When I think of what to write about in a blog which could (potentially, yet highly unlikely) reach millions of readers, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is that I want to write something ORIGINAL. After all, if I’m not original, why would you click on my page when there are countless other sites to visit? Besides, who wants to be UNoriginal?
But when I think about it… Originality—how realistic is that? I mean really? How do I put aside twenty-five years of preconceived notions, outside influences, the inner voice of friends and family and write something, ANYTHING, that is fundamentally different from what others have already written before me?
As I see it, I have three options. Now correct me if I’m wrong:
1. Write something so strange and outlandish that no one ever thought of it before. (That’s what original means, right? Unheard of!)
This is the writer’s equivalent of Guinness world records such as sitting in a tub with the most snakes or being the fastest in the world to eat a raw onion. Congratulations to everyone who did NOT win those records!
We’ve all read something like this, one of those posts that leaves you scratching your head, thinking, “What on earth did I just read and how can I get those five minutes back?”
Do you see what I mean? If I try too hard to be original, I could turn myself into a total idiot. Do you want to read a blog written by an idiot? Well do you? Wait, are you still there? Hmmm….
2. Try to “be myself” while subconsciously imitating the writings of those I admire.
The last few days I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and looking up a lot of recipes. I’m not dissing these dear ladies at all, but I began to notice that many of the recipes had a very similar style.
Almost every recipe seemed to make a joke about the cook sneaking a taste before the baking was done. Each author adopted a cute southern, “well bless your soul” attitude when they replied to posted comments or questions. They all shared how their recipe was special and you just had to try THIS – oh, biscuit for example – even if you don’t like biscuits in general.
Again, I’m not criticizing. The style they have chosen to write in is whimsical and entertaining. I enjoy reading it and enjoy the results of their recipes. Likely I will unconsciously even adopt a similar style at times. But I did begin to realize that probably someone like Paula Deen or Ree Drummond became popular with a certain personality and expression. Now othershave begun to share their own culinary giftings. Even if they are trying to be original, their writings have been colored by those they looked up to.
And thus it is with many fields. How many movies have you watched and said, “They totally took that from Star Wars!” Or, alternately,” They totally took that from Lord of the Rings!” (Because really, what other options are there? Those are the best movies ever!)
If those highly experienced writers and directors can’t truly be original, what chance do I have?
3. Go ahead and admit that originality is a hopeless case and just share life experiences – resowing the wisdom I’ve gleaned from others along the way.
“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.”
God is the only one who is capable of originality. He made everyone, so everyone’s thoughts and actions are affected by Him and the environment He created around them. Both Satan’s and man’s fall stemmed from wanting to be like God. We are just as uncreative as they were. But is being like God a bad thing? If we want to usurp His position then yes, definitely. But He is the highest and greatest being there is; what higher goal can we aspire to than to walk the path He blazed for us?
And what about imitating those who imitate Him? Sounds like a plan to me! After all, Paul said:
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Even if I didn’t want to imitate others, my mind is a natural mimic. If I read Jane Austin, I begin thinking and speaking very properly, with a slightly older style English. When I read Dr. Seuss, every other sentence turns to rhyme.
Through this train of thought I have changed my mind. I want to write a thoroughly unoriginal blog about my thoroughly original life. Because I am unique, created in the image of God, and I have a story to tell!