Let’s face it – being original gets harder with every day that goes by. Everything has been done and then redone, is currently being done yet again, and after that’s over, we can be sure there’ll be some more redoing. That’s not so dreadful, or dreadful at all, actually. It’s simply part of the creative cycle of ideas that we take part in - I happen to be planning on redoing a few things myself. Originality isn’t necessarily creating something totally new out of nothing. It can be a different combination of elements; it can be using new or different influences; it can be a new interpretation of a preexisting story.
However, just because something is new or different doesn’t make it good. Ideas take time to develop and perfect; there’s no need to rush. Try the shiny thing out, see how it works. Maybe you’re on to something, but maybe you’re not. If you’re not, put it aside. Who knows? Maybe later it will turn into something else. That’s one of the best things about writing: the worst that can happen is the pages will get dusty lying on the shelf. (Although in my case the dust is metaphorical. I have a folder on my desktop labeled Frozen, where all my half-baked ideas are stored.)
Experimentation is wonderful; challenging yourself to try the somewhat unusual or the virtually impossible will improve your writing. The idea is not to make being original your top priority. In fact, I wouldn’t make it a conscious priority at all. It’s as bad as saying, “I must create something magnificent!” Focus on the creation now and save the adjectives for later. After all, there isn’t some literary or cinematic race – at least none that I know of. And while being the first to do something has cachet, it often happens that the last person not only does it better, but is also the better remembered.