I had a breakthrough today. I was working on chapter THREE (yippee!) when negative thoughts started to block my creative flow. I had written a few lines that reminded me of other books I've read. I quickly re-read my entire draft and saw elements of lots of stories I've read, seen, heard. Star Wars here, Hunger Games there, and on and on. I started to feel disappointed, frustrated, to give up.
But then another thought came...a thought about story. It went something like this...
Of course elements of other stories are showing up in my writing. These other stories are a part of me. They've been poured into me over the years, and now they're starting to come out. To not allow them to surface, to block them, would be tantamount to treason. Blocking them from coming out would be the same as betraying myself. Because, as each story element comes forth, it is no longer just a regurgitation of something I have read before. It is also a part of me, mixed with my own experiences, beliefs, hopes, dreams. And since it has me in it, it is a new, original piece of my story. One that I can legitimately call my own with no shame or fear.
I need not fear the old being reused and recycled because, after all, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
This transformation - taking something negative that would knock me off course and turning it into something positive, something useful that will move me further along toward my purpose - feels really good. Like I'm maturing as an artist somehow (Artist's Way, anyone?). I'm thankful for it.