Original vs. authentic writing: what are the differences and similarities?


This is one of my favorite topics I’d liked to discuss with my students. With emerging IT technology, inevitably came a ‘cut and paste’ revolution and for many students just wanting to finish their essays and seminars looked as an easy way out.

But here we are not talking only about lower grades for lack of motivation or not doing the assignment the right way: it’s a trap that many carelessly fall into and something like that can easily become a habit. And once something like that becomes a habit, we simply forget to write and discuss ideas in our way, to use our own words and interpretation.

So one of the things that my students taught me is to respect any authentic and honest writing; a writing that comes from an independent thought process – no matter how many mistakes or “wrong views” it might hold. It’s authentic.

Now, too many people often simply terrorize themselves that for something to be valuable and worth reading/hearing has to be original. And the truth is, in our contemporary world where the exchange of information is at such high rate, is very difficult to produce that completely original idea, that doesn’t resemble anything else.

I remember when I was doing my masters degree project. It was a huge task, where I had to mathematically process over 1, 5 million data. It took almost a year to do it (it was 15 years ago so computers were much slower :)). And I also knew at that time that as a young scientist my chances to discover something new or make a remarkable scientific breakthrough (that many scientists before me already did) are very close to zero. And I did get results very similar to already existing. But I did it anyway. And you might wonder why? Well, it was my scientific journey, which means I did it my way. During that process I learnt a lot not only about physics, geology and mathematics, but also about myself and my own expectations. At the end, I gave my own interpretation of results and it was just tiny contribution to already vast worldly resources and databases on the topic. But this one was performed by me and that made it authentic and original in the same time. It’s been years now that I’m out of solar-terrestrial physics, but my work is still cited by many scientists.

And that’s what nowadays we need the most: more of a authenticity. Once you write something on any topic in your own words, the way you talk in your everyday life – it makes it authentic and original in the same time. So I encourage you, when ever you write, write from the heart; when you allow yourself just to be you, discarding any worry are you original, innovative, interesting, attractive enough – you become all of that. You are an original.


by Howard Nemerov

The cursive crawl, the squared-off characters

these by themselves delight, even without

a meaning, in a foreign language, in

Chinese, for instance, or when skaters curve

all day across the lake, scoring their white

records in ice. Being intelligible,

these winding ways with their audacities

and delicate hesitations, they become

miraculous, so intimately, out there

at the pen’s point or brush’s tip, do world

and spirit wed. The small bones of the wrist

balance against great skeletons of stars

exactly; the blind bat surveys his way

by echo alone. Still, the point of style

is character. The universe induces

a different tremor in every hand, from the

check-forger’s to that of the Emperor

Hui Tsung, who called his own calligraphy

the ‘Slender Gold.’ A nervous man

writes nervously of a nervous world, and so on.

Miraculous. It is as though the world

were a great writing. Having said so much,

let us allow there is more to the world

than writing: continental faults are not

bare convoluted fissures in the brain.

Not only must the skaters soon go home;

also the hard inscription of their skates

is scored across the open water, which long

remembers nothing, neither wind nor wake.

(source: poetryfoundation.org)

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8 thoughts on “Original vs. authentic writing: what are the differences and similarities?

  1. I so do agree, as we write/paint/color express in words what deepens in our heart, so we spark one little flame, weave one little frame into the tapestry of being. Don’t ever, ever give that up.


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