When I first started putting my hypergraphia to sensible use, it came with a load of prejudices in the trunk. I thought being a writer meant you had to think purple, that you had to have read everything worthwhile out there and were supposed to live in a house built out of your own books and plastered with originality awards.
I actually believed that you had to have a foot in some secret parallel universe, where unique ideas were just waiting to bite your toe, slide under your skin like an Afrikan parasite and spurt out of your forehead in the shape of a Pulizer. But the more I dug into the fertile planes of the internet, where fresh new seedlings grow out of the dung every minute, I realized being a writer wasn’t about patenting ideas.
The world has seen it all. Agents have seen it all. Publisher, readers, reviewers, hell, even your grandma has seen it all. No one’s come up with a unique idea in ages. But it’s not about never-before-seen plots. Writing isn’t about stories no one’s ever heard before. The only unique thing you—and only you—can come up with, is you.
If you want to give the best you’ve got and be proud of the result, you have to put yourself out there. Your view of the world, your experiences, the way in which you see a sunrise and experience pain, all of these things are particular to you. The characters you come up with, their struggles and wishes, are all absolutely unique to you, because they carry the weight of your entire life in one shape or another. Explore them to their fullest. Learn the craft of writing in a way that’s suited to you.
Don’t burn your synapses trying to come up with a plot the world has never seen before. Don’t try to be something you’re not, you’ll never do a better job than at being yourself. Besides, you’ll go absolutely donkey-doodle if you constantly squeeze your buns trying to squirt out a diamond. Create characters that live out your experiences, that confront your demons and achieve your goals. Create worlds that give shape to your dreams and nightmares, and make them reachable to your readers.
If you don’t have the balls just yet, grow them! Grow a Viking beard while you’re at it, and sleep with a mallet under your pillow. Or sacrifice a goat, I don’t care. Whatever makes you strong, just go ahead and do it. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission, for crying out loud. No one’s the boss of you. Get your ass out there and be proud of yourself!
Disclaimer: No goats or donkeys were harmed in the process of writing this post. Except for the squirrel. What? ‘Da hell I know, it just jumped in front of the car!
This blog post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, April 2012