At one point or another every creative person must feel that everything has been done before. Everything worth writing, worth painting, worth saying. That the essential is there, for everyone to understand, that we can’t possibly capture the essence of life without being copies of someone else.
This is a universal urge, in a way. We feel that we need to step outside certain boundaries, that we have to forget about the rules in order to innovate. We want to be original, to create something new. We want to create a big enough change in the world that’s going to last forever.
And it’s so because we want to be different. Which is okay. But it shouldn’t be a goal.
You want to set up a blog, and you ask yourself, “What makes me so different that people would like to read my stuff? Maybe everything I write has already been written by others. Then, what’s the purpose? Why waste precious time and energy doing what has already been done?”
I’ve spent more time thinking about original ideas, brilliant, one of a kind ideas for my stories than I’ve spent writing. At least in the first few years.
Then I realized that by doing this, you lose focus on what really matters. And it’s kind of stressful, actually. It’s like wanting to reach the destination, but you also want to skip the five hour long drive. You want the idea, but you don’t want to work for it.
This, in fact, is searching for a shortcut. If the idea is good enough, the way you present it won’t even matter. At least, that’s how most people think. Now, that’s really dangerous, because you lose sight of what’s important.
If you’re a writer, it’s important to write. And to read. And to write again. About anything, about everything, and every once in a while you should also have fun. The goal is to create something, anything, not something original. Or great. Or something that will sell.
By accident, and only by accident, you’ll create something original. But that shouldn’t be your goal.
It’s quite simple, and all you have to do, if you’re a writer, is to write something when you really don’t feel like it. All the way through you’ll feel as if everything you write will find its way to the Recycle Bin. Quite frankly, you can’t wait to use the delete button. Give it a day or two, then read what you wrote. A lot of crap, I’m sure. But there will also be something good there, even if only a few sentences that sound right.
Writing is not complicated or terrifying or anything. We just make it sound so, because we’re scared that it’s incredibly easy. You have to sit down and write. Your brain does the rest. Even when you’re tired, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when you’d much rather go fishing. Especially if you hate fishing.