Being creative is hard work

July 23, 2007 7:18 PM

Maintaining this blog gives me an idea of the pressure that people who work in the creative industries have on a daily basis. Even for the naturally gifted, it is not everyday that the ideas flow like water from a tap. Some days there’d be momentary gushes, some days it’s a trickle and on some other days nothing would flow.

And now that I’m sick, I’m glad that I don’t work in the arts. Not only is one easily distracted or void of original thought, anything remotely inspiring has no effect whatsoever. I am, for all intents and purposes numb to everything around me.

I don’t laugh, I don’t cry, and I don’t react. All I care about is wanting to get out of this funk and feeling normal in mind and body again.

So I wonder how do the creative types cope when they are in my situation and they got a deadline? Do they steal or plagiarise? Or will they be lazy about it? These are the thoughts that hit me when I first heard on Triple J’s Hack program about the story of Virgin Mobile Australia using flickr photos in an ad campaign of theirs.

Legally they were entitled to use the creative-commons photos and they did provide links to the original flickr pages but ethically, it would have been nice if they had notified the photos’ owners about their use. What also complicates matters is the presence of third-parties (ie. faces of people) in some of the photos, who never consented for their likeness to be used commercially.

You can listen to Hack’s story here:

The stories from the affected people:

Bonus: for more stories of people and companies being caught copying and using others’ works without attribution, check out you thought we wouldn’t notice.

17 thoughts on “Being creative is hard work

  1. sourrain

    i fucking hate it when that it did to me once. Now all my pictures are private, except those not very nice ones that I don’t mind sharing

    a little cheapskate of virgin, don’t you think.

  2. BigZapfer

    Now you know the feeling man 🙂

    The best thing I found is to do something totally unrelated with what your trying to do, and let inspiration find u.

    Chasing creativity can be a bit like chasing a hard-to-get-girl, the harder u push the harder she plays. Let her come to u

    Hope ur feeling better man. 🙂

  3. herman

    omg !!! turns out these things are common occurences. simple links here and there on flickr, i found out , there’s even a girl who had her photo taken to be used on a pornographic video cover !!! SHOCKING !

  4. mooiness Post author

    sourrain: very cheapskate. They provided a source link which is the bare minimum that they should have done – I would have liked a framed copy of the advertisement along with a letter of thanks. Considering how much they had saved from not using a pro photographer, it wouldn’t have cost much at all.

    BigZapher: hey I’ve always understood your creative process man. 😉 And yeah I know about trying to squeeze out something when there’s nothing there at all. Sometimes inspiration just does not want to come out and play.

    herman: yeah I read about that other story and that one is even worse – she had marked her photo “All rights reserved”.

    Lupin: well I like to maintain a sense of regularity here when I blog. And nope – the virus is still lingering. Doctor said to give it a few more days(!).

  5. girlstar7

    I know exactly how you feel! I went to uni. yesterday with a slight sore throat and headache and by the evening, I had a full-blown flu! my whole body aches, I can barely get out of bed, I can’t stop coughing and my head is throbbing. I hope that both of us get well soon! 🙂

  6. blur ting

    I am always wary about using stock photos cos I often worry about infringing the laws. So, it’s either my own photos or nothing. You seem to find the nicest photos for your blog and I notice you always give the proper credits.

    BTW, your post inspired me to write on about the creative business too. Abit of a copycat I am 😛

  7. sourrain

    I’d let you use my photos for stock!!! I promise I won’t sue!!! Hahahah

    its always nice to have your work appreciated by others, but after that episode of my picture & recipie published without any credit to me whatsoever (not even a linkback to flickr!) I have given up on the human decency.

    Id rather not have people appreciating my photos than ripping me off. So all photos are now ALL RIGHTS RESERVED and locked for family and friends only.

  8. Dabido

    When I was a Graphic Designer I never had any problems with Creativity. In fact, I loved the job so much I used to leap out of bed in the morning and couldn’t wait to get to work.

    Ideas are easy, it’s finding time to impliment them all that is difficult.

  9. TenthOfMarch

    I’ve been always been having this problem…not with photos but posts. Since I’m a tech blogger, whenever I find something interesting to write, I’ll notice that it has already been written by someone else (at least by hongkiat or liewcf). I’ve read one too many bloggers accused of ripping of another blogger’s work. So, I end up not writing about them most of the time.

    Am I in the wrong category of blog writer? Should I venture into some category where not many are in? LOL.

  10. mooiness Post author

    10/3: hahah good question but here’s how I look at it. You all can write about the same things so long as you put your personal spin on it, that’s where the creativity comes in. I wouldn’t say it’s easy though.

  11. Dabido

    It might be because I’ve been creative all my life. So, no block per se, as there is always ideas surrounding us to feed off.
    I think it’s a little like anything you do. If you want to be a good soccer player, you just keep playing and watching and doing soccer type stuff and you eventually get to the stage that even when you have a bad day, it is often better than an average persons good day. [Hope that makes sense].
    So, if you want to become more creative, then do lots of creative exercises and stuff and get those synapses firing [because science has shown that you can actually be taught to be creative or funny etc by training yourself].


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