Everything Great is Stolen
Now, by the title of this post, anything could be possible for content. I know… pretty vague. However, this is concerning Day 6 of the 15 Habits of Great Writers challenge. Jeff says all great artists and writers steal. Now, because I had continued to read on, I tried to sit back and figure out what he meant on my own. I’m quirky like that.
So anyway, Jeff goes on to say that nothing is original and so we, as writers, should stop trying to be original. This actually made so much sense to me. All writing, i.e. fiction and non-fiction, fall into one of the main conflict types:
- Man vs Man
- Man vs Nature
- Man vs Society
- Man vs Self
- Man vs Fate
Outside of this, details are all that are different. There is generally a lover’s quarrel, or maybe even a love triangle. There is some problem with family maybe. All of these details play into on of the main conflicts. So I realized, Jeff was onto something. I had struggled so long with some of my fictional works to not be like other novels, that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my writing. So here was Jeff’s challenge:
Find a quote or a painting or some form of inspiration — and steal it. Make it your own. Attribute it — give credit where it’s due — but don’t be afraid to use it. Let someone else’s work springboard you into your own.
Give up on your pursuit of originality and genius and just find something that inspires you. Borrow from your friends and heroes and mash it all up into something that looks, feels, and sounds like you.
Well, since I’m playing catch up with these challenges, I can’t say I found a quote or painting as inspiration. I actually do this frequently. The other day I read about the history of a specific tree that is in a beautiful area of Serbia. This tree has some serious history. I copied everything into TXT document. I knew it would make at least a great short story. So maybe, that’s my stolen item. So I’ve pledged to myself (once I’m caught up on work stuff from not having internet for 4 days) that I will make something of my stolen inspiration and share it with the world.