I discovered this profound piece on Reddit through one of my favourite newsletters — Recommendo. If you’re not on the list, you’re missing out something fantastic.
While I believe you should read the post in its entirety, here’s the big picture:
The idea doesn’t matter nearly as much as the execution does. No one will have your taste, your mind, your unique perspective on the matter.
Don’t let the fact your idea has been done before stop you from continuing. People are always going to need some version of an escape from their lives. I’d say now more than ever for a lot of them.
I know you’ve heard a version of that before. I sure know I have. Heck, the fact that I show up every day regardless of how I feel is because one of my mentors told me a version of that! And he had heard a version of that from one of his former bosses.
The post below is yet another version that everyone should read, share, but most importantly act upon because that’s what this person did.
A mean, abusive older couple adopts a small boy. The boy discovers he has magical powers. He’s taken away to a magical land where he makes a best friend, owns a pet companion, and finds the existence of an evil man who poses a constant threat to all those around him. It’s the boys’ destiny to fight this wrong man.
Harry Potter? No, “Mio, my boy.” 1954.
A prince’s uncle kills his father with intent to seize the throne and marry/bed the father’s wife. The story revolves around the prince and his revenge.
The Lion King? No, “Hamlet.” 1601.
A group of juniors are forced to fight to the death by a nasty government.
The Hunger Games? No, “Battle Royale”. 1999.
A parent of two decides to sell drugs to support their family, becoming increasingly entangled with illegal activity as the series progresses.
Breaking Bad? No, “Weeds.” 2005.
And that’s just stories. Uber isn’t a brand new idea by any means, look at what they’re worth now. The idea doesn’t matter nearly as much as the execution does. No one will have your taste, your mind, your unique perspective on the matter. Do you know how many Vampire books and shows there are? All of them have differences, and all of them share ideas (“oh no, looks like another animal attack!”). People still eat that shit up!
Don’t let the fact your idea has been done before stop you from continuing. People are always going to need some version of an escape from their lives. I’d say now more than ever for a lot of them. I just finished a short story yesterday where a 19-year-old boy is a 91-year-old man with dementia. I don’t need to scour the Internet to know that’s been done before. But has it been done with my voice? No, not until yesterday anyway. Get back to that story you have waiting to be finished and get it done.https://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comments/jlbudy/read_this_if_youre_concerned_your_idea_has_been/
So, what’s your excuse? If your idea has been done before, what can you do to improvise? What can you do to add your unique spin to it?
Several years ago, while studying the craft of storytelling, I came across a secret — the best stories are the ones told from the storyteller’s perspective. That’s how all great stories are born. Regardless of the original version, yours will have a different flavour simply because you’re telling it.
There’s a reason why there are several versions of folktales and fables — the teller adds a new spin each time he shares it.
Likewise, you can make any idea your own, if you’re willing to put your heart and soul into it. Now, that requires a lot of doing, something most people don’t want to do maybe because they don’t see the point of working on an idea that’s already been done.
But here’s what we ignore — there might be a lot of ideas out there, but none of them would qualify as an “original.” And that’s okay because the best ideas aren’t original but ingenious. You know why? Because the idea owners cared enough to think creatively, be resourceful, and imaginative.
The question is — do you care enough to implement your idea?
Hat Tip: Claudia Dawson, Recomendo