Reposted from Everything Is a Remix.
The act of creation is surrounded by a fog of myths. Myths that creativity comes via inspiration. That original creations break the mold, that they’re the products of geniuses, and appear as quickly as electricity can heat a filament. But creativity isn’t magic: it happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials.
And the soil from which we grow our creations is something we scorn and misunderstand, even though it gives us so much… and that’s copying. Put simply, copying is how we learn. We can’t introduce anything new until we’re fluent in the language of our domain, and we do that through emulation.
For instance, all artists spend their formative years producing derivative work.
Bob Dylan’s first album contained eleven cover songs.
Richard Pryor began his stand-up career doing a not-very-good imitation of Bill Cosby.