Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Originality Is All the Authority You Need

Let’s say you know what your inspiration is but are afraid to move forward.  Perhaps you want to write but are afraid that you will not be particularly original.  Or you want to open a business but feel that there are too many other similar businesses like your idea.

Well, there’s hope for you yet!

I’ve taken this selection from the book ‘What They Don’t Teach You at Film School’ and adapted it slightly to make this point.  I just replaced the words film with create or whatever, because the principles she talks about here apply to any creative endeavor.  The point she makes is also why it is more important to do your idea than to worry about someone stealing it.  Because even if they do steal your idea no one will ever do it like you will.  I know too many people who waste an incredible amount of time and resources trying to stop someone from stealing their idea when they need to put those resources into making their idea a reality.

 Ok here goes…


Everyone fears the impostor.  Actually, everyone fears being the impostor.  

To this grand and sweeping fear, we have one sweeping answer: because no one has ever tried to create as you!

Your work may not be ‘better’ than that of others before you, but it can be unique.  Originality is a virtue. No one has written a story about your grandmother’s birthday.  No one has thought or felt what you did as you were going to sleep last night.  No one has written a poem of exactly what it felt like when you fell in love for the first time.  No one will unless you do.

The question of ‘voice,” along with that of ‘vision,’ is clouded with unnecessary smoke and mirrors.  Both are just other names for something everyone has by birthright: an original perspective.  The genetic package you were born with is yours alone.  Add the variables and textures brought by your life experiences, and you have both a voice and a vision unlike anyone else’s.

The things you notice, as well as the things you take for granted, are the result of your unique perspective.  When you create, what you leave out is as important as what you put in … and is inevitably different than the choices someone else would make.

Don’t worry about authority.  If you need to say something, it needs to be said.  Has it been said before?  Done before?  Made before?  Probably.  But not in the specific way in which you understand it and need to say it.  “Love is blind,”  “All that glitters isn’t gold,” “History repeats itself” – all of these things have been said.  But maybe not by you, and not by the people you need to reach.

You might not know offhand what your voice sounds like or what it wants to say.  That’s what creating is for.  You’ll find out what you know, and how you sound, not by guessing, but by doing.  You’ll sound strange at first.  You may not think you sound like yourself.  Keep going.  Your inner voice will start to sound like your creative voice, and your creative voice will start sounding like you.

No one can ever be as good at being you as you are, naturally.  You aren’t an impostor when you play yourself.  Creating original work is hard.  Which makes the fact that you are totally different than anyone who ever lived rather astonishing.  Take advantage of it.

Adapted from the book: ‘What They Don’t Teach You at Film School’ by Camille Landau and Tiare White