We’ve seen it all before. *Yawn*On social media, it’s the same old images and captions and there are so many articles online that are basically saying the same thing again and again. Are you even a virtual assistant if you haven’t written a blog article for your website titled “10 online tools that I couldn’t be without.” Or a copywriter without an article about “Why you should hire a freelance copywriter.” What makes them different is who’s written them.
The more I write blog posts or these Write52 pieces, the more I’m aware of what I write, how I write it and where my ideas come from and sometimes I get a sense of déjà vu when I read back over my draft.
That feeling when I write something, a phrase or a few words that I’m pretty happy with, then I think to myself, hang on, this is really familiar, have I heard that somewhere before? Then it creeps in, the little seed of doubt.
I’m a fraud or I’m a thief.
Have I plucked these little words from my memory bank having read them somewhere before? Surely someone else, someone much cleverer than me, has written them perfectly well with their own fair hand and like an amnesic magpie I’ve swooped down and scooped them up. I’ve tucked them away, then forgotten all about them only to present them as new or as my own later on.
Does this doubt come from a lack of confidence or is it from necessary self-editing?
Am I being way too hard on myself and it’s actually okay to “borrow” ideas and be influenced by others?
Or is it that these words feel so familiar to me because honestly they’re mine and I was always meant to express them?
When my daughter was at primary school, she had a Magpie Book. This book was a place where she could jot down inspirations, words she heard that she liked the sound of, little phrases and borrowed ideas. I love this idea. It celebrates that inspiration and sources of creativity come from all around us. That it generates more ideas, something different, something new. These collected glittery scraps can be woven into something altogether different and possibly even more dazzling.
I’m a sponge, a subconscious hoarder of ideas, I’m no thief. (Except I did “borrow” the title of this post from a song lyric.) But I am my own Magpie Book.
Everything we do, everything we read, experience or see, shapes how we think and how we work. We can’t help it. We take those inspirations and consciously or subconsciously they affect what we do. The only way to get away from that would be to live in a void, and there’d be no creativity to celebrate there and no one to share it with. So fly free, magpies. Collect those sparkly snippets and intriguing ideas, tuck them away because you never know when they’ll be useful.
I was at a loss about what to write this week. This Write52 lark is getting tough. Time is feeling squeezed, ideas are running dry. I looked back over a few notes I’d made on this wordy déjà vu earlier in the year. I can’t remember what prompted them at the time. These few notes were just enough to start me on this week’s piece. So, what’s Write 52? If you want to find out more about the project, search ‘#Write52’ on Twitter or find me on Medium @susannewakefield