We’ve heard it before. There’s no such thing as a new idea. Fortunately, this has very little to do with whether we should pursue the ideas we’re passionate about. A good artist recognises that anyone doing anything of value is stealing their ideas from somewhere else. The creative solution to finding our own voice is to steal enough work from enough people and mash it all together.
The good artist also recognises that the true secret to being innovative is to steal learnings from one field and apply them to another. Like taking our learnings from socialising and applying them to filmmaking, or taking our learnings from science and applying them to writing.
Considering this, creatives really only have one responsibility. We must take apart the things we value the most and rebuild them using parts from numerous disassembled works. What makes us any good is how many works we have to tinker with to begin with. It’s why great artists consume great work all the time. Not just works from their field, but works from any field that interests them.
As French writer, André Gide, once put it, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”