Creativity and Piracy – Silent Bedfellows
I love watching shows like VH1?s â€œBehind the Musicâ€ and reading about how bands developed their original sound. Usually itâ€™s nothing more than a band member being exposed to a certain type of music at an early age. Other times itâ€™s an event, like being at a concert and something striking a chord. (Wow. Awful pun.) It turns out that what influences a band is incredibly important to the sound they develop on their own.
Mastersâ€ that create amazing work almost always quote their inspirations. Other writers, musicians, pieces of artâ€¦ something is always inspiring their output.
The Web has created a massive platform for finding inspiration. There is no shortage of creativity that can be gleaned from different online sources. In fact, if youâ€™re going to create amazing things, learning how to plunder inspiration and ideas is going to be an important part of growth.
Learning the Art of Plunder
I would be a lousy writer without the Web. Clarification: Iâ€™m still not very good. But Iâ€™d be much worse. Thank your lucky stars Iâ€™ve had inspiration from a cadre of better wordsmiths.
In fact, I openly plunder other writerâ€™s works all the time. The best part of the Internet is that stealing is encouraged, provided thereâ€™s attribution. Blogs arenâ€™t a static medium and perfect for conversation and responses. Hereâ€™s a few recent articles Iâ€™ve stolen ideas from:
- an article on TechCrunch about the rise of content farms
- a friend pointed me to the story of the infamous â€œBrown M&M riderâ€ of Van Halenâ€™s
- This book has always intrigued me
- a single line from the BBC series Planet Earth
- and pretty much every resource on this page.
Itâ€™s safe to say that if it wasnâ€™t for other writers, this blog wouldnâ€™t exist. Before you grab the pitchforks and round up the posse to run my unoriginal arse out of town, consider this: Iâ€™m not alone. In fact, snagging inspiration is a major part of how we learn and improve.
Fledgling artists are often taught to mimic the style of the Greats as closely as possible, to learn different styles. Itâ€™s not uncommon for art professors to assign direct copying of masterpieces for learning purposes. As one art professor Iâ€™ve chatted with put it, copying is â€œthe quickest way to learn best practices from the best artistsâ€. These students are trying to replicate the greatest painters in history, and by doing so theyâ€™ll learn more than any textbook or lecture.
These students canâ€™t learn how to create their own style without learning the best practices first. Itâ€™s not copying, itâ€™s learning.
Finding sources of inspiration is going to be crucial to any creative endeavor. Donâ€™t be afraid to start â€œstealingâ€ inspiration from other sources.
Teddy Roosevelt once said â€œdo what you can, with what you have, where you areâ€. We live in an age where information and inspiration has never been more free and available. Donâ€™t be afraid to use it.
Hereâ€™s a collection of previous writings that show how I steal inspiration from others online.
The important thing isnâ€™t where your inspiration comes from, but the fact that youâ€™re actually inspired.
So where do you find inspiration to create? Let us know belowâ€¦ Iâ€™m sure we can all learn from it. As this community grows daily, the discussions have become more and more interesting and thoughtful. Iâ€™ve learned a ton from you guys, and am totally in your debt. You guys are incredible.
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