Crowding Out the Crowd: What If It’s All Been Done Before?


As creatives, we dread the ominous feeling that whatever it is we want to do has already been done.

And – horror of horrors – that it’s all been done and done better than we could ever do it.

So let’s get right down to it, then, guys.  Let’s play this harrowing mind game all the way to its bitter end, shall we?

Here’s the truth:

If you are reading it, it’s been done.

If you can see it, hear it, taste it or touch it, it means someone brought it forward into existence already and it can now be experienced, held, by others.

Makes sense, right.

And if this is true – that everything in front of us has already been done – then the reverse is also true. That the only things not yet done are not in front of us.

Everything that’s new, everything that’s fresh, only exists inside our minds. We can’t touch it, we can only imagine it, dream it up, wonder about it.

It doesn’t exist in the world, therefore, we will not find it by looking out into the world.

Of course, we are influenced and inspired by what already exists. We read or see something that sparks us, that ignites something within, that flickers into an idea – maybe a few ideas. We ingest a million random messages everyday and a gripping few stand out for us for whatever reason: a color, a note, a word, a click, a feeling.

And we begin, in our own way, to connect those random shimmers, those wild little dots.

We turn inward and watch them spin, some catching the light of our imaginations, some deflecting it. Insights, surprises and messages begin to emerge as we engage with what we’ve seen before and develop what we’d like to show next.

The only way to mine what has yet to be done is to get into our minds, into ourselves, and get curious. Get inspired to pour something forward that can only come from within. From a place no one else can look, no one else can see, no one else can find.

“The crowd loses interest, the crowd denigrates the work, the crowd isn’t serious.

Worst of all, sometimes the crowd turns into a mob, out of control and bloodthirsty.

But people, people are real.

People will look you in the eye.”

Seth Godin

In a crowded, noisy world it can often seem like we have to be constantly ahead of something – ahead of the crowd, ahead of the trend, leading the next big thing. We have to get ‘there’ first and we have to figure out the next platform or the next angle and . . . quickly!

Someone is always on our heels, right behind us, hollering what they’ve done, what they know and how well they know it.

“The crowd is the gathering place of the weakest; true creation is a solitary act.”

– Charles Bukowski, from Sunlight Here I Am

We are constantly clawed at, ceaselessly prodded to look outside of ourselves to find out what we should be doing and who we need to keep up with. But that’s a lot of bullshit. The minute we feel like we’re chasing, we’re losing touch with our inner creative.

What we need to do more often is look within, sit quietly with our own thoughts, form our own ideas, and give those individual ideas a voice. We deserve this. Not so that we can prove anything to the crowd or even to necessarily lead the pack but simply because what we truly crave is to express ourselves, not reflect the masses.

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.

The good poet welds his theft into a whole feeling which is unique, utterly different from that which it was torn.”

– T.S. Eliot

If we are after what is unique, what’s never been done, the only place to look is in. That’s where the mysterious wilderness grows; where the truly exotic swells.

It’s tough to crowd out the crowd. You are only one person, after all, and “they” are a big faceless mob of what seems bigger, better, faster, slicker.

And oh, the crowd,

the crowd,

the crowd,

the crowd




But your mind, the way you pull meaning out of things and the way you choose to shine light on certain ideas and shadow others, is as powerful and intimate as it gets. That is the real stuff of intrigue and desire. What lives inside you no one can touch.

We don’t need more, we need rich. We don’t need big, we need meaningful.

We don’t need the crowd, we need you.  We hunger to connect with you.

No one else in the world can do what you do the way you do it.

Don’t worry about the crowd – they don’t know what they want until it’s in front of them. Get to what’s inside and feast your beautiful, individual mind on that.

That’s the stuff that can never be done.

Until you do it.

Win. ;)


~ ~ ~

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30 thoughts on “Crowding Out the Crowd: What If It’s All Been Done Before?

