In reality, there is truth in the saying that there is nothing completely new under the sun.
Yet most things in life are relative to your perspective. In the light of this, I see 3 levels at which writers can shine the light of originality:
1. Genuinely Innovative Ideas
Firstly, there are writers who come up with genuinely innovative ideas. They have the ability to see how a subject is developing or may be at its cutting edge with their research and development work.
If we were to investigate deeply within ancient wisdom, we may find many principles to echo the work being done today, as has often proved to be the case in recent years.
However, few of us have the aptitude, access or inclination to delve into ancient texts, understand their message and draw out aspects to be re-presented with fresh relevance for a contemporary audience.
For those who do, or for those who are able to write on the cutting-edge of information that readers today are excited to know, the credit of ‘original work’ is rightfully theirs.
2. Original Voice
For the majority of people, the originality in their work comes primarily from accessing and expressing the unique integrity of their voice as writers.
Authors who are truly successful have the ability to write from a place of deep authenticity which gives them a distinctive voice that no one else can accurately match.
There may be plenty of imitators (and often are when a style is identified as being successful). Yet long-term success comes with true authenticity, and as long as the subject is right for the times, the originality of the writer’s voice will be one of the primary ingredients in the mix.
A few people have a natural gift and need little effort to develop it. Others have to work hard at the process of becoming who they are and being able to express that through words on the page.
Whichever category you fall into, know that there is a place inside you where this point of truth can be found if you are genuinely committed to doing so.
3. A New Twist
Thirdly, there are writers who bring a new and imaginative twist to a familiar subject. Naturally, the new twist must be strong enough in its own right to capture people’s imagination and find a niche in the marketplace.
In the early years of my publishing career, I published a number of books on complementary health subjects including aromatherapy.
These books ranged from introductions through to practical guides. One particular reference book, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless was first published in black and white, and subsequently in full colour with great success (I am delighted to say that this book is still in print and sells well to this day).
I then started to wonder if the market could handle any more books on the subject, and believing that it couldn’t, decided to halt commissioning in this area.
As time went by, I saw that books on aromatherapy were still being published by others who, with the maturing of the market, were finding new angles from which to approach the subject.
Books that looked at the effect of aromatherapy on our emotions, the specific healing properties of the oils, and how aromatherapy could be used around the house and workplace to enhance people’s moods continued to do well.
I realised that the new approach had as wide a market appeal as the primary subject and was sufficient to create an ‘original feel’ that publishers, booksellers and readers alike were drawn to.
So why not take this opportunity to review where you are in relation to originality with your ideas and your writer’s voice. Enjoy coming up with some exciting new angles to present your expertise and do share your views and experience on this topic as a comment in the boxes below.
Edited excerpt from The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication by Julia McCutchen.
© Julia McCutchen 2011. All Rights Reserved.
If you want to use this article in your ezine or on your website I’d be happy for you to do so as long as you use the complete article, including the copyright line, and include the following paragraph in its entirety:
Julia McCutchen is the founder & creative director of the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers (IACCW). A former managing director & publisher, Julia is an intuitive writer’s coach, mentor and professional publishing consultant. She has over 20 years’ experience of publishing and a track record that includes UK no 1 and international bestsellers. Julia is the author of The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication. Visit www.juliamccutchen.com for a range of FREE articles, audios and videos for writers, and download a FREE Special Report, Discover Your Authentic Voice – on the page and in the world at www.iaccw.com