Ever get into this writing headspace?
I can’t do that, nope, that’s been done before….that’s been done before…and that’s been done before… andddd I’m going to watch Youtube videos I didn’t even want to watch, recommended to me so kindly by algorithms.
When I was younger I was slightly obsessed with originality. If someone copied something it was terrible and I would hate them until I realised originality doesn’t exist; comedian, writer, musician etc. Plagiarising is a different thing altogether, but I still get the originality yips (I believe that is the first golfing terminology used on this blog in three years).
Yips are when you go to perform an action, but there’s a mental block that prevents it occurring in the way intended. Writing can sometimes be like that for me. I’ll think of a story and if there is nothing unique about it I bin it – well – more save it and never look at it again. Sometimes I write a story and detest it, the yips creeping in half way through, as some stupid voice tells me it’s boring, it’s unoriginal and no one will read it and be amazed. Quite probably true, but the originality hangup is a hindrance every day of the year. The most irritating thing is it’s like perfectionism: neither can be acheived.
It’s natural to get the writing yips from time to time. I try to forget about them, try to remember that nothing is truly original and we are all building from the same universal sand pit with the same tools available, only our minds separating us from each other for the most part. While nothing is original, creative writing feels about as close as it gets.
So if you get the yips, write the most clichéd, bullshit, unoriginal, rip-off, bootleg story that comes to mind, deliberately try to take off your favourite writers and storytellers and see what happens. The yips go away. Just don’t publish it!