image1 image2 image3


Copy generously

Humans didn't evolve from apes overnight. In fact, no species ever evolved from another overnight. One individual of a species had a slight deviance (mutation) from it's parents while copying over genes. And when such a mutation helped it to survive longer or mate with a higher probability, the mutation was passed on to it's offspring. Which then had a slight mutation in the process. And so on and so on until one fine day, the offspring was so different from the offspring in a different line that didn't undergo these mutations that they could no longer mate with each other, even though their ancestors could be traced back to the same species.

These are now two different species.

Ideas aren't that different.

The first fictional story I wrote was a blatant rip-off of Dragonball Z. The first jokes I wrote were blatant rip-offs of Jerry Seinfeld's standup acts. The first blog posts I wrote were blatant rip-offs of the popular bloggers I used to (and still do) read.

Naturally, that story never made it into a full-fledged novel. Those first jokes never made it into my act. Those first blog posts were barely read by anyone.

Because they weren't a species in their own right yet. They were merely the first mutations. And just like there wouldn't be a new species without the first mutations, I wouldn't have been writing regularly, publishing books and doing standup comedy if it weren't for these initial copied efforts.

Each time I wrote, my work, my ideas, my style and my approach underwent slight mutations until one fine day, they could stand on their own as individual works of art.

Most people never create anything because they feel that they have to create something completely original, one that stands on it's own, the first time they do it. While that is possible, it is incredibly hard.

Instead, our ideas and our work ought to evolve naturally until they are ready to stand on their own. And this happens when we undertake the act of creation, even if we are only copying somebody else's work with slight changes here and there.

The goal is not to pass off somebody else's work as our own. In the age of Google, that can quickly fall flat and tarnish our reputation. Instead, it is to give ourselves the permission to copy with the intention of learning and getting better, with the intention of creating regularly and activating our idea muscles.

Copy generously. Ship art.

Share this: