I've often complained about "rip-offs" and "copycats," but the truth is that we all "borrow" ideas from others. I know I'm guilty. My young adult novel, Blurry, might seem like a novel concept in an age where vampires and werewolves are finding romance everywhere, but young adult murder mysteries were moderately popular in the early to mid 90's when I was a teen. In fact, you would probably find a lot of common elements between Blurry and Christopher Pike novels, who is still a favorite author. But while I borrowed the plot concept, I did adapt it to my own, unique style. I integrated elements of people, places and experiences unique to the culture I've grown up in and of course, considered the influence of technology on life in the 21st century.
I think this shows that creativity isn't about coming up with something new. After all, we've established that this world squeezed out everything new millenia ago. It's about how we adapt our ideas to fit our unique personality and life. There may be no new ideas, but there are an infinite number of ways to mix them up into new combinations that are fresh and "new" to us. Rick recently discovered this when he was surfing the web and found that another church in our area used the same design template for their website as he used for the Mt. Tabor website. It was similar but not identical, and very interesting to see how they adapted the same basic design to fit their needs, while Rick chose to use it a completely different way to fit our needs.
We also recently noticed that a church nearby is doing something very similar to our church's "Share Our Stuff" day, which is a free thrift day for the needy in the community. It was funny - Rick asked if it made me mad to see them use our concept and I said "heck no! There are so many needy people around that I wish every church in town would rip us off on this one!" Let them run with it and do it their way, as long as it works and helps people.
Of course, there are some instances where people are just being copycats, and this can be irritating, especially when they do it with an "anything you can do, I can do better" attitude. I can't stand it when I spend time and effort to do something, then somebody copies it and says "check out my great idea!" It's irritating and transparent. Any igit can improve on something that already exist or follow a lead. It takes real creativity and ingeniuty to come up with something different and have the confidence to be the first to do it. Imitation may be the highest form of flattery - after all, it's how trends are born - but it can also be an insult to your individuality. I think this is why so many women get mad when they see someone else wearing the same dress as they are. Sure, we know the manufacturer is cranking them out on the assembly line, but it's OURS. We want to be the only one in our corner of the world rocking it in that dress!
I think the important thing is to realize the difference between imitation and innovation. Sure we all borrow ideas from one another and that's ok. But if you're just doing it to "keep up with the Joneses," well, that's pathetic and insecure. I've learned patience with this as I've grown up and grown in wisdom and I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt. But you better not be carrying the same purse I am, or I'll be pissed.
That's all for today. Happy Friday to you and I hope you have a great weekend.