One of the stranger things about having done this job for so long is that, sometimes, entirely accidentally, you repeat yourself. You have a thought that feels new to you and think, maybe that’s a story, I should write that. And then you google the topic and there you are, having written a version of the exact story you were planning to write some time earlier.
It is, I guess, understandable — you have to forgive yourself for thinking like yourself, if only because, what’s the alternative? — but it’s also a curious feeling when it happens, not least of all because, on the occasions it’s happened to me, I’ve genuinely had no recollection of writing the first piece at all.
Again, perhaps I shouldn’t feel bad about this; I generally write somewhere in the region of three to five stories a day, so it only stands to reason that I don’t have perfect recall of what I’ve written, especially when you think about the fact that I’ve been doing this for more than a decade. On the other hand, it’s just a little embarrassing to genuinely think I’m having a thought for the first time, only to discover I’ve traced this entire process down in detail previously, and then utterly forgotten about it.
(The Monkees start playing in my head: “Do I have to do this all over again…? Didn’t I do it right the first time…?”)
When such a thing happens, there’s no real recourse; you have to say goodbye to your new (old) idea and start over. Which explains why I’m here now, rewriting a post that I thought was brand new, but actually wrote a few months ago without realizing it. Secrets behind a writer’s life, revealed, fact fans…