originality < authenticity
I recently bumped into W.H. Auden’s quote, “Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” It made me realize that most of my anxiety as a creator, and writer, stemmed from the need to be original.
I used to feel genuine fear every time I found out my idea already existed somewhere else. I felt like an impostor. Every time I shared my idea, I went through a mixed state of dread and anxiety knowing it could be perceived as a rip off.
The first time I joined writeblr, back in 2018, I bumped into various WIPs with the same concept I’m using for a novel I’ve been working on since 2017: Pacific Northwest Gothic // something lurking in the woods // haunted town. Ngl it made me feel like absolute shit. I was driving myself completely off the shits with one single thought, What’s the point of exerting myself on this WIP, if someone else is already writing it and I’m only going to be called a phony for producing it?
And this is where authenticity comes in.
None of my ideas are original. Someone out there is writing, or has written, your idea. But in a different way. Its your duty to produce a genuinely authentic final draft, that’s fresh and speaks of your creativity.
To be blunt, there’s only two type of creators: Courageous creators and Cowards.
Don’t let fear stop you from producing your work. Write your story. Stop asking for permission and know your story is worth telling. There is absolutely no way [insert x] is going to be an exact replica of [insert y]. Unless if you’re right out stealing. Don’t do that.
Stop trying to be original, it’s practically impossible in this age. Sit down and nurture your WIP and write the characters and worlds, that are 100% unique to you.