Authenticity Versus Originality

Authenticity Versus Originality by R.S. Mollison-Read

Both ‘authenticity’, and ‘originality’ have become buzzwords of late, particularly in relation to online content, and social media. I have thought a lot of about both of these words, since as an author, they’re both fairly important to my work.

Authenticity:
In my mind, being an authentic writer, means being true to my own writing ethos. For me, it also means being true to myself as a reader as well. The works that I have created, are what I wish to read, worlds I wish to explore, and characters I want to meet, (or be!) I’ve discussed this in greater detail in this post, but my larger point here, is that when I write what I think readers want, something about my writing rings false. It feels hollow and lifeless, because it is not authentic to me as a writer.

Originality:
The search for originality is fraught with peril, since it is incredibly difficult (and some might say impossible) to ever be truly original. As Stephen Fry has said: “An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.”

In truth, after much thought, I think the two terms, are not in opposition at all, but are intrinsically linked. By being as authentic as possible in our writing, we are creating original content, since truly the only thing that is original about us is our perspective. By telling our own truth, through our settings, our characters, and the situations into which we inject them, we can find originality. Originality then is the direct result of authenticity.

What do authenticity and originality mean to you? Tell me in the comments below!

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