Originality Does Not Exist, We Should Aim For This Instead
As I’m writing this, I’ve had a creative block for a few days. I typically write every day, and until recently, it has been pretty easy — much easier than I thought it would be.
My routine is currently completely broken by the fact that I am back home visiting family and friends. I’m jumping around from one group to the next and barely have any time to do my usual February routine. Here it is for reference:
Not having this routine completely destroys my creativity.
I try to come up with interesting and unique topics, but nothing comes up.
This morning I read some stories here on Medium to try to get inspired, and I realized that we all write about the same thing. Myself included.
I mean, it’s normal. There are not a million subjects to write about when you limit yourself to the topics of learning, productivity, self-improvement and life lessons.
But still, I feel like that’s one of the reasons I’m blocking currently. Nothing I write is original. Nothing you read is original.
The lessons we learn from what we read are all the same.
I would have loved to think that what I wrote in the past was original.
I kind of didn’t want to write yet another story because of that realization.
But during my workout this morning, I realized I was wrong.
Originality Comes From Authenticity
Currently, my top story on Medium is: 41 Things You Should Say “No” To To Become The Person You Want To Be In Life And Business.
One could certainly criticize it for not being original, since after all, most of the content is quotes from other people.
I questioned its originality myself.
In fact, I received my first real bad comment on that story 3 days ago:
“You are probably a decent guy, just have no significant ideas, nor command of proper grammar & sentence structure.” — Mark Tulk
He’s not half-wrong. I write my stories in 40–60 minutes. I briefly re-read them before hitting “publish”. They are full of errors. Thankfully Grammarly helps, but I’m bound to make mistakes when I write 750 words in 40 minutes.
On the “no significant ideas”, well it comes back to my questioning. Am I original?
I choose to think that I am “original”.
Here’s why the article above is “original”:
- With very few exceptions, I do say “no” to all the things on the list;
- The things I don’t say “no” to, I’m working on;
- Every subtitle comes with a short blurb on how I personally interpret the thing to say no to;
- I organized everything into categories I thought made sense to me;
- I chose the quotes that match the thing to say no to;
- I chose the headline and the image; and
- I wrote the introduction and conclusion.
Other people will say “no” to the same things, but outside of that, the story was quite original.
And I’m not being defensive here because someone wrote a bad comment. I had questioned it myself.
I analyzed some other stories I wrote and realized that my originality comes from my authenticity.
And it was the same for the other great people I follow here on Medium.
They write the same things, but throw in their personal stories and vulnerabilities. That makes them authentic.
Aim For Authenticity
A copy-pasted article with changed words is boring. An article with personal stories makes it interesting.
It’s not by accident that the top writers get to where they are now. It’s not by accident that the article I mention above did well. It was original. It was authentic.
And that applies to all the creative disciplines, and arguably anything really.
I make video games for a living. I steal good ideas from all great games. All the great ideas from Soul Reaper are borrowed from other titles that did it well.
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” — Pablo Picasso
But I combine everything in a way never done before. This “glue” between the different concepts come from my own ideas. As a whole, Soul Reaper is an original game.
I’m a viking-looking dude who builds games and apps, writes here, takes photos, and sells things online.
Who else is like that?
No one. And I like that. It makes my encounters more meaningful. It makes my stories more interesting. It makes my success greater.
It makes me authentic.
The next time you or someone else questions your originality, think about what it is that’s different that you bring to the table. Chances are your authenticity makes you “original”.
Capitalize on your authenticity.
Show the world who you are and it shall reward you with deeper relationships and increased success and happiness.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)
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