Career Development, Personal Development

When All Is Said and Done

With nothing left untried
There’s no hurry anymore
When all is said and done…

ABBA, When All Is Said and Done

Shakespeare by johopo  (flickr)

Tiffany Monhollon of Personal PR wrote a brilliant post recently that sparked an issue that has long lingered in the back of my mind.

“Here’s the thing: That guy over there already wrote the post you were thinking about. Someone applied for that job, registered that domain, reached out to that influencer, entered that contest, landed that client, invented that product, wrote that book.”

From a creative writer and blogger’s perspective, I can completely relate to her words. It’s an issue of self-doubt that I argue with myself every time I put up a new post; it’s a question that haunted me for weeks before launching the new website (and has admittedly left traces of it even now). And it’s the nagging thought in the back of my mind whenever I’m working on a new story. There’s that stubborn reminder that this blog post has already been written, this website has already been created.

And that book you want to write? Too late. It’s already been done.

In literature, some scholars have argued that Shakespeare came up with every plot contrivance imaginable and that there has been nothing original since. That’s a pretty bleak thought.

But is it true?

Perhaps on some level this argument has merit. Perhaps there truly are no original ideas in the world. But then again, there are still thousands of books being published and millions of blogs being created, and that has to count for something.

So the new question arises: If it has all been written already, what else is there to say? What value can you possibly add?

Websites for the purpose of a creative writing resource have been done before, dotting the http landscape and numbering in the millions. These blog posts about career and personal development have all been written and discussed and posted, and the stories that I write have already been told countless times over.

But not by me. And not by you.

And maybe that’s what matters.

I write and create because those are the passions that drive me. I want to be able to inspire other creative writers, so I set up a website where I can do just that. I’m still figuring out my twenty-something life, full of personal growth and career development — that’s why I write on this blog. And all the writing that I’ve been doing are stories I want to tell, clear visions in my mind, characters whispering their tales in my ear. I can’t ignore them. Nor do I ever want to.

Everything has already been done, yes, but everything is original, too. By putting yourself into that blog post or book, by adding your own thoughts, opinions, and experiences, you’re adding value. It’s not a race; it’s not a competition. Just because millions of other people are doing the same exact thing, it doesn’t mean you should stop.

Because what you’re doing matters. And doing what you love is what matters most.

14 thoughts on “When All Is Said and Done”

  1. Holding yourself back from trying new things because you might not be the first in line is ridiculous. Writing, especially, is for the writer as much as for the reader. Sure, I’ll be bummed if my next great idea turns out not to be so original. But that doesn’t mean I won’t gain something from going with it.

  2. I loved this post! I struggle with this a lot. I’m a web developer and in the online world, it seems like everything has been done sometimes. For blogging, I try to remind myself that my goal is to help students and recent grads transition to “real life” with the best preparation possible…and this can and should be done with the help of as many people/bloggers as possible. For web development, I try to focus on the fact that there are still plenty of people and businesses that need help and plenty of things that can be done just a little better. This post helped spark that mindset and passion in me again. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. This is a very inspirational post. Your writing has reminded me that I can’t focus on what everyone else has already done – but I should, instead, concentrate on only what I have yet to accomplish(and still want to do). So, while it is true that nothing is new under the sun, I can still take solace in the idea that my own ideas should still be shared and created. The point is to learn, grow and do it all over again everyday. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  4. Of course, there are also those who say that Shakespeare stole all his plotlines from old legends and other people’s stories. But rather than joining up with Ecclesiastes and say that there’s “nothing new under the sun”, we can point out that Shakespeare took those old stories, added his own unique voice, and turned out something that, while not completely “new” was certainly something that the common people hadn’t experienced before. That’s what I shoot for in my creative endeavors: Trying to find something that my audience may not have experienced prior to me presenting it to them.

  5. Thanks for taking this conversation deeper!

    Especially because – this is exactly what it’s all about. Sure, other people have had and share this revelation before – but what’s meaningful is for me and you to have that experience, share it within our community, make it our own, and see other people impacted by it!

    When you thik about it that way, it’s really empowering, actually.

  6. Great, just great. I couldn’t agree more.

    It’s something that i’ve even written about in my blog, in spanish of course.

    The world is just too divided. Not everyone reads everything.

    The value that we add is to the world, not to that post that Seth Godin wrote. It’s always new and insightful to someone.

    Great post, i’ll RT now 🙂

    Take care!

