I’m a Petty Thief

I’ve stolen a lot of stuff. No, I haven’t robbed banks or been part of a high-stakes art heist. Still, I’m a petty thief. I steal other people’s creative ideas.

Honestly, I don’t make a point to go out of my way to copy other artists and writers. Yet, sometimes the work of others obviously bleeds through my work. Other times it’s more blatant. Take this whole website for instance. I copied Leo Babauta’s site, Zen Habits.

That’s right. The one-post-per-page format. The archive page. Less visuals than most sites on the Internet. The simplicity. All stolen. But I have refrained from the pop-up promotion on the front page.

I’ve also stolen from The Beatles, Tom Petty, Rodney Crowell, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Bukowski, Brian Eno, and dozens of others. I’m a thief. And you should be, too.

How do you think we improve at what we do? We learn from our mentors. We steal their ideas and add our own twist. That’s okay. It’s not okay to plagiarize outright. You might find yourself in a lawsuit. But it is okay to be a petty thief. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.