“Scavenging for ideas in 22 Chrome tabs or scrolling through the fancy Instagram feed isn’t creativity. It’s about courageously putting out your imagination, even if it’s ordinary.”
There’s a thin line between seeking inspiration and ripping off stuff. Copying and borrowing are common nowadays. It’s the new normal. But by doing so, haven’t we sabotaged our abilities as creatives? You know the answer.
I’ve seen people freeze during brainstorming sessions or simple discussions. They try to find ideas, they think, and then their hands reach their pockets to pull out their phones.
Soon, they’re browsing Pinterest or Google, searching for some examples because they want to be creative. This doesn’t feel right.
It’s not a bad thing to run out of ideas. Using the internet isn’t evil, either. Still, relying too much on any external aid until you start suffering from creative paralysis is a bad thing. In short, you slowly become dependent until you can’t function anymore.
What it means to be creative
I can’t say what creativity means to anybody else – because I’m often the clueless guy with a blank notepad. I use my phone to find ideas, too.
But no matter how worthless or uncreative I feel, I force myself to think. To use my mind first. To push a bit harder and stretch my imagination. That’s because I wish to be worth my salt. And also because I feel lost when I can’t come up with at least one new idea on my own.
Creativity, to me, is about putting a piece of myself out there. It comes from within. It takes birth from my perspectives when I reflect on my thoughts and experiences. It’s supposed to be meaningful.
Creativity is also about being vulnerable in some way. Because I risk making a fool of myself, and yet I need to be brave enough to speak out my thoughts. And also to see them slaughtered and bear them again.
But whenever I see an environment where people don’t recognize their own potential, I feel hurt. I genuinely believe that we all have a lot to contribute to this world, even with the tiniest things that we do.
Then why did we switch to second-hand creativity?
Maybe we lost our courage. Or perhaps, we tricked ourselves into believing that we have nothing extraordinary to contribute. So we rely on second-hand creativity.
Growing up ensured we feel wise. Conventional education snatched our differentness. Technology thrashed our magic. We quit pushing our minds. We gave up using our hearts. We stopped squeezing our souls.
Now, I hope we do this more often
If you can jot down even one idea that you can call your own, then you should feel good about. At least you did what others aren’t doing.
That one thing on paper is more real than any stack of borrowed ‘inspiration’ inside a hard-disk. It’s time we stop borrowing from the internet and start creating our own ideas again. Or at least, try to.