  7. I very much agree. It’s the original spin you put on things that really makes them original. A lot of people decry the remakes going on in Hollywood and on television right now, but I find them fascinating because they’re often very fascinating, especially some that are modernized or redone. I’ll admit that anything that says it’s a rethinking or reimagining of a Shakespeare work gets my instant attention, rightly or wrongly so, simply because I find it fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Pingback: Carlos Miceli
  9. Pingback: Tom Hadley
  10. I’m just glad to know more people feel this way, makes this whole “Life” thing a little bit less lonely.

    Also, pretty much everything that can be imagined has been imagined, but how many have actually been done? Been brought to life? Because you’re right that the idea of a website filled with creative writing resources has been thought of countless times. But how many times has it actually been done? More than that, how often does someone really stick with it for more than 6 months? A year? So great job to you for being in the minority that is taking that idea and turning it into reality.

    Great post!

  11. Anna: I agree that holding yourself back is ridiculous and detrimental, but truthfully, it happens, and it almost happened to me with the new site and with my own writing. When I look back on it, I have to ask myself what I was so scared of and threatened by, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully answer that. I’m glad that I’ve realized that Typescript, twentyorsomething, and my fiction writing is about passion and I want to spend my time pursuing those passions, no matter how unoriginal they may be. And that’s exactly the thing I, and I hope others, want to take away — a lesson that I’m still in the midst of understanding and learning — don’t stop doing what you’re doing just because others before you have done the same thing because you never know what you might gain.

    Great comment, Anna, thanks!

  12. Erin: I think you’re right, this situation seems like it’s stressed more, now that everything is online and people have instantaneous access to thousands of similar resources. The good thing about the internet, though, is that, like you say, you can use that to your advantage. By pooling your knowledge and your resources, you offer those you help that much more. I really think the key is that there are thousands of businesses and resources, but there’s only one you. Thanks, Erin!

    Raven: Thanks for your comment! I think if we compared ourselves to others and really believed that nothing we did was worthwhile or original, there would be a lot of lost experience, opinions, and thought, yet maybe that’s what it’s really all about — forming and sharing new opinions, experiences, ideas. “The point is to learn, grow and do it all over again everyday.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself! Thanks again.

    Jeff: Great point! You could even go back further and say that the Bible was the original everything, and every idea since has stemmed from there (though, maybe that’s stretching it a bit). I love your comment about Shakespeare — he generated his own spin, creating something new out of something that had already been told, and thus has since provided inspiration for hundreds of years. I think that’s what it’s all about — using your own experiences, your own voice, your own values and turning it into something maybe not new, but different. Maybe that’s where his genius lies. You have a great goal that I think could benefit every creative type. Thanks again!

  13. Tiffany: Thanks for providing the inspiration for this post. You’re exactly right — conversation, new thoughts, shared ideals and opinions are what matters, what makes the difference. It’s an amazing thing that you see all the time but don’t really realize, especially in the blogosphere. People are echoing sentiments, but adding their unique experiences and voices. What’s incredible is how every voice can now be heard, that no one needs to fear being unoriginal because it’s always something new, regardless. Thanks again for a great blog post on Personal PR.

    Carlos: Thanks for your comments and the retweet on Twitter! “The value that we add is to the world…It’s always new and insightful to someone.” I love this comment, so true!

  14. Tom: I’m one of those who say if the original was great, leave it alone (Karate Kid, anyone?) but only if they mean for the new one to replace the old, which is what I see as the intent in Hollywood. If things were meant as an adaptation, which it seems is how new ideas are really formed, I would readily embrace it. Back to Shakespeare: one of my favorite classes in college was a Shakespeare Adaptation class: we studied everything from books to movies to see how they used Shakespearean plays as their groundwork. The movie “O” and Jane Smiley’s “A Thousand Acres” have a special place in my heart now because of it. If you like well-written fiction with a lot of humor, check out “Fool” by Christopher Moore — it’s a brilliant re-imagining of King Lear from the point of view of the Fool. Let me know if you do, and thanks for your thoughts!

    Marie: I love how you bring up the idea of “how many have actually been done,” because this is so true. I pushed through my doubts for Typescript because it’s a passion. Occasionally, admittedly, there are thoughts that say “you weren’t the first” and “there are better resources out there,” but that’s what eggs me on, urging me to grow and change and pursue more. The only advice I can offer is if you want something, if you love it, go for it. It might be a small imprint in the great big world, but you’ll be leaving your mark and possibly pursuing a dream. Thanks so much for the comment, Marie.

    And thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences, thoughts, and ideas. This is exactly what it’s all about. Best to all of you!

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