The Dreamer’s Manual:
16 Steps to Achieve Your Creative Goals
Step 3: Make It You
Your creative output should be unique. It should reflect your tastes and experience. It will most likely be inspired by the work of others, but it should not be identical.
Ezra Pound, the American expatriate poet and critic, was credited with creating the slogan, “Make it new,” as a way to inspire artists to create modern work (he learned this phrase from a story about Ch’eng T’ang, the first king of the Shang dynasty, who was so inspired by the slogan that he had it inscribed on his washbasin).*
There are at least three reasons to make your output as original as possible:
To protect your work
To develop your voice
To create a niche market
Protect Your Work
It’s easy to download other people’s work and repurpose it to suit your needs, but it’s also lazy, illegal, and counter-productive.
Though it may take a while before your work is as good as the professionals in your field, with time and effort, it will get there. Be patient and enjoy the process of forging your path.
Striving for originality is harder than copying someone else’s art, but it’s also a smart way to work. If your output too closely resembles that of another artist, and you achieve financial success, you might someday have to deal with a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Develop Your Voice
Creating original work is also a great way to develop your artistic voice. Your style will emerge after you have learned your craft well enough to add your personal stamp to your art.
The things we love influence our stylistic choices. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, was an English mathematician who loved riddles. As a result, the unique literary style he created for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland included a number of logical puzzles.
Create a Niche Market
No one sounds like your favorite band; no one writes like your favorite author, and no one paints like your favorite artist. Your work should be as unique as the artists who inspire you. If you put in the effort to create truly original work, it will stand out, because there will be nothing else like it. This, in itself, is a form of marketing, because there’s only one place people will be able to get a hold of your artistic aesthetic: from you.
Step 3: Make it you