An idea comes to you in the middle of the night; you drag yourself from the comfort of your bed and write it down before it fades away from your drowsy brain. The next day you sit down to review what you have written and wrinkle your brow in disappointment. This idea sounds familiar – hasn’t this already been done? Of course it has. Should you give up on it? Not necessarily.
It’s a safe bet that almost every concept a writer devises has been utilised or recycled at least once; with all the thousands of writers, and all the topics in the world, inevitably, your brilliant idea was already composed and presented in some capacity. The best way to make an idea unique is through your own writing style. Elements in your story will fluctuate with your own voice, transforming your narrative into its own unique existence. No one tells a story the exact same way; no one will have the same writing style as you, therefore an idea, even an old one, can be reinvented. Ideas are born out of existing notions, like a bough emerging from a tree trunk. Many ideas will branch off into their own life. Ideas come and go, but they have all been imagined by someone somewhere.
There are no original ideas, but there is an original approach to the story you want to tell. Find the foundation and climb onto your own branch.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.