Copying vs Creating

Has this happened to you?

You come up with a great idea, start planning it out, start telling all your friends about it - just to find out it's been already been done.

It happens to me. A lot. 

For instance, I had a blog post about my morning routine. It was, "Three ways to win your morning." It involved push-ups, making your bed and writing down what you're grateful for/ your goals.

Sound familiar? Ever heard of Tim Ferris? He has a very successful post about five things he does to start his day. Those were three of them. 

I copied him without even knowing it.

I thought I was a genius. I legitimately thought I came up with an original idea. And I did - to an extent.

I'd read that post a long time ago and forgotten about it. In fact, I forgot that's where I got my routine from in the first place. 

My three things were a modified version of his in a different order. Different but not different enough. So I took it down.

It's all been done before

Almost everything has been done before. If you make a list of "7 Ways to Blog". There are probably thousands of other posts similar to it. 

So what do you do? How do you stand out and create new content?

How to avoid copying

Experience everything - I'm a firm believer that new ideas are created by a mixture of all our past experiences and future thoughts. The more you do and see, the more tools you have to create.

Research -  Once an idea hits and you think it's original, do a search. If you don't see anything popping up in google, then congrats! You've just created a new idea! (That's no small feat... seriously.)

Combine your experiences - I never went to college. I joined the military at 17 and have been on my own ever since. I've always wanted to write a short book about what I've learned living on my own. But that's already been done. What hasn't been done is a book for graduates about to enter the real world written by someone their age. By someone who actually understands what they really care about. So I wrote WELL DAMN: The Post College Guide to the Real World.

See where the new idea came from? I took a semi new thought, combined it with my unique perspective and created something completely different.

You're facing giants

Be original, try new stuff, who cares if you fail. The internet is full ideas and information - almost too much of it. You're not going to get to the top by just copying what someone else has done. You need to be fresh and different. Humans are addicted to new. 

That's it, thanks for reading!

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