When you want to say something, but it’s already been said before

You know your stuff. People often ask for your advice. You’re ready to show the world your expertise and authority on a subject, and build trust—the ‘EAT’ factor.

But you’re worried that what you want to say has already been said before. By someone else. Better.

But here’s the thing, someone needs to hear YOU say it—your way.

Someone needs to hear YOU say that thing

I’m sure you can recall a time where you’ve failed to grasp a concept or process. I recently looked up how to do something technical on my ecommerce store. I visited 5 websites and read the articles search results recommended until boom! I found the article that was pitched perfectly for me.

Others might argue that article #1 was the best of the batch. It was comprehensive and explained the steps. It even had diagrams and video. Whether it was the structure of the article, how it looked or the words used, it didn’t resonate with me.

That fifth article explained the process in a way that fit with how my brain works. It just… clicked.

So, while someone else might have said what you want to say, someone out there needs to hear it said your way.

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Comparisonitis and the fear of showing up

When I think about some of my loftier business goals, like writing a book, starting a podcast or creating a course to help people become better writers, a little voice niggles at me. It’s the voice that tells me why bother, it’s already been done before. Many times. And by people with more authority, more experience and a much bigger following than me.

Worrying about saying something someone else has said is a form of comparisonitis, especially if you think they’ve said it much better than you ever could.

It’s another block Resistance throws at us, trying to silence us and keep us in our lane.

If that niggling voice is coming from a place of fear, it’s time to flip that negative self-talk into something productive. We get to choose our lane.

Your unique spin

Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy wins girl back.

How many millions of times has this story been told? Yet romance continues to be the biggest selling genre.

It’s your unique spin on things that connects you and your work to your audience. Only you can say things the way you do.

If you don’t write that article or create that thing, you won’t get a chance to be the person someone stumbles across and sighs in relief when they realise you get them and the way their brain works.

Be that person.

Everything is a remix

Maybe you’re building a course or writing a book and you come across someone who has put together a course on the same topic you want to. And you feel deflated. “Why bother?” you think.

But let’s not stop creating because someone else has done it before. Maybe the way we build our course or write our books will resonate with a whole lot of people who need to hear us say it.

Innovation is about improving on what already exists. Your idea might not be 100% original, but you are.

Sure, everything might have been said before, but you haven’t said it. And everything is a remix.

Plagiarism—the line between original and copying

When you put your words and resources out into the world, there may come a time when someone unfairly accuses you of plagiarising their content.

It’s an ugly situation.

Perhaps they’ll wail publicly to their minions and encourage them to pile on you and call you out about it. Or their minions will come across your work and pile on anyway without encouragement from the person they blindly worship.

This has happened to me and some of my business besties.

When someone accuses you of blatantly copying their work, it’s horrifying. When it happened to me, I was shocked because it was unfounded. My accuser discounted my years of experience in the industry and didn’t know that I had produced similar resources for clients over the years. They didn’t ask. They just assumed.

I reconsidered putting my creations out into the world again.

Plagiarism IS ugly. Especially if someone blatantly steals your work.

And I get it. When your content is repeatedly plagiarised, I guess you would become jaded and cynical over even the faintest whiff of a copycat. Would you bother checking everyone’s credentials before labelling them a copycat? Would you blindly sweep up the innovators in the mix and unleash your minions on them?

We can’t let the thought of being accused of being a copycat hold us back from putting our words and resources out into the world.

There are people out there who need to hear from us in our own unique style.

How dare you withhold your information

It’s our duty to share our knowledge and experience with the people who need to learn it. We learnt it from someone, it’s time to pass on that favour.

As Todd Henry, one of my favourite podcasters says:

Cover bands don’t change the world. Don’t be a cover band. You need to find your unique voice if you want to thrive.

Whatever you have to say, put your unique spin on it and it will click with the right people who need to hear it said—your way.

    5 replies to "When you want to say something but it’s already been said before"

    • Anita Ojeda

      Thank you for the encouragement! It’s hard to put myself out there, but your words help. I found your post over at Create If Writing FB page :). I love stumbling across gems when I need them!

    • Naomi Lisa Shippen

      This makes a lot of sense, it’s not just the information itself that’s important, it’s how it’s delivered. Yes, everything is said and done before and the only thing we can offer is our own perspective. I think using specific examples from our own experience is how we make what we say original.

    • Phil Cobb

      A good reminder that we need to get into the arena and not stay on the sidelines.

    • Jessica Adams

      Oh my! What happened with the plagiarism accusation?

      • Sandra

        We sorted it out. The person who accused me jumped to conclusions. They didn’t take my background and experience into consideration and leapt straight to the copy cat conclusion. But once we talked it through, it was OK. It’s still a scarring experience, though.

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