Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. -C. S. Lewis
In an industry where creativity is the focal point of our art and our individual minds are the tool for which we weave fantastic stories, originality would seem to come to us naturally. That is a novel concept but it doesn’t always work out that way. We are heavily influenced by everything we come in contact with- from ourselves, to the people we interact with, books, and of course social media. As big as the world is, it’s rather small for us and places like Facebook make it even more clear how small the world can really be in our existence. With it being so small and us spending so many internet hours chatting away with the same people and essentially watching them and their shared habits, it becomes easy to be influenced by them. Before you know it, their ideas have become your own. And it’s all recycled because this is a small world after all.
I’m not saying that we are weak in our own character; that we have morphed into another being, but we have in fact allowed some of what we read to be ingrained in us. There is a place I’m going here, stay with me please. It was just recently when I shared that if we want to start our days positively, we need to make the effort to do it. Communicate positive to get positive back- because we are impacted by it. But what happens when you spend so much time around other creative types who are always talking about their creative efforts?
They share story concepts they are working on. They ask intriguing questions in groups that generate a buzz amongst other thinkers. Before you know it, you have a great idea that is not so original. I’ve seen it enough to know that when you have a really good idea, someone will love it enough and take it somewhere else. There are a few that say, I borrowed this from somewhere but there are plenty that change a few words and make it their own. This isn’t good etiquette and being the recipient of it, I’ll admit to a moment of pause and the urge to tilt my head and cut my eyes before realizing it was indeed a small thing and to let it go. But what about great works of art where money is being made off of it or even fame? I’m not talking about plagiarism here but having an idea and someone else using it to write their story?
Well. . .the truth is, I’ve read few works of written art that I can call original. Most of what I read is in fact some variation of another story or idea. How that writer told that story is what made it genius. It almost bothers me to think that my story would be like someone else’s though. And maybe this comes from being odd most of my life and not ever really fitting in, and enjoying that about myself. I don’t want to be like anyone else and I don’t want my story to be like anyone else’s. Should this matter? I guess not because readers eat up the original and the not original ones the same but those of us that have found that niche that says, this is my story and you can’t do anything with it but read it, well those are the people I look up to. Tell me how you did it, original writers? And readers, who are the writers that you call, original?