Some say that there are only eight stories, eight tales that repeat themselves throughout history and throughout cultures, changing slightly, but are essentially the same. Now I’m no expert on these things, I haven’t studied nearly enough History or Literature to give a valid judgement as to whether this is true, but the issue of originality is something that I think about constantly.
When I was younger it was my dream to be an author, and as I got older I considered going into film-making. But the one thing that always held me back (other than my habit of procrastinating EVERYTHING) was the fear that I wasn’t creating something original. If something I wrote in any way resembled something I knew existed in media I would abandon the project to the wolves. This meant that I have to yet to actually ever finish even a short story. I kept subconsciously drawing from other books I have read and films I have seen, and so considered myself a terrible creator, and threw in the towel. Now the speed at which I will give up on something deserves a blog-post of it’s own (and will probably get one at some point in the future) but that looming fear that I simply wasn’t an original writer meant I practically gave up writing altogether.
Over the past year or so I have considered what makes an idea original probably far too deeply. But the conclusion I’ve come to is that honestly? It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you should steal from other people! Respecting other writers and artists is very important! But if you spend all your time fretting over whether what you make is fresh and new you’ll never get anything done. I know it’s a cliché, but there’s a lot to be said for just making things that you enjoy making. If your short story ends up being just like every other sci-fi book you’ve ever read, or your short film accidentally turns out to be the plot of an Adventure Time episode, don’t sweat it. It is better to have something unoriginal created than having crated noting at all. And keep in mind that early human communities invented farming at around the same time, in separate unconnected parts of the globe. So we’ve always been subconsciously unoriginal.
Thanks for reading, now go forth and create!
See you soon,