I have a fear of repeating myself in my writing



The Context

Emerson once said that because the soul is progressive, it never quite repeats itself, but in every act attempts the production of a new and fairer whole. Just do the math. Whoever you were when you first made the art that you’re now terrified of repeating, that version of you doesn’t exist anymore. You need to honor what you created in the past to the extent that it brought you here, and then let go of the rest. Third, even if your new project feels similar to something you’ve done before, press on with the work anyway. Because if you trust the process, eventually, you’ll create your way out of redundancy.

The Tool

two color


REDUNDANSEE — Telling yourself a more productive story about your originality

Here are some of the latest stories you can learn to tell yourself to overcome that false believe and press on with creating. Perhaps they will be useful to you your creative life. First of all, artistic redundancy is a mathematical impossibility. Coltrane’s band was famous for playing the same songs in the second set as they played in the first one, just to see if they could find something they didn’t find earlier in the evening. And they always did. They never stepped in the same musical river twice. Whatever fears of repeating themselves they had, evaporated by the end of the night. Secondly, if you’re truly creating from your soul, then you can’t repeat yourself, even if you tried. The fear of repeating your own work is a hard creative barrier to overcome, but if you tell yourself the right story, there’s no reason you can’t be special too

Doubting that you'll ever write or paint or dance again? Grab that nearby joint and take a few puffs. Smoke your own shit. How can you use your past to generate a burst of hope and momentum major roadblock in my creative process is the fear of repeating myself. Particularly as a songwriter. I’ll be playing around in my studio with a guitar, some melody ideas and a sheet of lyrics, and the irrational thought that runs through my brain will sound something like this. Hang on, don’t even think about playing those two chords together. It’s already been done. You’re just going to write the same song you did two albums ago, proving to yourself and the world that you’re finally out of new ideas and you’re no longer original or special as an artist. You’re just a cover band for yourself. This false story has stunted my creative motivation for a long time. Potentially great songs either never got off the ground, or took longer than they should have to complete, simply because I was afraid of repeating myself. It also just makes the process less joyful, which sucks. But this is not a new problem. It’s a flaw that I’ve been aware of for a while now. And restoring the balance that’s torn asunder by my hyper individualistically oriented personality has been a work in progress.

The Rest

Many original songs started out as pseudo covers of previous tunes, but by the time the song was finished, performed a hundred times in public and ultimately put down on wax in the studio, it had taken on a unique life of its own. Making it unrecognizable in its final form, when compared to the original source of inspiration. All redundancies had had come out in the wash. If this fear connects with you, you’re not alone. What irrational belief is standing in the way of your authentic expression?

The Benefits

Get new work off the ground quickly
Find more joy in the creative process
Generate output that has an authentic voice
Overcome irrational beliefs about your originality

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