When We Take Inspiration Too Far

Last week I shared a post on What To Do When Someone Else Also Has Your Awesome Idea and as always the comments section really sparked some awesome conversations and different ideas. A big thing I took away from it is that in the online world there’s always going to be an ongoing discussion around inspiration, and when and where it’s taken too far. 

In the past few months I’ve had to deal with a few situations where my content was either completely copy and pasted, or plagiarised to the point where it couldn’t be ignored. This was a massive learning curve for me in how I want to handle myself, my business, and my work and also a little insight into a not so nice side of the blogging community. I think it’s quite a personal area where we all will decide our own limits and boundaries, but I wanted to share today some things I’ve learned and my personal thoughts on taking inspiration too far:

Content is not up for grabs Browsing each others archives for inspiration for content, taking a complete concept and rewriting it ourselves and reusing phrases and sentences, in my opinion, is not okay. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - there are no original ideas. This doesn’t mean though that there aren’t original concepts, approaches, and voices that exist within the online community and their content is an extension of them and their intellectual property. I think it’s important we know the difference between having authentic ideas that happen to be similar to what someone else has done, and directly being influenced by someone else’s work.

Inspiration is unavoidable Saying that, being inspired by each other is of course unavoidable. The fact that our fellow content creators can inspire us, spark conversations and new ideas, and push us in our creative journeys is awesome. There’s a huge difference though between reading a post and it sparking an idea of your own, and just taking the idea of the post and rewording it. Be inspired, but let that inspiration spark your own ideas and concepts and take pride in the fact that you’re creating content that is authentic to you and your creative vision. 

Stay authentic Your blog is your own awesome space to share who you are, your life, your experiences and thoughts. It’s a place to connect with others, help them, inspire them, and hopefully push yourself as well. The only way to do this is to dig deep every day and leap into our own creative journey - and we can’t do this by imitating someone else. Bring your own experiences, knowledge, and expertise to your content - try and not worry about what others are creating and just keep on doing your own awesome thing. Be fearlessly authentic - raise the bar every single day and bring something to the table that only you can bring. 

Keep a cool head If you do ever find that your content has been imitated, stolen, or plagiarised you’ll probably feel a little lost at what to do next. Your first response is probably a mixture of both hurt and anger, and personally for a while I let it eat away at me and my love for this awesome online community. My best advice? Keep a cool head, step away for a few days to let the dust settle and never, ever, confront someone when you’re not cool, calm, and collected. It’s important to know the difference between someone taking inspiration from your content, and someone directly imitating it and infringing on your copyright. You may decide to never confront anyone who imitates your work - and that’s your decision to make - but a big lesson I’ve learned is that whatever you do, remember that it’s an extension of your brand and your brands voice so let that be what guides you. 

I’d love to know your thoughts? 

Further reading: Grace on Copyright and Plagiarism, Kat on Copycats, and Breanna on Inspiration vs Imitation

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