  1. Saya

    Allie..what a powerful post..and so apt..I felt as if you had been inside my head and found out my fears. This question has haunted me. If everything is already done, what is the point of us doing it again. What new can we include in it…but I guess you are right. We need to look inside and ignore the crowd. :)

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Saya,

      It is such a gift to have your words, thank you friend. And I completely understand. Feeling this way can be wicked frustrating. But inside of you are a million prismatic ways of looking at things and exploring and offering. It is incredible really, no?!

      I just thought of what Maya Angelou used to say – that you cannot use up your creativity, the more you use the more you have. That’s kind of fierce, I think. And true, right?

      Now let’s go spin some magic, love. ;)

  2. Robert

    An inspiring piece Allison. It is often said “there is nothing new under the sun”; but is that true? What if we want to find or create something that is different; amidst the crowd? No, as you rightly said.

    We have the capacity to go within ourselves and reach the infinite, and in doing so we can expose ourselves to an endless permutation and juxtaposition of worlds, images, lines, colours, music, words and thoughts. Maybe what we come up with bears some realtionship to what has gone before but we CAN create something new and unique :)

    With all that has come before it is perhaps harder now to find a unique viewpoint. But if we open our eyes, selectively, towards the endless flow of information and creativity we can see a constant stream of innovation.

    We are all different, and no one has ever walked the earth who thought or saw exactly as we do, the possibiblities are endless to express our own voice and creativity if we open ourselves to it :)

    And if nobody listens? Hell, create for the beauty of it!

    Light and love

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My beloved friend,

      Thank you for your gorgeous words and thoughts, as always. As I read through what you have written a smile spreads across my face – I think of all the fabulous artistic gifts you have brought forth into the world and I am just thrilled over it. Thank God, I think to myself, for the creative people! Thank goodness for all the artists who open up and let people see their insides. It’s so damn glorious and moving and brave.

      If this post resonated with you, I am humbled and grateful. That is the BEST.

      Haha, and I love your closing “Hell, create for the beauty of it!” THAT right there is where it’s at.

      Forget everything else – make something wild.

      So much love, light and peace to you, my dear.



      1. Robert

        Thank you my dear friend, your post did resonate with me. I have often wondered if there could be an end to anything new.
        But music has always provided some kind of answer, There are a mere 12 semitones in one octave and yet look at the never ending variety of new music, there is always a new tune to be found through the infinite permutations of notes and nuances.
        What then of words, of story telling, or colours and patterns in art?
        All there for us to manipulate into something never seen or heard before, it is indeed humbling :)

        1. Allison Marie Post author

          It is such a grand mystery, isn’t it? I think that’s why it feels so natural to me that we meet the Divine through our creativity. It’s playing with a love that is endless and impossible and humbling. It’s infinite – what could be better than that?

          “notes and nuances” . . . I love it.

          1. Robert

            A lovely line ” we meet the Divine through our creativity”, so true! One can meditate or create, creating is a form of meditation I find, both are pathways to higher consciousness :)

          2. Allison Marie Post author

            They totally are! And don’t you also feel like they are not only our reaching toward something but also Something reaching for us? Inviting us in. It’s like the most delicious exchange, cycling.

  3. Anonymous

    ” sit quietly with our own thoughts, form our own ideas, and give those individual ideas a voice.”

    I do this for my blog postings. But there are things not yet in our minds and not yet done. On a much vaster scale we stimulate the imagination by asking ourselves “How can I fix this, how can I make it better, what needs to be done?”

    “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not.” RFK

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      YES this totally hits home for me: “How can I fix this, how can I make it better, what needs to be done?”

      Brilliant, brilliant, my friend. What a rich way to engage, indeed.

  4. Erika

    What an amazing post, Allison!!! Simply fantastic how you explain the uniqueness which is only to find within. Cheers to the difference each of us carries in order to complement the whole! What we see is already done, what’s not been done is withing awaiting the moment to be done. Great!!!

