Nothing Is Original: A Lesson for Creators

Something I've struggled with a lot as I've worked to share more online is maintaining a constant stream of ideas to be working on and publishing.

It can be made even more difficult if you head out onto the internet to do some research. It's tough to see that your "new and exciting" idea has been done a thousand times before by others. This knowledge disheartens some. Causing them to be unnecessarily worried about sharing what has already been put out there previously. But we're going to be different and embrace that in the landscape of the modern internet, there's always space for new perspectives and personalities.

Of course, everything has been done before, we're decades into the internet; a tool designed to distribute knowledge. But there's still room for improvement on these pre-existing ideas.

The Magic of "Slightly Different"

"Originality is little more than skill in concealing origins.

C.E.M Joad

A designer that I'm inspired by a lot is Virgil Abloh. He's spoken about the topic of using something familiar but changing it slightly with his 3% approach he discussed in his Harvard Lecture:

“Things are intriguing to me when they’re slightly edited, like these shoes,” he said, taking off one of his Air Forces to show the crowd his design for the sneaker giant. “I was only interested in restraining myself, and only editing it 3 percent.”

If you're following the same approach, that 3 percent change comes from your own personal taste and problem-solving ability. So even when the same story is being told, or the same ideologies explained, putting that personal spin on it makes it unique. And every iteration and improvement, ideas grow and evolve into something new.

That's the secret to infinite creativity that others are already taking advantage of. Reworking and remixing ideas with their own knowledge and perspective. Making things that have been explored before fresh and exciting again.

Do It Yourself

What you need to drill into your head and take with you going forward is this:

While it may have been done before, it hasn't been done by you.

Especially when you're first starting out, using common topics and borrowing from others is an excellent way to learn quickly and hone your craft. While it won't set the world on fire, it will get you the reps in that are needed to improve and grow your content quality and quantity. Another bonus is that while these commonly discussed topics are a well-trodden road, some may not have discovered them before or had forgotten the lessons taught. Remember that even if you help just one person, you've done a great job. So spread the valuable things and knowledge you've learned with your own signature and build a library of content.

Just Get Out There

It's hard enough to make it as a creator, and it takes a lot of work. What won't help is you sitting fussing over reusing an idea or worrying that something has been done before.

You need to defeat those internal voices.

You need to push past all of the indecision and self-invented stress you're facing.

Get your ideas out there.

New.

Old.

Original.

Innovative.

It doesn't matter.

Just share, and you'll see the growth and improvement that comes from regularly working at your craft.

Speak soon,

Jamie ✌️