s an enneagram you ask? It is “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” If you haven’t taken this test. I highly suggest it. It’s amazing and so informative. You can find a free test online here: https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/dotest.php
And below is a simplified graphic of the nine types created by Integrative Enneagram.
Fours are traditionally called THE ROMANTIC. And it couldn’t be more true. My playwriting teacher the other day was calling me out for my earnestness, I’m still not sure if it was a diss or a compliment… probably neither, knowing my professor. Fours are also usually self absorbed. But I bet you already caught on to that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
My husband, who is a graphic designer in the age of Pinterest and Etsy, has had his ideas stolen way more than me. Every time it happens he starts by laughing, then he gets pissed, and then he’s kind of sad, then he laughs some more and moves on. Having my own bouts with this, I honestly, don’t think straight imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I think imitation is the greatest from of laziness. Imitation is probably great as an educational tool, when you are starting out with something. Paula Vogel has quote out there who definitely disagrees with me. So I totally understand if you’d rather believe Mama Vogel than me. But my point is, in my romanticized fashion, I firmly believe that creativity is a product of the soul at work and that when artists share their work, their creativity, they are sharing a piece of their soul. So when someone takes my husband’s or my own ideas… I feel like they are appropriating my soul. #dramaticplaywright
In the book, “Steal Like an Artist,” by Austin Kleon, you’ll find this handy dandy graphic. It defines, “Good Theft vs. Bad Theft.”
Maybe I’m being salty… or too earnest, but it really irks me when I see a fellow artist practice, “Bad Theft.” And I vow to check myself on the matter from here on out. Let’s inspire each other, not steal each others souls. That’s just wrong, duuuudeee!