Sunday, June 30, 2013

Steal Like an Artist

"There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

"What is originality? Undetected plagiarism." - William Ralph Inge

As songwriters, especially in the Christian/Gospel domain, it seems increasingly hard to come up with something new. Biblically, we have a finite amount to work with (although I would say there is still alot to say). But it's easy to feel like you've heard chords, melodies, and especially the cliched topics, lyrics, and images we Christians have written about for hundreds of years.

Now the purpose of this blog post is certainly NOT to tell you to go ahead and just regurgitate more of the same stuff we've always done. However, there can be times we let the Spirit move and feel free enough to let what comes out, be what God gave you.

Sometimes the pressure to be SO different, to come up with something that will set the world afire with it's awesome uniqueness, can be stultifying. We can bang our heads against the wall to write that fresh thing that no one has ever written and it stops us from doing and writing what God made us to do.

Maybe what you need is new material to listen to, new artists to inspire you, and fresh material to work itself into your creative brain. Many times when I am preparing to write a new song, or album, I will absorb the kind of material I want to write like. Sometimes it's new music I haven't heard before. Sometimes it's that album by one of my favorite artists that I haven't picked up yet that I can freshen my writing side with.

This blog post in fact is inspired by a book I'm reading right now that led me to pass the information on to you. (Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon. Hey the author came up with the idea...)

Maybe you need to "steal" some new ideas to stimulate your writing. Find something new to borrow from and be influenced by. You'll be surprised how it may open up new vistas by using bits and pieces of other ideas, instead of the tired old stuff you've been doing over and over.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.” - Jim Jarmusch

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is a songwriter, producer, and thief of so many ideas, styles, writers, songs, and composers it has stirred into a soup of his very own. And so are you. To find out more how to take the next steps with your songwriting, check out his company Creative Soul at

Right? Wrong? Leave a comment! (But please, no comments about how "Stealing is wrong" for us good Christians. Remember, we're talking about borrowing here...we'll give it baaack. ;)

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at