My Take/Behind The Blog MASH UP! | Steal Like An Artist

This segment is gonna be interesting because it’s basically a mash up of my two segments “My Take” and “Behind The Blog.” Today we’re going to be talking about plagiarism, “good theft vs. bad theft,” and “stealing like an artist.”

There’s this phrase from a book by Austin Kleon that goes like this: “Steal like an artist.”

Now if you’re very linear, you’re probably thinking, “WTF? Isn’t that plagiarism?”

My answer to you is “No. It’s not.”

What the phrase “steal like an artist” is saying (to me at least) is that there aren’t really any original ideas anymore and also that good artists take ideas from everywhere, including the minds of other people, and transform them into something of their own.

Now you might still be wondering, “How is this any different than plagiarism?”

To handle that particular question, we have to talk about what Kleon calls “good theft versus bad theft.”



Credit: Austin Kleon

(See what I did there? Crediting is one aspect of “good theft”)

“Good theft? WTF? What the heck is ‘good’ theft?”

“Good theft” takes an idea from another and fully transforms it into something that can be seen differently, originally. Good theft also credits the creators and originators of the idea. It is, as the picture above so aptly puts it, a “remix.”

Okay, so then what is bad theft?

“Bad theft” takes an idea and copies and plagiarizes it. Bad theft does not involve crediting the originator and creator. It is trickery, true theft, and straight up plagiarism.

Okay. So now we’ve got that down, let’s get back to our key phrase: “Steal like an artist.”

What does this have to do with a Behind The Blog post?

Well. To be quite honest, I “steal like an artist” an awful lot. So today I’m going to be teaching you how to do it to! And you’re in luck because, in my experience, it’s pretty darn easy!

Here are the fast and fun steps…

  1. Come across an idea you like. Pretty simple, right? You’re scrolling through the internet one day and suddenly you see something you like. BOOM! Idea.
  2. Brainstorm ways to make that idea your own OR branch off from the idea. Say you came across a post you liked by Anna Banana on how to French braid hair. Instead of writing about how to French braid hair again, write about French crown braiding hair or reverse French braiding hair (I think this is actually called a Dutch braid but whatever! That’s a tangent! You get the idea!) or the different types of French braids you can do.
  3. Use your own voice. When creating art, everyone has their own signature style. It can be anything from the words you use to a specific color palette you use. Use your own style and voice in your “stolen” post, not the creator’s.
  4. Credit the creator and originator in your content. You didn’t get that idea for writing a post on French braids all on your lonesome! Give Anna Banana some credit (I mean, girlfriend works hard on her braiding skillz and we all know that takes time and effort)! Always give credit where credit is due.
  5. Voila! Great post!

Now these steps are pretty simple to follow, I think, and generally give you a pretty original output. However, if you’re still unsure whether you’ve plagiarized something or made it your own, don’t post it. You can always write the creator explaining your post and asking permission to post it. I’ve always found that if and when I do this, when it comes to bloggers and vloggers, all of them have been really kind!

So that’s it! Pretty simple, eh? I think so! Let me know your questions, comments, and thoughts in the comments section! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

That’s it for today!

Over And Out!



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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

3 thoughts on “My Take/Behind The Blog MASH UP! | Steal Like An Artist

  1. This is such an interesting post!! “Stealing like an artist,” and doing it the right way really is a thing, one I don’t think about enough. But it’s so true! Borrowing ideas from others and making them our own is what keeps people enjoying new stories. It’s so obvious when it’s done badly.

    Liked by 1 person

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