Originality in writing – 200 words project

November 17, 2014

Here is this week’s 200 words project


‘Ancient philosophy never cared much for authorship or originality – all authors did their best to translate and explain the wisdom of the greats’

Ryan Holiday in his book The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph


So much of what we strive to be today, what is highly valued today is being original, being authentic. Everybody raves about that brand new thought, that brand new idea, that brand new start-up. Newness and authenticity seem to be the most sought after values.

So what does a person like me do? Not a original thought in my head. I do not know what an original thought looks and feels like.

After all, what I think, what I say, what I write, is in some form out there already. It’s out there in the works of ancient and modern authors, in religious and secular texts, in the particular culture I was born in, in the culture I was brought up in or am currently living in. In someone’s blog post , from what my friends or parents or family think and believe and say.

Should I be ashamed of this? Does the lack of originality make what I say absolutely useless?

What I do know is this – that what I write is processed. The words and thoughts which come out have traveled through my system, my brain pipes and have assimilated and emerged. But still, I feel insecure about my lack of originality.

This quote by Ryan Holiday gives me some hope. It boosts my ego by making me think that I may belong to this illustrious group of ancients who didn’t care about originality, who like me tried to assimilate and put forth in the best way they could.

True or not, deluding myself that I belong, comforts me and frees me to just think, just be and just write.


About the 200 Words Project

Once every week, on Monday morning, I will post my ‘200 Words Project’ post where I will ruminate on some idea which caught my interest in the current book I’m reading, or maybe (sometimes) from a blog post or podcast – in 200 words or more, never less!

Tags: 200-words-project

Suprada Urval's blog.