As a writer, I found The Simpson’s The Book Job to be revealing and sympathic to writers.
In this episode, Lisa Simpson is horrified that Homer is putting together a group of people to write a book for profit. So she sets out to write her own book. She quickly finds out that starting or even coming up with an original idea, is very hard. I sympathize with Lisa on starting/finishing a peice of work. Writing is not easy. At the very least, not in todays world. TV and the Internet is a big distraction. It is very hard with all that is going on in this world. For me, it is only going to get worse (because I am running for public office). As is shown in this episode and Lisa, the Drama Queen, collaborative works seem the best way to go. You are able to keep others on track and vice versa. However I personally wouldn’t go down that road unless I can trust the other person(s) completely.
As for coming up with an original idea? If TV Tropes has taught us anything, there is no such thing as a completely original idea. Sometimes, two completely different people come up with the same idea, often independant of each other. I’ve been told by people that the idea behind my book is not completely original and I keep telling them that I honestly don’t care. I have never read said book and will not even look it up.
My advice for first time writers: Just write your story. Don’t worry about how much you are writing (that is what NaNoWriMo is for), if it is any good, or if your idea has been done before. I say pound out a story and then you can edit, add, or subtract from it later. Your first draft will be complete crap, trust me. There will also be grammar and spelling errors, even if you are a English Lit Major*. You will think (wrongly, I might add) that your crap is the best thing since slice bread. Even the best authors have to go through their work with an editor to clean it up. DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. If people tell you that you rip someone off and you honestly know you didn’t, then you have nothing to worry about. There is no way you can argue against it, so don’t even try.
Also don’t write “just because” of financial or artistic reasons. Do it for both reasons. You should be in it for wanting to tell a story and then get paid for your hard earn work. To exclude either would turn you into something you really shouldn’t be.
Writing is indeed hard. It can also be fun and rewarding. Don’t take it too seriously and try to be your own storyteller. And don’t get upset that it doesn’t sell, that’s life.
Well, see ya’ later!