As a creative, I long to be original, yet I always find myself looking to the past or to others…to what has been done or to what is currently being done, for inspiration. I fight that. I do. I look to nature, music, places, and my own imagination. But the pull of what has already been created and loved is like a magnet. It’s a siren’s song.
Especially in the age of the internet, how can we insulate ourselves and keep our well of inspiration pure and untainted by the works of others? That’s a real question. It’s not rhetorical. Do we delete the Instagram app from our phones? Do we block Pinterest on our computers? Do we plug our ears and sing loudly in the hopes of drowning out everyone else?
I don’t think the head-in-the-sand tactic is the way to go.
I think the key is the opposite of shutting out the world. The key is to let it all in, to collect inspiration from everywhere. When a room or a work is influenced by 20 different sources instead of 1, it can’t help but be its own thing. It’s collected and curated and retold in a way that only your voice can express.
“To be original, you don’t have to be first. You just have to be different and better.” – Adam Grant