When someone mentions ‘stealing’, you might think it’s the last thing you should be doing when it comes to your blog… But it turns out the idea might not be as shocking as it first seems. ‘Copying’ would be passing someone else’s work off as your own, something you can easily get in trouble for, but ‘stealing’ is said to be producing your own work inspired by the ideas of someone else.
Picasso has been quoted as saying that ‘good artists copy, while great artists steal’, and that might be because the great artists take an idea or a collection of ideas from somewhere else and alter it with their own personality, their own style, and ultimately create their own work. This isn’t a matter of copy and paste, this is a case of copy, cut it up, rearrange it, paste, and then paint bits on top of it.
One way in which people have been stealing ideas for decades is with a Swipe File. This is a tool that many copywriters, artists, musicians, authors, journalists and many, many more creative individuals have been using to collect thoughts, images and ideas. These could be from all over the web, from library books, snippets of newspapers and magazines, or just the world around them! By compiling so many different pieces of information, you can create something out of each of the shards. By then, it’s not the same idea anymore, it’s yours! Following this, fingers crossed it will inspire someone to do the same, to take your work, cut bits off, add other bits on, and reinvent it as their own piece of art.
A quote from Mark Twain states, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope”. So the next time you look at a piece of work and think, ‘I love it’, take it! Take it, stick it in your swipe file for future reference and draw on it when you know the time is right. You might only like one sentence of an essay, or even one phrase from a book; one fragment of a photo or the colour of a painting. But take it, use it within your own work, with your own personality altering it enough to become your own, and there you have it. You’ve stolen creatively.
There are some great tools for collecting your favourite ideas, such as Evernote and Google Docs, so have a look around to find the right one for you!