hi, this is sort of a general question.  i've been writing music as a hobby on and off for about 10 years or so and even a tiny bit when i was a child.  i even took some formal courses on composition and music theory back in university.  i mainly use a combination of a midi keyboard, a hardware synth and some software synths (most notably reason) in my work.  even after all the mucking around i've done, i'm still a rank amateur (i say this because although i consider myself competent [i secretly pat myself on the back too easily], i have too much respect for those who have so much more talent and obviously more experience than i do).  (sorry about all the rambling, just wanted to give some background, i'll get to my point soon).

it's strange though that only now (in the last 6 months or so) do i seem to be taking this 'seriously', trying to hammer out well formed melodies, actually (try to) meticulously use what i learned about structure, harmonisation, rhythm, counterpoint, etc. rather than just solely 'winging it'  and filling any lack of musical variety with good balancing, fx, filter sweeps, synthy chords and reverby adornments.

ok, so recently i've been earnestly trying to write a few 4-part harmonies, some pieces with counterpoint and also some jazz improvisation over some chord progressions and accompaniment i've sequenced.  here's my problem: everything i come up with and seem to like sound like i've heard it before (but i can never pin it down) and i constantly can't resist the urge to make substitutions in parts of my melodies so that i'm not copying what obviously 'has to have been written by someone' even if it pulls it away from what i intended (and even when i do make numerous substitutions/changes i still get this feeling) .

this is driving me nuts.  i think the reason i'm more concerned about this now than in the past (this sort of thing rarely ever bothered me that much) is that i'm trying to pull together enough of my pieces to want to polish and master them and release my music commercially, probably online somewhere to start.  (i don't think i'm really that good and i know i'm an utter novice compared to so many composers/arrangers out there) but i want to take that first step/plunge so i can get on with getting better.

anyways, this paranoia of accidently plagiarising someone else's work is effecting my  creative flow like it never has before and it's making me feel like almost every melodic idea i pursue is just 'too obvious'.  is this a common experience for novices?  how do you get over it?

i guess what i'm really looking for here is any thoughts or opinions from those of you more experienced in these matters and hopefully some kind words telling me that this is normal, or hey, be honest and tell me if it's not.

thanks in advance.
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