How to get inspiration from others without copying their creation.

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What makes anything we do original? Us. We are original. We are unique. We bring a unique set of circumstances, skills, experiences, gifts, and talents to everything we do. In essence what we do can’t be copied. At least the heart of it can’t. The meaning behind it can’t be imitated.

Part of the beauty of creating is what is does to us and no one can take that away from us. When I set out to create I am expressing something inside of me. I am giving a part of myself to the world. I am growing and learning and becoming one with my creation and nothing you can do can change that. There is a big amount of courage that is needed to do the thing in the first place. Once we gain that courage we try the thing we want to do. At some point we put it out there. An Instagram post, a Facebook update, a tweet, an announcement, a conversation. We put ourselves out there to be ridiculed and spit upon. We birth our true love and let others trample on it.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear”

Mark Twain

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness…my life was without past or future…but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living”

Helen Keller

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”

Charles Caleb Colton

We can learn. We can study their lives and learn how they got to where they are and determine if there are steps that we can take, like theirs, that will help us achieve our goals.

We can learn. We can learn from their craft and pick up techniques. We can turn away from their design and turn to our blank canvas. What we remember can come with us. We can transition our knowledge into skill.

We can learn. This is the way others do things. This is a way to live your life, start a business, build an Instagram account, write, read, paint, start, stop, live, and die. We can learn how others do things and then we can ask ourselves how this applies to our lives. Perhaps we do want to paint our lives like they painted theirs, but to avoid imitating we must pour ourselves into our work. We must create in a room where we are alone and having nothing to rely on, but ourselves.

“No art is less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and the study of the great masters”

Edgar Degas

When we were in school we studied and learned from our teachers. On test day we sat alone at our desk and tackled the questions by ourselves. The time of imitation was over and the time to create had arrived. Our efforts were graded and we discovered where we were lacking. Creation is no different. Go to school and learn from the great masters of your craft. Sit at your desk and pour into your blank canvas all that you are and all that you have learned and let the world decide what it wants to do with what you have created. Move on to your next creation and move onto conquering all the noisy white fuzz.

Marcy Pedersen

Originally published at on October 5, 2018.

Writer, analyst, life-long learner, and obsessed about improving life and work processes. Connect at