What’s the point of writing that thing?
Do you ever get that feeling?
You’ll have half an idea about something you want to write about but a quick search tells you the subject has been covered before and those who covered it did a good job. So you decide: what’s the point? Why bother going over old ground? I’ll leave it.
You shouldn’t leave it, though. There is a point. It’s a good point as well. Because while something might have been said, it’s never been said by you.
Almost everything’s been done before. There are very few original ideas.
The person who covered a topic before you probably got their ideas from people who covered it before them. But they went ahead and talked about it anyway, in their way, with their thoughts. The same idea, but a different take. Maybe not even a different take, but with different style, feel and language that their audience is into.
That’s just what great artists do, isn’t it – take ideas and mould them into something of their own (“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.,” as Stravinsky or Picasso or Steve Jobs once said)?
The Lion King is a different (kid-friendly) take on Hamlet
West Side Story is a different take on Romeo and Juliet
James Joyce’s Ulysses is a different take on Homer’s Odyssey
Young Frankenstein is a different take on Frankenstein
Star Wars: A New Hope is a different take on a Japanese movie called The Hidden Fortress
The Office is a different take on The Office
This list is a different take on a much longer Wikipedia list
(Every newer take on that list is successful and respected in its own right, except maybe the last one.)
The subject of every post I’ve ever written (including this one) has been covered before in one way or another.
Write like you talk? Age-old advice.
How long should a blog post be? 3,680,000,000 search results for that.
101 things I’ve learned being a freelance writer? Ten a penny.
Yet people read them anyway. Some enjoyed them. Some even learned something new.
Because you’ve seen it done before doesn’t mean your audience has. And even if they have, your take can be something brand new.
Say the thing, write the words. Use an idea—use multiple ideas—as inspiration to create something different, better. Someone somewhere is waiting to see it.