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Beautiful, vibrant amazing Erika,

      I LOVE YOUR ENERGY!!! Whenever I see you or read your words there is such an electricity. You light me right on up, friend – thank you so much for that. ;)

      I am so glad this post rocked something in you – that is the BEST.

      Here’s to mining the gold within – I know without a doubt it’s in you and I am so grateful that you have the courage to shine.

      Stay brilliant! ;)

  5. Brad

    Wonderful musings on creativity, doubt, and finding our own voice. Those doubts often nag at me too, but maybe next time, I’ll just use it as a signal to quiet the crowd and go deeper into myself and the creative void.

    I love the discussion thread on this post too and Robert’s idea to create for the hell of it!!

    Keep on my friend. blessings, Brad

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Thank you so, my love! And thank you for bringing your spirit and words to this place – we are all the warmer for it. ;) So glad this one resonated for you.

      And I have to second your beautiful observation – the discussion thread absolutely GLOWS right now. You guys are so damn stellar.

      Yes, friend, let’s do keep on. ;)

      Sending light and peace your way – and creations just for the hell of it!


  6. Wade Lancaster

    Allison I believe creativity is boundless. For me, I think outside the box, inside the box and there is no box.
    When I was a child, a (wise) old man told me that every person has a brain. And that if they can think or do something I can do it better. I have never forgotten his wisdom.
    We must always believe in ourselves. We can never see an avenue as already being paved. There is always something new to be written, invented and dreamed.
    Imagination leads to disappointments if you set your mind to negative thinking. However, when you believe in yourself, believe you can… You actually CAN!
    Certainly we are the sum of the imprints from our learning. In as much we draw on the creativity from life lessons. Still creativity comes from within.
    I think you hit the bulls eye on this post. I love your creativity and insightful words.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      My dear friend,

      I am so thrilled to have your spirit and words and thoughts in this space. THANK YOU, thank you for being here and for taking the time and care to leave such a beautiful, thoughtful comment. It means so very much to me.

      What treasured wisdom you have shared, thank you for every single shining insight. I’m holding them close. ;)

      “We must always believe in ourselves.” Yes, yes, yes. And don’t you think, also, that we must surround ourselves with those who believe in us, too. For this reason, and many, I am so grateful to know you are a brilliant, kindred spirit in the world.

      Namaste, dear one.

      (and P.S. I’m with you – there is no box. ;) Love it.)

  7. Meg Evans

    Well said — the crowd with all its random messages gives us more ingredients for original combinations, rather than narrowing the scope of what we can create. :)

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Meg,

      So awesome to hear from you! Your comment is spot on, my friend, thank you so much for taking the time and care to share it. It is interesting isn’t it – the idea of narrowing things down. Hmmm you have me thinking. I like that very much. ;)

      Peace and light your way, always.

  8. Darshith

    Hello Allison,

    #HatsOff for such a wonderful post and it was true from the beginning till the very end. Beautifully explained how to look inside one self to find the unknown and undiscovered things :)
    “Crowd only cheers or jeers”. They don’t have a mind of their own, so it’s on US to put something new and valuable infront of this crowd to convert their jeers to cheers. Difficult process but do-able with the support of fellow WP inspiring friends. But, Kudos Dear for such an awesome work :)

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Darshith,

      It is so awesome to see you here! Thank you so much for your beautiful, thoughtful comment – it means very much to me to know this post hit home for you, my talented poet writer friend. ;)

      And I agree with you – it is up to us to create content that is valuable and meaningful. That is the challenge and the joy, right. That is what keeps us on our toes, too, so to speak. We are absolutely here for each other! The connections and conversations are one of the very best parts. It is incredible how we can share across a million miles. Love it.

