Being Yourself

“Insist on yourself; never imitate.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

During my high school days, while learning to play the guitar, I tried my hand at songwriting. I’d spend hours in my bedroom with my guitar, working out some chords, lyrics, and melodies, writing them all down in my notebook, only to realize that I’d just re-written another song I’d heard earlier that day. It seemed that every string of notes in my head came not from myself, but from some song I’d heard before.

Original ideas are hard to find.

If you’re a creative type (and who isn’t, really?), and you’ve ever ventured onto the world wide internet, I’m sure you can relate. Have an original logo design, colour scheme, melody, photograph idea? I’m sure Google can show you someone who’s already done it. I find that in an effort to feed off of others’ creativity and be inspired, I often walk away discouraged by all the stuff I haven’t made or thought of, or find that I’m merely imitating others’ styles in an effort to “keep up”.

There’s definitely a time to learn from and even imitate others as you develop your skills, but how do you develop your own voice in the process? Or, similarly, (as asked before), how does “What Would Jesus Do” inform “What Would I Do”?

“That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m interested to know, how do you exercise your own creativity while being inspired and informed by others?

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