Monday, February 10, 2014

Is Originality Over-Rated

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. And obviously, the answer is sometimes no. For instance: plagiarism vs. originality?

She had yellow eyes. Yellow eyes. So help me, God,
Yellow Eyes.
But what about Pinterest? See, I am a lover of Pinterest. I am a queen bee pinner. I am made of Pinterest magic. And I don't do as many of my pins as I'd like to, but I do a fair amount. I see things on Pinterest, I think I can do that, and I do. Or I fail horribly. It's a toss-up.

I started thinking about this in the Fall. I went to a Trunk or Treat event and won the decorating contest. I thought my October looked pretty darn cute, so I was honored, but I had pretty much completely "stolen" the idea from Pinterest.

Of course, since the prize was a vanilla candle and a lot of congratulations, I didn't stress too much about being a car decoration plagiarist.

This week, Brynna and I are working on a Valentine's mailbox for her class's contest. And we started on Pinterest. Just for ideas, you know. And whatever we make (we still haven't finished formulating a plan) it won't be a carbon copy of anything we find, but it will be pretty heavily inspired. What if she wins for "Most Original?" Is that okay? Or is it intellectually counterfeit?

And who spends time worrying about stuff like this in conjunction with a fourth grade class decorating contest?

I find myself turning more and more to Pinterest. For ideas, for tutorials. A few months ago, I drove past a hollowed out console television set and immediately did a search on Pinterest to see if I could make anything good out of it. (After arriving. Never Pinterest and drive, friends.)

And I wonder, is this making us more creative? I can see that. As I look at the pins scrolling past, I don't think much about mimicking them exactly, but more about making them my own. Tweaking them to make something that is one of a kind and all about me (or my kids or whoever).

Or is it making us less creative? I can see that, too. Not even bothering to think for ourselves, but just going to Pinterest to see what's there.

Is it any different from using a pattern to sew or crochet instead of making everything up yourself? (If I had to do that, I would never have even learned. And I don't think I'm the only one.)

This isn't going to make any difference in my behavior. I'm a Pinterest addict. Through and through. Just wondering and pondering and ruminating.

What do you think? Also, how crazy am I being?


Suze said...

don't sweat it. I am copying 100% someone else's idea for Anya's class valentines because it's cute and easy and way better than anything I could come up with.
Every "new" idea is based on something anyway. Mozart was well-trained in the theory/composition of his time, and of course he was a total genius but he was far from isolated.

Jessi said...

There's that, too. Nothing new under the sun and such.

I guess what bothers me is being praised for being "original" when I don't feel like I am.