      Thank you for your bright spirit and light in this space. It is all the warmer for it, dear one. #StayFierce ;)

  9. Rajagopal

    What a phenomenal piece of writing, Allison, exploring the subject of creativity in all its nuances; equally so is the interesting discussion your post has inspired, which duly collated can fill in for another post on the same topic. The creative endeavour will be an ongoing saga as long as the world continues in crudity, ugliness, disorder, chaos and cacophony; divinity will arise from crudity, beauty from ugliness, order from disorder, peace from chaos and musical symphonies and mellifluous notes from cacophony. It is, thus, an endless journey towards perfection, as the ever flowing stream where one cannot step in twice into the same waters, or, shall I say, Tennyson’s brook that goes on forever…keep observing the surrounding panorama and digging into yourself, my darling muse, to carry on stringing wisdom pearls…

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Raj,

      What a joy to hear from you, my dear friend. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, thoughts and spirit. They mean very much to me and I’m holding them close. ;)

      You are so right on – the comments here are gorgeous and glowing – yours adds to their warmth and wisdom perfectly. I love what you shared and I especially love your reference to “The creative endeavor will be an ongoing saga. . . ” just awesome and so very true.

      I promise to keep digging, dear one, it’s in our blood isn’t it. Thank you for your time and care in reading and sharing your thoughts. I am humbled, always.

      Peace and so much love and light your way,


  10. Michael

    Hi Allison,

    Another beauty here! I think of the crowd as the anonymous face of my own doubts. No more and no less. Like the insightful quote you gave from Seth Godin, once we establish that meaningful connection with another human being, the presence we share arises naturally. But the anonymous… Everyone “out there”… It is nearly impossible not to paint the faceless heads with our own fears and uncertainties… And because there is such a vast population of people “out there” it can be overwhelming. To go into creative solitude is to ignore the depravities of our self-doubts, and reach down into the barrel of Creation on our own as you said, and describe what we pull out to the light of day. For it will be something we, and we alone, can touch…


    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello Michael,

      Always a blast to hear from you, my friend, thank you for your gorgeous words and thoughts. So very glad this one resonated for you – that’s the BEST.

      I completely hear you about the “anonymous face of doubts” that is quite perfectly said. It’s like a stubborn useless wall. It’s a beast of a thing, right, and it keeps showing up and showing up.

      I really love how you say this: “reach down into the barrel of Creation” – that is so spot on and it’s a vivid image of what it takes to plunge into those depths and really get into the richness within. Awesome, friend, awesome. I feel quite kindred spirit with you on this. ;)

      Wishing you much peace, love and light, always,


  11. Liesl Garner | Love.Sparks.Art

    Oh Allison!
    This was pure joy to read. My mind was on the same path today, wanting to crowd out the crowd – wanting their approval, but not. Really wanting the richness that comes from a few humans, a few beautiful souls who get it and speak up.

    I love the way you write. I am eager for more.
    “Get to what’s inside and feast your beautiful, individual mind on that.”

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      Hello, hello beautiful Liesl,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment – I am so grateful, my friend, to know that you enjoyed this one.

      “Wanting their approval, but not.” RIGHT? I hear you. And the idea of that fake wall of the ‘crowd’ ug – it can stop a delicious writer dead in her tracks. But we can’t let that stop us can we, friend. It’s all an illusion. We have so very much to give. I wrote a post titled “Willing To Let Them Down” along sort of the same lines. All the damn voices.

      What a gift to have you here, kindred soul. I am so big happy over it. ;)

      Come hang out anytime! Be cozy, be comfortable, say anything.

      Sending heaps of love and light your way, always,


  12. Eduardo Suastegui

    There might be nothing new under the sun, but plenty remains ready for our discovery and exploration. As you suggest, much of that resides in the unique way we view and interpret the world we live in when we express through our art.

    1. Allison Marie Post author

      You totally feel me, my good friend! Plenty does indeed remain ready for us. Thank you so much for reading and leaving such an awesome comment – I am always glad to know when a post resonates with a fellow artist.

      I hope you are doing well, Eduardo. Sending much inspiration and light your way. ;)


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