Lately, whenever I’m writing, I’ve been getting reminded of what the greatest challenge of creative work is: being creative. I’m sure all of us go through these wonderful phases (I’ve got through it several times myself). Even when it isn’t a not-very-productive-writing phase, though, the pressure exists–the pressure of having to write something that hasn’t been written before.
How do you write something ‘original’? After all these centuries, every possible story has probably already been told. Everything we read or watch already has an archetype.
Yet…did no one speak of death before Donne or Keats? Has no one spoken of it after?
Indeed, as Shelley says, perhaps we should focus not on creating something new, but rather anew. Approach the world with a fresh perspective. And…
Focus on how you can tell things your way–for, your collective experiences as a person are unique. This is must be what is translated into your writing voice, and ultimately, your writing.
So, in case you haven’t already been working on it:
- Find your unique poetic voice.
- Let yourself tell a tale your own way, speak a poem the way only you can.
- Create at least one little piece of the universe anew.
Finding your writing voice takes time and regular practice at writing; like playing an instrument. Show up at the desk every day, or at least every other day. Write something, anything. Certainly, you needn’t pump every sentence with excessive you-ness, but you can try to defamiliarize objects and scenes, work on fresh phrases and metaphors, rework clichés to suit your style. It’s laborious, perhaps, but what worthwhile endeavour isn’t? Hone your powers as a writer:
“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.”