The Struggle of the Original Idea or: How I Learned to Chuck my Laptop Pretty Goshdang Far
Have you ever set out to do one thing and then end up completely sidetracked by something only to forget why you were doing the initial thing? That’s pretty much the story of this blog post.
Today, I had set out to write a post all about the nuts and bolts of our current phase of relaunching Destination Moon Studio for 2018. However, when I logged into Medium, I noticed we should probably upload our new logo badge and after I did that, I noticed that the format would be perfect for another graphic I’m working on.
Then, suddenly, what was today ended up being two days ago and now I have a completely different story to tell.
I know as creatives we all struggle with the concept of impostor syndrome (and anyone who says they don’t is a damn liar). Impostor syndrome (for those of you too busy to click the link) is basically that feeling of being on the verge of being ousted as a fraud—no matter how much success and experience you might have had. Nothing fuels the impostor syndrome like working real hard on something only to find out that someone else has done something similar and you think it’s totally better and now your thought spiral goes, “why do you even bother to work in a creative field? Maybe the grocery store is hiring. Do you think it’s too late to go back to school? My brother seems to like his job, maybe he can get me in.”
Take a deep breath. Four seconds inhale, hold for seven, eight seconds exhale. Repeat.
We’ve all been there but it’s best not to stop there. My most recent trip in impostor syndrome came while I was working on that graphic I mentioned earlier.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we’ve got kinda space program-y vibe over here at Destination Moon and I thought it’d be a neat idea to make some mission patches for the 2018 relaunch of our mission. I’d already half-heartedly came up with the general concept while designing our new logo but it was missing something to make it feel more like it belonged on a spacesuit. After I fussed and fiddled with it for a number of hours, I came up with something I had a strong feeling about.
I was so happy with this and myself. So was Jen. Everyone was happy. All things were wonderful and no one felt any pain. Then I left my computer, went to the bathroom, got some more coffee and when I came back everything was awful and the world was dark, cold place. I realized I recognized my little patch from somewhere else.
Sure, it’s not 100% the same and we’re both channeling our design from the same source material but it’s enough to make you want to just stop everything and toss your laptop, ya know? (I mean, I’ve been hitting the gym pretty heavy, ya know? I could probably toss this bad boy pretty far. Not that I’ve been practicing or anything.)
I’m sure I speak for a lot of creatives when I say that these kind of demoralizing coincidences can be a kick to the gut and it’s hard to recover but you’ve gotta keep in mind that the reason why you and someone else came up with the same idea is probably because it was a good idea. You’re a person who comes up with good ideas and you’ll come up with another one. Even if you don’t, so what? There’s plenty room for both in the world.
The concept of originality is overrated and fundamentally flawed. I am not saying you should go around copying all willy-nilly but I think it’s so incredibly unlikely to come up with a true original creative concept that you should give yourself some slack if you honestly came up with something someone else did. To spend too much time and energy on throwing out ideas because they’re similar to someone else’s is pretty naive. You should be focused on making what you like and whether or not that’s similar to someone else is irrelevant in the scheme of things.
The things that make you who you are influence your creative eye and ultimately keeps you unique even when you and Aaron Draplin both like space and thick lines.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to throw my laptop because I still haven’t come up with a better idea.