Organized Rambling: Am I Original?

Organized Rambling

A week late and a topic change.

Initially, for this blog post, I had committed to discussing what it’s like to be a recently turned 33-year-old, but aside from affectionately sharing that I’ve dubbed this year my “Jesus Year” (iykyk) and lamenting that some people believe I’m closer to 40 than I am (ouch), there isn’t much else to divulge.

As I keep reminding others, I’m only moderately entertaining and interesting, so I don’t think anyone needs or wants to read my long-winded waxings regarding aging. Suffice it to say, I’ve survived another year and have more artistic things to wax on and wax off about, so keep scrolling, Reader-san.

Earlier this year, I was posed with a query: Can anything truly be original in this day and age? AKA: Hasn’t it all been done before? For the sake of transparency, I’ll admit that I face this fear almost every time I work on my novel. I began writing this story in 2009 at age 19, and now I’m a seasoned tricenarian with a still incomplete book. I write, then stare at the copy and wonder if someone has said the same thing already, only better. Then, another question forms, and the lyrics to the Backstreet Boys’ song “Everybody” start looping through my head, namely: “Am I original?”

My cynical side agrees with my worry of originality, whispering there’s nothing new under the sun; it has all been done; stop trying. However, my romantically minded half ultimately believes in my individual uniqueness and that I, as well as everyone else, have something worthwhile to say, share, and create, no matter the format or genre.

But, it’s true: In a sense, everything has been done before; however, you haven’t applied your individuality to each and every creative pursuit, so naturally, whatever you create, as long as you don’t plagiarize, is something new under that big, bright, life-giving orb.

For example, one painter’s brush strokes are unlike any other; one singer-songwriter’s lyrics and voice are entirely their own; and the words or phrases I select as a writer come from deep within my heart. A stroke of color, a perfect melody, and a thoughtfully crafted sentence are all like fingerprints – no two are exactly alike – and that’s the feat of originality.

Applying this fingerprint concept to my novel, I know other magic-based stories exist and line shelves. I also know that tales of love and sacrifice can be readily found at any library or bookshop. Still, my creative work is as unique to me as my fingerprint whorls, and no one can tell my story the same way I would – that’s what makes my novel original; my voice, my style, my approach – in short, me. No pressure, right?

If you’re creating a work of art, designing an article of clothing, penning a new song, or further developing another project, rest assured that, undoubtedly, what you’re doing has been done before. However, it hasn’t been done by you, and that’s why you should carry on. You are the key to your work’s originality.

At a fresh 33, I have moments when I still question whether my voice and writing style are unique enough to stand out, but even that justifiable worry hasn’t stopped me from sharing my writing throughout my high school and college years and during my post-grad life.

So, can anything truly be original in this day and age? Yes. Hasn’t it all been done before? Yes again. Am I original? I like to think so. And maybe, since this is my Jesus Year, I’ll turn a rough draft into a complete and original novel, water into wine-style. Amen.

Coming up next:

Monday, July 10


One response to “Organized Rambling: Am I Original?”

  1. Dang, this is so relatable. I’ve been so…neutral?…in terms of confidence, as of late. Like, the reassuring voice in the back of my head is just like “Well, you’re not NOT fun to be around!” XD

    I take a very nihilistic approach when it comes to originality. If you look long and hard enough, you’ll find that every creative endeavor you’ve ever had was attempted by someone else before you, to some degree. But that shouldn’t slow you down!

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