What to Do When People Steal Your Creative Ideas

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Last week, I went through a tough experience. I had not one - but TWO of my ideas stolen. Someone took the time to copy down what I originally crafted and pass it off as their own. I was just minding my business and BAM, cue Twilight zone music and my jaw hitting the floor. 

* Disclaimer * I’m not qualified to advise you directly on how to legally handle copyright issues, etc. That is, rightfully, a job reserved for well-trained attorneys that specialize in that field. Go to the pro’s, people! I never wish to misguide another creative on the actions they should take when this happens to them.

But there is another side to this experience that I would like to address for my fellow creatives. Going through something like this can derail your mindset and your inner world, if you let it. Personally, it took me a day of venting and writing through to process what I was feeling. I finally landed on a healthy way of reframing the situation. 

As a lifelong songwriter, I think very highly of original, heartfelt work. I take risks to say what I need to say. I focus on the process, not the result or reaction. I LIVE for those moments where I’m expressing my truth.  

When I see others plagiarizing or stealing ideas, it honestly makes me sad. Because they are focused on the OUTCOME and the perceived gain, rather than tapping into the magic of their own inner voice. 

And the cold, hard truth?

You are not guaranteed the same results. The reason that idea worked for somebody else is because they tapped into something real and raw that shot to the core of who they are. 

Have you ever seen that remarkable video of Maggie Rogers?

You know, the one that went that went viral and jumpstarted her music career…

Pharrell Williams, a Grammy winning producer and artist, visibly falls in love with her music. But instead of turning to the class and recommending that they all mimic Maggie’s beautiful sound….

Instead, he says something profound. 

“I want all of you guys to know that you possess the ability to do that for yourself.

You have to be willing…” 

He goes on to talk about how they can create something unique that has never been done before…they just have to be willing to go there. 

That’s my strong belief as well. 

So yeah, it was frustrating to see someone using something I poured my HEART into. But it made me feel much worse for them. They are missing out on their OWN magic - magic that we each possess inside of us.

There’s no need to search any further for your own magic than your inner self.

My guide for processing…

Feel Your Emotions: 

I CRIED. No BS, here. It hurts to feel taken from and it hurts to see people not play fair. It hurts to feel like they can gain from something that was your way of creating meaning and purpose. Crying physically releases the emotion which gives you a chance to move on. 

Talk about your feelings: 

I spoke to my fiancé about my feelings and expressed my hurt and pain. My feelings deserved to be acknowledged and validated, even though I knew I didn’t want to stay stuck there. 

Re-claim your Magic: 

I leaned in EVEN CLOSER to my own vision and magic. I pulled up a blank document on my laptop and started typing out my vision moving forward. This space CANNOT be taken from us no matter what. As creatives, we always have the ability to connect to our inner spark. This is your magic - that special something that only you can bring your work. 

Healthy Mindset: 

I shifted my mindset and reminded myself of an important truth…They can steal the song, but not the songwriter. They can steal the photo, but not the photographer. They can steal the vision, but NOT the visionary. 

You DESERVE all of the beautiful magic inside of you my gems. 

Lean into it and shine on…

I empower creative women to value themselves, connect with their inner wisdom & express their creativity, raw & real. I would love to help you lean into your magic: