May 8th, 2001

red panda eating bamboo

Thoughts for when you think your writing ideas sound too much like someone else's

All stories are in some way homages to / build out of parts of other stories.
There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet. -- Ambrose Bierce
Anything I write will have elements of what other people write, but it will also have elements of me.

A few years ago I took a week-long course in autobiographical writing. I did discover that I have a voice of my own. I also got this quote out of the course:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and (will) be lost....It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions....You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. --Martha Graham
I do have a problem with comparing my writing ability to that of great, accomplished writers (especially Neil Gaiman) and feeling inadequate. Well, duuh, I don't spend 1/100th of the amount of time practicing writing fiction and poetry that they do.

When I listen to music, I always hear influences of other musical artists / styles in a particular piece. That doesn't make the piece less worthwhile on its own.

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