Bloggers are people that decide to share their thoughts with the world through writing, but like in all things, some are more talented than others. Mark Twain once said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” I don’t believe this, but if this is true, then writers need to be creative with recycled ideas and present them in ways that are interesting. I try to be unique by writing things that make my stories stand out and I hope that my readers will be able to find some personal meaning in them. The philosopher John Locke stated that “all of our knowledge and ideas arise from experience”, so in order to be a good writer, you have to get a life.
Locke popularized the notion of “tabula rasa” which is Latin for blank slate and that the human mind receives knowledge and is formed because of experience alone, as infants are born without any pre-existing innate ideas that would serve them as a starting point. Aristotle originated this idea saying, “The mind is in a sense potentially whatever is thinkable though actually it is nothing until it has thought. What it thinks must be in it just as characters may be said to be on a writing tablet on which, as yet nothing stands written: this is exactly what happens with the mind.” Aristotle’s ideas went against what Plato thought to be true about the human mind and the soul existing before a person was born, so his ideas went unnoticed for years.
Let’s say that all people start out the same and we all have access to the same information, so it is our environment and genetics that make us unique from each other. Creative use of language is a cognitive skill, necessarily rooted in the physical structures of the brain. Given the extent to which our brains are hardwired for language, and the need that a writer has for storytelling, genetics must play a part, but not every writer will become Shakespeare. Whether writing is genetic, environmental, or both, writers need to create their own style to set them apart from others and give them their own voice. Writing is as much about what you say, as it is about the way that you say it.
Written for Blogging Insights New Format #33 by Dr. Tanya where she asks us what we think about today’s quote by Matt Wolfe which is “There’s a lot of information out there for free, so you’ve got to figure out what makes your information different.”