When thinking of the entire concept of originality, you reach the conclusion that everything is derivative of something. Heck even parts of the blog post could sound similar to someone else’s from years ago. I heard a line in a song once that really struck a chord with me (no pun intended), and it stated that “The only originality left honesty”. Yes that was from a metal song, and yes that song is fantastic. However, thinking about that line, it resonates that there really isn’t anything new. Maybe it’s becoming an adult that has given me a sort of new outlook on things. As I go through life; look at me sounding like I’m so experienced; I find that I’m meeting the same people over and over again. It’s a difficult concept to explain on paper, but it feels like wherever you go in life, people are generally the same. Sometimes though, once in a blue moon you meet someone that really surprises you.
I can’t say that I’ve met too many people that have utterly surprised me with their personality. However, there are a select few that felt absolutely refreshing to be around and to talk with. That is true originality in my opinion, and that is because they were genuine people. Originality really is honesty if you think about it. A genuine person, plot, or archetype will earn my focus and praise if it can show me why I should care. A lie has been sold a million times, the truth will always retain its value.
When thinking about your novel, drawing, or music that you have created. Don’t stop and think to yourself “Is this original?” because often times it’s not. Ask yourself if what you have created is genuine, if the answer is no, then the drawing board could use some attention. If you believe that your creation is of its purest form by your hand, then by all means you should be proud of it. People waste so much time trying to make something that has already been made a thousand times over. I’m sure we’ve all read books that are trying to replay the same scenarios and tropes that we’ve seen throughout the years. Look at Hollywood, it seems like the same movie comes out every year, only with different titles and characters.
When thinking on originality, in whatever creative capacity you choose; a good place to start isn’t doing what you think others want, but by doing something that YOU want to do. When I write, I don’t necessarily write for an audience as much as I write for myself. I like to ask myself whenever I create something; “Would I want to read this?”. If the answer is no, I go back to the drawing board. As a reader, listener, or receiver of whatever medium, you can tell when passion and love have been put into a project. On the opposite side of that, you can tell when none of that passion or love is present. I’ve put down quite a few books because I couldn’t see the honesty in the work.
Originality is dead, and I believe that the only way to be original is to be honest. When creating something, don’t do your audience a disservice. Be honest, and let your work show it!
Photo Credit: Michal Kvac