current music: “All I Want Is You” by U2
current mood: pensive (Bono does that)
Creative jealousy is a work-killer. A dream-killer. A soul-killer. The envy that someone else managed to pull off the kind of art you’ve always dreamed of pulling off is the derivative of three things:
1) a false understanding of originality, especially as the idea is applied to writing
2) a leak in your own creative confidence
3) a real selfishness
You can just like something.
Or love it.
You don’t have to make creative clones of your favorite work. You don’t have to fret that someone already “did that.” You don’t have to prove your fandom by producing knockoffs. You can just love something.
Likewise, you don’t have to remake your entire world of elves and dragons just because Tolkien already invented it. You don’t have to move your tent into unstaked territory just because there are others who have already succeeded in doing what you’re attempting. You can have creative peers. Creative lookalikes.
It has to be satisfying enough to quietly, breathlessly love something. A book. It has to be enough to love parts of it. To love all of it. To let it change your life, or just provide a laugh, or make you sneer. You don’t have to be overwhelmed by everything you read to the point that you can’t work without a shadow curling over you.
A post on originality and writing, and why we worry when we shouldn’t, tomorrow.