by Charis Joy Jackson
“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality
will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two
pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become
original without ever having noticed it.”
- C.S. Lewis
I want to be original.
As an artist, I paint pictures with words and words are awesome. They invoke emotions and take us on wild adventures through time, space and alternate realities.
They remind us of what’s important.
Sometimes, though, those words seem traitorous. My magical fingers will weave a tale and lo and behold when I read back my masterpiece I discover something. It’s not original. The story’s already been told.
Once, I created this character who was sure to warm the readers’ hearts. He was a doctor, or in his world a “healer”. He was a small character, but still needed the perfect name, so I popped over to one of my favourite writing resources babynames.com and found one so perfect it actually meant “healer”. About a month later I picked up a book by one of my favourite authors and discovered he had used the same name!
Not just that, but the character was the same. EXACTLY.
I was crushed. If I ever got it published it’d look like I’d stolen the character.
After beating my head against the wall for a bit I came to another conclusion. I was growing as a writer. If I could come up with a great character, like my favourite author, then I’d come up with more. Yes. Success.
I also discovered the quote above.
Personally, I believe the fear of not being original lays at the foundation of writers block. Think about it. How many times have you opened a fresh document and instead of filling it with all the goodness waiting inside your head, you just stare at it?
Each of us are an original and so are our stories.
How about we take the lead from our good friend Clive and say, “I don’t care two pence how often it has been told before. I’m still gonna tell it!”
Now stop reading this. Go write.
Here's to a life lived in awe & wonder.
Welcome to the adventure.