Originality in the World Today by Olivia

Originality is one of the quintessential issues for writers all around the world. I sometimes find myself running to the closest notebook in a moment of what I think to be literary genius, only to realize three paragraphs in that the premise of my novel is far too similar to that novella that I read in English class earlier that week. More often than not, this very situation led me to retreat into the dreaded “waiting for ideas” phase of writing. I would often get discouraged by my own self-proclaimed unoriginality and find myself waiting for a spectacular event to spur creativity. Whether it be a radioactive spider bite or winning ticket inside of a chocolate bar, I spent months waiting for the moment where creativity would hit me while I was in the planning phase of my next novel. The hope was that an interesting and equally original idea would fall into my lap and thousands of words would pour from my fingertips into the next New York Time’s Best Seller.

While this idea might seem childish or idealistic, it wasn’t until a recent conversation with a fellow writer that drew me from my hopeful but idle state into a more realistic one. After hearing about my unsuccessful plight to a completely and totally original idea, she reminded me that no idea is truly original today, with the millions of books in existence. Even if you write a book about an evil-fighting vampire princess, she promised, there will be a book with similar plot, theme or characters in existence in some language somewhere. The premise of the conversation drew me out of my “waiting for ideas” phase and back into the far more opportunistic “brainstorming” phase as I prepare to write my second novel. Instead of waiting for a spectacular event to draw inspiration from, I’ve tried my best to spend each day drawing inspiration from my life and experiences. As I plan the lives of my characters, I have found myself inserting events or feelings that I have experienced over the last couple of weeks. I’m no longer waiting for my spectacular event to spark creativity. Because, in reality, merely existing is spectacular enough.


Posted on February 1, 2017, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Oooh, I love the last line!

  2. Oh, I definitely needed this. I’ve struggled so much with giving up on a piece of writing because it resembles another piece too closely. However, after reading your piece I’m going to rethink my process and have a little more faith in my reading. Thanks for sharing!

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