Earlier this week, one of my friends shared something that all of us have felt at one time or another. (Or, you know, every week.)
“I’m feeling stuck over what to blog about, because it’s all been said before.”
You’ve felt it too, right?
Who am I to write about this?
Why should I write another article on this topic?
What could I possibly add to this discussion that hasn’t already been said?
In such a noisy online world, why should we add to the ruckus with our noise?
If you’ve ever felt this way, I kind of love that about you. Because I see it as a strength.
It shows you’re empathetic.
It shows you’re humble.
Aware that you’re not at the center of the universe.
Respectful of people’s time / eyeballs / eardrums.
And that feeling? The same one that’s holding you back? It shows you care about creating content that really means something.
And THAT, my friend, is precisely why you need to be creating it.
What causes it’s-all-been-said-before-itis?
In Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, she explains that many introverts feel reluctant to speak up in a group.
I’ve definitely felt it.
If I’m one-on-one or with a few people, I can hold my own conversation-wise. But put me in a big meeting or a huge party? Nope. Not super happy about it.
I’d rather not fight to get a word in edgewise unless that word is going to blow someone’s socks off. Until I’ve got something epic to add to the conversation, I usually just listen.
This is really common among introverts, so you’ve probably experienced that feeling too, if you’re one of us.
The internet is like that big meeting…except a zillion times bigger.
And full of more voices to compete with.
That makes it feel pretty overwhelming when it’s your turn to “speak.”
What can you possibly say to impress the people in this noisy room?
It’s ALL been said before
News flash: pretty much every blog post, novel, movie, play, song, recipe, or piece of clothing is a reimagination of something else.
West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet have the same plot.
Flares are back in style.
Hipsters stole their bushy beards from lumberjacks.
The Hunger Games is the same story (including the giant freaking TORTURE CLOCK) as the Japanese Battle Royale.
The ever-poetic Barenaked Ladies said it best, because it’s ALL been done before.
Let that sink in for a hot sec.
Understand that all creators are recycling old ideas.
And then let go of the pressure to create something totally novel.
Instead, make your challenge creating something in your own way.
Your voice is completely your own. Your thoughts, your spin, your insight is different from any person’s on the planet.
There will never be another YOU to think your thoughts. It’s cheesy, but it’s also true.
So whatever you create — if you let yourself be truly authentic — is going to reek of you.
And that makes it different enough to be worth sharing.
The thing everybody else is doing
Hearing that every idea is recycled is one thing, but seeing cold hard proof takes it to a whoooole ‘nother level of understanding.
So here’s some proof to stir into your pudding.
We’ve got four mega successful bloggers who are all talking about the same. exact. topic: brainstorming content ideas.
Marie Forleo – 1.5K shares
Copyblogger — 4K shares
Kim Garst — 5K shares
Entrepreneur — 2.5K shares
These articles prove one thing:
If everyone had the attitude of “it’s all been said before,” we would literally have no new content ever again.
The big wigs aren’t letting it’s-all-been-said-before-itis stop them. So neither should you.
The key to making recycled ideas feel like new
The thing that these articles have in common (besides their topic) is that they put their own spin on the topic.
Marie Forleo is super down-to-earth and adds quirky humor into her videos.
Copyblogger’s post is mainly words and explores the brainstorming process.
Kim Garst’s post is all about tools to source content and has lots of colorful images to break up the page.
The Entrepreneur article is a minute-by-minute game plan, giving you specific tasks to do during your 30-minute chunk.
Each author brought something new to the party.
They interpreted the topic a different way. They gave different advice and they used different mediums to communicate.
They’ve all got their own flavors.
I call this concept your Signature Blend. It’s your own, totally unique combination of tastes that blend together to make YOU.
Essence of [your name here], if you will.
If you’re not sure of your Signature Blend, download my free Audience + Brand Clarity Workbook.
It’s full of questions to help you distill what is so YOU about you.
Before I sit down to create, I get in the right headspace. I close my eyes and think about my Signature Blend.
I imagine how I want people to feel when they read my writing. What I want the piece to help them do. What essence I want to give off.
And after a few minutes of getting in “the zone,” I start writing.
This quick practice helps me take ideas that have been said many times before and make them my own. And it reminds me that I’ve got something different to give.
Marie Forleo has a saying that “the world needs that special gift that only you have.” It’s so true here.
No one can share something in the same way that you can.
No one else has your Signature Blend.
Overthinking will kill your creativity and stifle your uniqueness. Don’t let the fact that it’s all been said before dictate whether or not you share.
After all, your readers aren’t looking to everyone else. They’re looking to YOU.
And it would be a shame not to give them as much of you as you can.
Commenting Made Easy
— Have you ever felt like you have nothing new to add?
— How do you overcome those feelings and keep putting out fresh content?
— What tools, practices, or methods do you use to shake yourself out of your rut?
Satisfy your tweet tooth
When it’s all been said before…how can you make your blog different? [Tweet this!]
How Marie Forleo, Copyblogger + Entrepreneur mag took the same topic and made it their own. [Tweet this!]
Spoiler alert: it’s ALL been said before. Here’s how to create fresh content when you feel blocked. [Tweet this!]